News from the Alaska State Legislature, the Office of Senator Giessel
For Immediate Release: December 20, 2018

Senate Majority Welcomes Significant Step toward ANWR Development

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ANCHORAGE – Members of the Alaska Senate Majority today welcomed a significant step toward opening the 1002 area of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) for responsible resource development. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) released a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) today for the Coastal Plain Oil and Gas Leasing Program following a public scoping period earlier this year.

“Today’s announcement is the product of a thorough public process, one involving diverse communities of Alaskans across our great state,” said Senate President Cathy Giessel (R-Anchorage), who attended EIS hearings in Fairbanks, Anchorage, and Washington D.C. “Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke and the BLM did an outstanding job. Resource development has improved the lives of thousands living in the Arctic, lifting them out of poverty and enabling them to live longer, happier lives. Development in ANWR has the potential to improve the lives of thousands more.”

During the public scoping process, the BLM held public meetings in Washington D.C., Anchorage, Fairbanks, Kaktovik, Arctic Village, Utqiagvik and Venetie. The meetings were live-streamed, and the bureau accepted written comments. The BLM also outlined how Alaskans can also comment on the Draft EIS.

The environmental report was required under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 (Tax Act), a tax overhaul supported by Alaska’s congressional delegation and signed into law by President Trump.

“Innovation is the key to growing our economy,” said Senate Majority Leader Mia Costello (R-Anchorage). “Responsible resource development will bring jobs, capital and opportunity to solve old problems in new ways. With today’s news, our state’s long-term economic future looks bright.”

The Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA) greatly expanded the area that is now known as the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR). As part of a great compromise from Congress, much of ANWR was preserved for wildlife, while a small fraction was envisioned for responsible resource development.

“This is a welcome, long-sought after decision point on this historical path,” said Senator John Coghill (R-North Pole). “Alaskans have overwhelmingly supported responsible development in ANWR. The federal government is finally following through on expectations from decades ago.”

For more information, contact Daniel McDonald at (907) 269-0147.

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