Letter of Support (4/5/2016)
Letter of Support (4/22/2016)
Alaska Coalition Letter (6/16/16)
Press Release: Alaska Coalition Supports OCS Development

Five-Year OCS Lease Sale Plan
Comment Deadline June 16


The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) earlier this spring announced its new five-year Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Oil and Gas Leasing Program for 2017-2022. The Proposed Program evaluates 13 potential lease sales in six planning areas, including three potential sales off the coast of Alaska.

Release of the Proposed Program is one of several steps in a multi-year process to develop a final offshore leasing program for 2017-2022. BOEM recently closed out a public comment period on a Draft Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (DPEIS) for the Proposed Program and is accepting public comment on the Proposed Program until Thursday, June 16.

The Proposed Program evaluates one potential sale each in the Chukchi Sea, Beaufort Sea, and Cook Inlet planning areas, making available up to 41 percent of the estimated Alaska OCS reserves expected to be produced – nearly equivalent to the entire amount expected for the Gulf of Mexico. However, the Proposed Program phase does not guarantee that all of the areas proposed for leasing will be included in the final program because steps still remain for reducing or removing areas or lease sales from consideration.

Action Requested

We need to defend the Alaska lease sales and show strong support that Alaskans do in fact support OCS development. Even though the lease sales in Alaska are not scheduled until late in the new proposed five-year lease plan, we need to make sure BOEM doesn’t remove Alaska like they have done to other regions.

Submit comments online: http://www.regulations.gov. In the search tab on the main page, enter BOEM-2016-0003. Locate the document, then “Submit a Comment.”

Don’t have time to prepare your own comments? Please consider submitting this form letter.

By mail: Ms. Kelly Hammerle, Five-Year Program Manager, BOEM 45600 Woodland Road, VAM-LD, Sterling, VA 20166.

Points to consider for your comments:

  • BOEM should finalize the 2017-2022 leasing program that includes Alaska without any further exclusions or restrictions.
  • In recent years, the federal government has removed over 42 million acres of Alaskan waters from potential leasing.  Combined with other recent actions that have raised regulatory uncertainty and discouraged prospects for Alaskan development, further reduction in the potential leasing area at this stage is premature and would compromise the long-term energy and economic security of Alaska and the nation.
  •  In addition, more specific environmental information and review will be considered at later decision stages, and further closures in the Alaska leasing region or imposing new restrictions may make Arctic development economically infeasible.
  • Industry has shown that impacts to marine mammal subsistence activity can be avoided and mitigated through close cooperation and communication with primary subsistence users. Newly instituted technologies will further ensure that development and environmental protection can coexist in the Arctic.
  • Major investments in research in the Arctic OCS over decades by industry, government, and academia will provide a strong platform for responsible development that minimizes risks to other resources.
  • Over 72% of Alaskans have supported offshore development. (Consumer Energy Alliance poll, October 2014)
  • BOEM lease sales provide some level of predictability and certainty for industry to engage in long-term strategies to develop the Arctic’s vast resources.
  • Specifically, the Alaskan OCS possesses enormous untapped oil and gas resources, with Department of Interior estimates for the Chukchi Sea alone to be approximately 27 billion barrels of oil land 132 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.
  • The Alaskan Arctic OCS would constitute the 8th largest oil resource in the world, ahead of Nigeria, Libya, Russia and Norway.
  • These untapped resources are of critical importance to both Alaska and the United States. Oil and gas development in the Arctic OCS is predicted to produce an annual average of 35,000 direct and indirect jobs over the next half century for Alaska alone.  Those jobs would represent a total payroll of over $70 billion.  
  • Economic activity resulting from Arctic OCS development is also predicted to generate an annual average of nearly 55,000 jobs nationwide, with an estimated cumulative payroll amounting to $145 billion over the same time period.
  • From an economic standpoint alone, promoting and fostering Arctic OCS development would represent a windfall for the national economy.  Similarly, in 2008, Lease Sale 193 netted the federal government greater than $2.6 billion in bonus bids, and, moving forward, revenues generated from Arctic OCS oil and natural gas resources could amount to nearly $200 billion in revenues to federal, state and local governments.
  • Offshore development would also serve to help maintain the integrity of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System (TAPS), a critical link to America’s energy distribution. TAPS has safely transported more than 17 billion barrels of oil since it came online over 35 years ago.  
  • Twenty-five years ago, North Slope oil production exceeded two million barrels a day, which accounted for a quarter of domestic crude oil production.  However, TAPS throughput has now declined to approximately 500,000 barrels per day. Given the vast resources available in the Arctic OCS, future production could stem the decline, allowing for TAPS to remain viable for decades.  
  • OCS development would also serve as an important factor in reducing economic risks for the proposed Alaska LNG Project.
  • Oil and gas development in the Arctic OCS could ultimately prove indispensable, given forecasts that predict this nation’s energy demands increasing over ten percent in the next quarter century. Even with dramatic increases in alternative energy sources, the majority of these growing energy demands will continue to be satisfied through use of fossil fuels.  
  • It remains imperative that this nation meet its growing energy demands through domestic production. There may be no greater tangible benefit to Arctic OCS development than greater energy independence.
  • Leasing and subsequent Arctic OCS exploration and development would bring much-needed infrastructure to the region and would also provide additional response capabilities in an area where shipping and other activities are increasing.