By Eric Lidji
The Senate contingency of the Alaska congressional delegation offered faint praise to reassurances that the Obama Administration would include Alaska in its energy strategy.
In a recent speech at the University of Miami about domestic energy production, President Obama said his administration would “make available more than 75 percent of our potential offshore oil and gas resources from Alaska to the Gulf of Mexico.”
“I am heartened to hear the President talk about Alaska and the Arctic when discussing new sources of American-made energy to create jobs and build an economy that lasts,” Sen. Mark Begich, a Democrat, said in a statement following the speech, adding, “It is correct to say we have made significant progress as Shell’s spill response plan for the Chukchi Sea was approved last week, and we are moving ever closer to an active summer of exploration in the Arctic. But more work needs to be done. We need to continue to move forward on efforts for responsible oil and gas development beneath Arctic waters, the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska and the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.”
With the public and politicians once again arguing about the cause of rising gasoline prices, Sen. Lisa Murkowski, the ranking Republican on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, said any solution must include more domestic drilling.
“While I welcome the president’s stated commitment to develop ‘every available’ energy source and his reluctant acknowledgment that increasing domestic production does help reduce prices, many of his recent comments and his administration’s actions have been disappointing to those of us who have long been working to make energy more affordable,” Murkowski said in a statement. “Higher energy prices have been this administration’s policy goal, or at least been acceptable as collateral damage — as evidenced by its support for cap-and-trade legislation, its barrage of EPA regulations, the bureaucratic thicket it forces producers to navigate, and the tens of billions of dollars in tax hikes it’s attempting to impose on those who produce the energy we depend on.”
She said if the administration is “serious” about affordable energy, it should approve the Keystone XL pipeline, open the coastal plain of ANWR and new offshore areas to drilling, and work to streamline the permitting process and reduce costly regulations.