Sens. Murkowski, Sullivan introduce bill to reopen development of Arctic Outer Continental Shelf

Published on April 13, 2017 by Daily Energy Insider Reports

U.S. Sens. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Dan Sullivan (R-AK) introduced legislation that would reverse Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) withdrawals enacted at the end of the Obama Administration and require lease sales in the Arctic OCS.

“The Obama Administration tried to kill responsible resource development in the Arctic, ignoring the fact that the rush to the Arctic is on,” Sullivan said. “Oil and gas will be developed in the region—whether by our nation or others. It is imperative that exploration and development occur with all of the safeguards required by the United States to protect the environment and the people who live in the region.”

The Offshore Production and Energizing National Security Alaska Act of 2017 (OPENS Alaska Act) would require at least three lease sales in each of the Beaufort, Chukchi, and Cook Inlet planning areas during any five-year period as well as annual lease sales in the 8(g) zone of the Beaufort and Cook Inlet planning areas. The bill would also provide revenue sharing for the state, coastal communities, and a tribal resilience fund.

According to the Department of the Interior, the Beaufort and Chukchi seas are estimated to hold 23.6 billion barrels of oil and 104.4 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.

“These areas contain prolific resources that can be safely developed to create jobs, reduce our deficits, keep energy affordable, and strengthen national security,” Murkowski said. “I look forward to working with Alaskans and my colleagues to advance this bill through the Senate.”