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RDC Comment Letter: 
New Five-Year OCS Lease Sale Plan

April 5, 2016

Ms. Kelly Hammerle, Five-Year Program Manager
Bureau of Ocean Energy Management
45600 Woodland Road, VAM-LD
Sterling, VA 20166 

Dear Ms. Hammerle:

The Resource Development Council for Alaska, Inc. (RDC) is writing in support of including Alaska lease sales in the final program for the Chukchi and Beaufort seas, as well as Cook Inlet. 

RDC is a statewide business association comprised of individuals and companies from Alaska’s mining, oil and gas, forest products, tourism and fisheries industries. RDC’s membership also includes Alaska Native Corporations, local communities, organized labor, and industry support firms. RDC’s purpose is to encourage a strong, diversified private sector in Alaska and expand the state’s economic base through the responsible development of our natural resources.

RDC urges the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management to continue to include Alaska lease sales in the final program for the Chukchi and Beaufort seas, as well as Cook Inlet.

The importance of oil and gas to Alaska cannot be overstated. Oil production accounts for more than one-third of the economic activity in the state. It provides and funds thousands of private and public sector jobs, as well as critical public services.

In addition to boosting economic growth and generating tens of thousands of jobs across Alaska, offshore development will help extend the life of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline, which continues to play a critical role in our nation’s energy security. 

Throughput in the TAPS peaked at 2.1 million barrels per day in 1988 and the pipeline is now running at three quarters empty. With its enormous resource potential, the Alaska OCS likely contains enough oil to at least double TAPS throughput, extend the longevity of the pipeline, and sustain our state’s economy for decades.

Alaskans agree that exploration, development, and production of offshore Arctic energy resources should move forward. In a 2014 poll, 73 percent of Alaskans supported Alaska’s OCS development.

Additionally, the Alaska OCS is an important future source of U.S. energy supply. The potential reserves offshore Alaska is more than all the current total proven U.S. conventional oil reserves. Alaska could have the ninth largest oil resources in the world – ahead of Nigeria and Libya – if access is granted to these potential reserves. 

RDC and many Alaskans share President Obama’s view that America needs to conserve more and put new emphasis on renewable and alternative energy.  By doing so, the nation can ultimately break its reliance on foreign oil. Yet America still needs to pursue new oil and gas production, given the fact it will take decades before renewable energy becomes a dominant energy source. Moreover, Alaska OCS production will help offset a projected sharp decline in shale oil production in the coming decades.

RDC respectfully urges BOEM to continue to include Alaska leasing opportunities in the final plan. Reasonable regulation and advancing technologies ensure that development of these resources can proceed safely.

Thank you for the opportunity to offer initial comments, RDC’s full comments will be submitted before the June 16, 2016 deadline.


Resource Development Council for Alaska, Inc