|Outer Continental Shelf Testimony April 14, 2009
Alaska Forest Association - John Sturgeon
My name is John Sturgeon and I am here today representing the Alaska Forest Association (AFA). The AFA is a forest products industry support organization that represents Alaska’s loggers, road builders and support businesses. Thank you for the opportunity to testify before you today.
The AFA supports the Draft Proposed 5-Year Program for 2010-2015 and encourage the Minerals Management Service to provide for a seamless transition to new oil and gas leasing programs in the future that will expand access to the nation's OCS energy resources. In support of that I would like to offer the following points:
- Eventually America will have to make a transition to the use of more renewable energy but realistically that will take decades. In the interim we must continue to rely on fossil fuels. Access to OCS resources will make that transition feasible. Increased emphasis on renewable energy should not preclude or require less oil and gas development. America needs more of both to reduce its reliance on foreign oil. Even under the most optimistic projections, petroleum products and natural gas are projected to account for almost 65 percent of domestic energy consumption in 2025 requiring continued development of domestic oil and gas resources. So do it here, do it right!!
- In the 1990’s I observed the collapse of the timber industry in the PNW. Timber production in the PNW and Alaska dropped drastically, however the demand for timber continued to rise. Instead of the lumber the world needs coming from well managed American forests production in places like Russia increased proportionally. Logging practices in Russia have little regard for the environment. So we basically shifted our timber harvest to a country with little to no environmental concern. By opening up OCS to oil and gas development we are not only becoming more energy independent but we are nor shifting the environmental impacts to another lesser caring place. So do it here, do it right!
- I have been in the forest products industry in Alaska for the past 40 years. In those 40 years I have seen how we have changed how we do operate in the forest. New science has helped us find new and better practices to harvest trees and build our roads. These current practices assure we conduct our harvesting in the most environmentally sound manner possible. This same science now assures we protect things like water quality, soil and fish. The oil and gas industry has gone through these same changes as science tells them how do operations with the least environmental impact. An example would be directional drilling. The Oil and Gas Industry now has the technology to do it right. So do it here, do it right!!
- The USA has over 300 million people and we add 2 million every year. This large of a population generates a huge demand for oil and gas. Oil and gas is at the very heart of the wonderful life style we all enjoy. 77% of Alaska residents and 61% of USA residents support exploration in the OCS. If due to a natural or political disaster the flow of oil from overseas were to stop for a few weeks, in my opinion, within another 2 weeks the percentage of people supporting OCS would jump to 99%. So do it right, do it here!!
Thank you for the opportunity to testify today.