Parnell: Open OCS

03OCS   9/3/09  donaldson

Governor Parnell is beginning what he calls a full-court press to support a five-year oil and gas leasing program on Alaska’s Outer Continental Shelf – or O-C-S.  The decision to proceed with the program will come from the U-S Interior Department, which is accepting public comments until the twenty first of this month.

Parnell submitted a five-page letter today (Thursday) supporting it.   He says oil and gas development can be done responsibly and safely – and with respect for the culture of Alaskans.  With that in place,  he says there is a good economic reason for  development – even if the federal government gets the direct revenue from any development.

# 03OCS1                             :18           If we have more oil going into TAPS, that lowers the tariff for TAPS, which means that more fields in Alaska get explored that can then access that pipeline.  What it means is more jobs more revenue for Alaskans, and that’s what I’m focused on.

He also says the O-C-S has an estimated hundred thirty Trillion Cubic feet of gas offshore from the North Slope, which will have a huge effect on the life of a gas line to Canada and the lower-forty eight.  He says development of the Outer Continental Shelf offers the greatest opportunity for the state’s future.

# 03OCS2                             :18           We’ve got so much in terms of resources up there,  We have so much opportunity for jobs and revenue up there.  It hasn’t really gotten the spotlight for what is needed from  the administration and from the public.  I’ve really wanted to just spike it.

The September twenty first deadline is for public comment – from both sides of the decision surrounding O-C-S development.   The environmental  group Oceana has a major interest in the Outer Continental shelf — and its comment to the Secretary of the Interior is on its way.    Pacific Senior Counsel Mike Levine (luh-VYNE) says the federal government has the opportunity to put in place precautionary science-based management for the oceans. And he says “science” includes local and traditional knowledge from people who will be effected by the decisions on development.

#03OCS3                              :20           We want to make sure that science is driving the decisions that are made with regard to our public resources and our oceans. It’s widely recognized that there’s not a lot known about he Arctic and that we need a complete scientific assessment to determine if these activities should happen and if so, when where and how.

He favors the approach the federal government already has in place with its Arctic Fishery Management Plan which received support from scientists and industry and requires scientific involvement before fishing occurs.  However, he is concerned that the government is ignoring that plan in considering whether to allow oil and gas development without such science-based management.

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