Alaskans Support ANWR Leasing Provision in HR 7 in Congress
By Sen. Cathy Giessel
Once again, there is momentum in Congress to move the ball forward on ANWR exploration and development.
I recently sent a letter to Chairman David Dreier and all members of the Rules committee in the U.S. House of Representative urging them to not strip the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) provision from HR 7. If we are to work toward energy self-sufficiency, we must open a small portion of the ANWR to responsible oil and gas development.
Significant hydrocarbon resources exist in the 1002 area of ANWR. Credible estimates identify more than 16 billion barrels of oil and 18 trillion cubic feet of natural gas lie within the 1002 area of ANWR.
The specific footprint designated for development is very small, about three square miles. The whole 1002 area is about the size of the state of South Carolina. Advances in technology have made it possible to access significant resources from the very small portion that would be developed.
Given that the U.S. imports about 49 percent of the oil (2010) it consumes, it is vital that we seize the opportunity for oil and gas development on the Alaska coastal plain.
Exploration, development, extraction and transportation of oil from the North Slope has been conducted in a very environmentally safe way for many decades. Under the state’s stewardship, caribou herds that call the Coastal Plain of ANWR home have increased from about 5,000 animals in the 1970’s to more than 65,000 animals today. Polar bear, fox, geese and other wildlife thrive in close proximity to the development activities, without negative affect.
A profound majority of Alaskans, seventy-eight percent, support petroleum resource development in the 1002 area. Every Alaska Governor, every Legislature, and elected Congressional Representative and Senator from Alaska have supported responsible development in ANWR. In addition, the people who live in the area understand the importance of development. The North Slope Borough and the Alaska Federation of Natives, as well as residents of the community of Kaktovik, the only Native village within ANWR, also support responsible development.
Alaskans remember that one vote, by a visionary leader in the U.S. Senate, allowed construction of the Trans Alaska Pipeline, providing the U.S. with vital petroleum resources. America needs the same courage and vision today. Today, Alaskans can – once again – do their part by encouraging members of the U.S. House of Representatives to vote “yes” to open ANWR.