Oil, gas potential studied

The state of Alaska on Monday proposed a multiyear, multimillion-dollar plan aimed at determining the true oil and gas potential in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

JUNEAU, Alaska — The state of Alaska on Monday proposed a multiyear, multimillion-dollar plan aimed at determining the true oil and gas potential in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

State officials hope the plan will reinvigorate — and reshape — the debate over whether to drill on the refuge’s coastal plain.

The plan was announced at an event hosted by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Institute for 21st Century Energy in Washington, D.C., by Alaska Gov. Sean Parnell and Natural Resources Commissioner Dan Sullivan. Parnell appeared by remote.

Parnell, in a letter to Interior Secretary Sally Jewell, said he is prepared to ask the state Legislature for $50 million toward funding the seismic program if the federal government is in as a partner. He also sees the private sector playing a role as well.

“For 26 years, Americans have engaged in a debate about the wildlife and oil and gas resources on and underneath the 1002 Area.

Unfortunately, ANWR’s oil and gas resources have been estimated using archaic 2D seismic data,” he said in the letter, dated Saturday.

The 1002 area refers to the coastal plain.

“State of Alaska land managers have found that 3D seismic data is an indispensable tool to managing our lands,” he said.

“We believe that it would be very valuable for your land managers to have this data to inform their planning efforts for the 1002 Area.”

Fish and Wildlife Service spokeswoman Cathy Rezabeck did not say whether Interior is interested in the plan but said Congress must weigh in on any potential oil and gas activity on the roughly 1.5-million acre coastal plain.

The last seismic program took place in the early 1980s, and in 1987, the Interior secretary recommended development. Congress in 1995 passed legislation that would have allowed for drilling but that was vetoed by then-President Bill Clinton.

Efforts since then aimed at opening ANWR for development — supported by state political leaders and members of Alaska’s congressional delegation — have gone nowhere.

U.S. Sen. Mark Begich, D-Alaska, said opening the refuge for drilling “has been a top priority for me and most Alaskans because it is a critical part of a comprehensive national energy plan.”

Having modern, 3-D seismic information available would help inform the debate, he said in a release. U.S. Rep. Don Young, R-Alaska, said he hopes Jewell “takes this good faith effort” by the state into consideration as Interior updates its plan for refuge.

Pamela A. Miller, Arctic program director for the Northern Alaska Environmental Center, called the state’s plan a “recycled bad idea” aimed at opening the refuge to drilling.

“There’s no point in exploring for a resource that cannot be developed today and should not be developed because of the values of this remarkable land for wildlife, people and human cultures,” she said.

Between the coastal plain, adjacent state lands and Alaska Native in-holdings, the U.S. Geological Survey has estimated the mean volume of recoverable oil of about 10.4 billion barrels, though that has a wide range of uncertainty. Natural Resources Commissioner Sullivan said officials could get an “almost definitive” number that Congress then can debate under the state’s plan, which would span at least seven years.

Miller said the prior seismic program had a lasting impact on vegetation and permafrost.

Just Posted

Red Deer property taxes to go up 2.15 per cent in 2019

City council approves $369.8 million budget

Sylvan Lake council approves concept plan for new park

Pogadl Park will eventally be home to numerous ball diamonds and sports fields

One person dead after collision on Highway 2A

Pickup truck and grain truck collided on Highway 2A south of Carstairs

Updated: Trial stalls for man accused in fatal Canada Day 2016 crash

Defence lawyer argued relevant information received only hours before trial to begin

Trudeau says politicians shouldn’t prey on Canadians’ fears

The Prime Minister was speaking at a townhall in Ontario

UPDATE: B.C. boy, aunt missing for three days

The pair are missing from Kamloops

Liberal bows out of byelection after singling out Jagmeet Singh’s race

Karen Wang says she made comments online that referenced Singh’s cultural background

Less beef, more beans: World needs a new diet

Experts say the world should cut down on red meat

Shooter pleads guilty to manslaughter in Stettler

A Stettler man charged with second-degree murder has pleaded guilty to manslaughter.… Continue reading

Kentucky canoe outfit borrows photo of Trudeau family to market business

They are in a red canoe, all clad in life jackets, and Sophie Gregoire Trudeau and Ella-Grace are waving

Police chief confirms all three Ottawa bus victims were on board when it crashed

OTTAWA — All three people killed in last week’s deadly bus accident… Continue reading

Theresa May wins no-confidence vote after Brexit deal rejection

UK PM can keep her job, after House of Commons voted 325-306

Pipelines shouldn’t rely on ethnicity

It’s noteworthy that Indigenous leaders are exploring the possibility of buying the… Continue reading

Most Read