|Outer Continental Shelf Testimony April 14, 2009
U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski
Thank you all for being here today, and Secretary Salazar, thank you especially for traveling this great distance to our home. It’s good to have an Interior Secretary from the West who understands the unique challenges we face. We worked together well when we were colleagues in the Senate, and I welcome you to Alaska as a friend.
We’re here today to hear from Alaskans about the future of energy development in the waters off our coasts. I’m confident that after this meeting, there will be general agreement that we want to see development of our resources proceed in a safe and timely manner.
We know the potential for oil and gas production offshore is great the Chukchi Sea alone holds a potential 15 billion barrels of oil and 77 trillion cubic feet of natural gas but our waters also hold rich opportunities for harnessing the energy of wind, wave and tide. I’m confident we can tap all of our resources for the benefit of our economy and energy security safely, without harming the environment.
Decreasing our dependence on foreign oil was a central tenet of President Obama’s campaign. I say let Alaska help meet that worthy goal. Accomplishing our shared goals of responsible development and greater energy independence will require all of us working together cooperatively. I hope Secretary Salazar will agree with me that this is not a choice between producing energy and protecting the environment. I am confident we can, and will, do both.
My hope, and my sense, is that Secretary Salazar has come to Alaska to hear directly from the stakeholders about what the new Administration can do to move forward in the fairest, most efficient and transparent way possible on the management of our offshore resources. The comments offered today will help determine how the OCS is managed for years to come.
I look forward to an honest and good faith discussion on how we can best craft a balanced management plan for the waters off our shores.
To everyone, again, welcome and thank you for being here.