Washington D.C., December 20: Earlier this afternoon the Obama Administration announced that it will ban offshore oil and gas development throughout much of the U.S. Arctic. Under the authority of an obscure provision in a 1953 law, the decision designates 115 million acres of the US Arctic, including the entire Chukchi Sea, off limits to oil and gas activity.
Commenting, Lucas Frances, Spokesperson for the Arctic Energy Center:
“This is a deeply frustrating development and one that will mean a bleak economic future for Alaska. After the White House cited a lack of industry interest in the Arctic for removing the region from the offshore leasing program, we then saw lease sales in the Beaufort Sea and North Slope which generated $18 million in revenue.
“The Arctic Energy Center’s research has shown that a significant majority of Native and Alaskan people support offshore energy development in the Arctic, in a large measure because of the essential role the industry plays in the region’s economy. By designating Arctic waters off limits for energy development, the President has prioritized environmental concerns over the well-being of the American people.”
The results of the Arctic Energy Center’s opinion survey of Alaskan’s views on offshore Arctic energy development can be found here. They show that: