Make your voice count at OCS hearing
When: Tuesday, April 14th beginning at 9 am
Where: Dena’ina Convention Center, Anchorage
As Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar develops a new offshore energy plan and rewrites coastal policy, it is vital he hears from RDC members that responsible development of Alaska’s OCS is our best prospect for a strong economy and is in our nation’s best interests. Recent studies indicate oil and gas development in the OCS has the potential to sustain Alaska’s economy for an entire generation and significantly boost domestic production. Most Alaskans support energy development in the OCS, but environmental groups hope to dominate the hearings in the Lower 48 and Anchorage with their members to “build a chorus of voices” in opposition to development. As a result, RDC strongly encourages its members to come out in force to let the Secretary know how important OCS development is to Alaska.
Americans support OCS development
- As recently as February, 61 percent of Americans support new offshore development.
Federal offshore waters hold great potential
- A comprehensive energy plan for the nation must include Alaska, which accounts for over 30 percent of the nation’s technically recoverable oil and gas resources.
- The Alaska OCS is an important future source of U.S. energy supply with an estimated 27 billion barrels of oil and 132 trillion cubic feet of natural gas potentially in place. By comparison, total production from the North Slope since 1977 has been approximately 15.5 billion barrels.
- The Chukchi Sea is considered this nation’s most prolific, unexplored offshore basin in North America.
- Access to Alaska’s OCS may be a key element in the economic feasibility of the proposed natural gas pipeline from the North Slope to the Lower 48. Additional gas reserves beyond those already discovered are needed to make the project economic.
- Access to the OCS will help reverse the decline in North Slope production and sharply increase throughput in the oil pipeline, which is currently operating at one-third capacity.
OCS will invigorate our economy and create jobs
- According to a recent study by the Institute of Social and Economic Research at the University of Alaska Anchorage and Northern Economics, The OCS has the potential to sustain Alaska’s economy for a generation, stem the decline in Alaska oil and gas production, create tens of thousands of new jobs and substantially boost federal, state and local government treasuries.
- New OCS production could provide an annual average of 35,000 jobs for 50 years and $72 billion in new payroll.
- OCS production has the potential to refill the trans-Alaska oil pipeline, leading to a generation of new petroleum revenues for Alaska and the federal government.
- Increases in oil and natural gas prices in recent years were largely the result of growing U.S. and global demand without equivalent increases in available supplies. Impacts may be seen again unless supply can be increased.
OCS development has an outstanding record
- According to the Minerals Management Service, the OCS produces over 1 million barrels of oil per day. Since 1980, less than 0.001 percent of that has been spilled far less than from natural seeps.
- Decades of operations in Alaska, the Gulf of Mexico and around the world have shown that the fishing industry and offshore oil and gas industries coexist successfully.
OCS development is strictly regulated and studied
- Oil and gas development and other activities in the Arctic are subject to in-depth analysis under the National Environmental Policy Act, a stringent permitting process, and close oversight by state and federal agencies.
- Oil and gas development in the Arctic has and continues to occur under science-based precautionary management. In every instance, development is preceded by extensive studies.
- The Alaska OCS is perhaps the most studied energy basin in America. The federal government alone has funded nearly $300 million for environmental studies related to Alaska waters. Since 2000, it has had 30 to 40 active environmental studies each year
Renewable energy is a supplemental energy source
- Increased emphasis on renewable energy should not preclude or require less oil and gas production. America needs more of both to reduce its reliance on foreign oil.
- Given demand for energy will rise as the economy recovers, America must continue to pursue new oil and gas development, even as the nation transitions to the new energy sources of the future.
- 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.
- New oil and gas production will provide America the time it needs to develop renewable resources to the point where they are a dominant energy source. Oil and gas will remain the bridge to the new energy sources of the future.
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