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

1,200 runners came out to Woody’s RV Marathon in Red Deer

Red Deer’s Matthew Hope ran in the Woody’s RV World Marathon for… Continue reading

Two men steal 16 year old’s car at gunpoint in Alberta

RCMP are looking for two men who allegedly produced a handgun and… Continue reading

Mother of five who died in hit and run in central Alberta a huge loss to family, police say

Rocky Mountain House RCMP continue to investigate hit and killed case on… Continue reading

‘Rope-a-dope’: Environmentalists say Alberta war room threat won’t distract them

EDMONTON — Environmental groups targeted by Alberta Premier Jason Kenney are shrugging… Continue reading

Speed, alcohol considered factors in deadly Calgary crash: police

CALGARY — The Calgary Police Service says two people are dead after… Continue reading

WATCH: First Red Deer Market of 2019

The event is held every Saturday in the Servus Arena parking lot

Cast your votes for the Best of Red Deer

Nominations for the Best of Red Deer Readers’ Choice Awards are officially… Continue reading

Speaker stuns Morehouse grads, to pay off $40M student debt

A billionaire technology investor stunned the entire graduating class at Morehouse College… Continue reading

Unions increasingly at odds over replacing troubled Phoenix pay system

OTTAWA — The federal team charged with finding a replacement for the… Continue reading

Sisters of Ste-Anne hold unique garage sale before giving up Montreal convent

MONTREAL — The Montreal-area Sisters of Ste-Anne are hosting a unique garage… Continue reading

Canadian pilot Patrick Forseth killed in Honduras plane crash: sister

TRUJILLO, Honduras — A British Columbia woman says her pilot brother was… Continue reading

As states pass restrictive abortion laws, questions surface

ATLANTA — As multiple states pass laws banning many abortions, questions have… Continue reading

Pelosi being honoured with JFK Profile in Courage Award

BOSTON — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is being honoured with the 2019… Continue reading

India’s marathon national election reaches the finish line

KOLKATA, India — Voting in India’s mammoth national election ended Sunday with… Continue reading

Most Read