Testimony of Carl Portman
ANWR Lease Sales
Before Bureau of Land Management
Anchorage, Alaska
May 30, 2018

Good evening. My name is Carl Portman and I am here tonight speaking on my own behalf. I was born and raised in Fairbanks and proudly worked on the construction of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline during summer break while attending the University of Alaska Fairbanks. 

I remember what life was like before TAPS when I paid a state income tax before 1980 and lived through a shallow recession in the early 1980s, and the deeper recession in the late 80s. I have seen my share of Alaska booms and busts.  Like thousands of Alaskans, my livelihood depends on the oil and gas industry, yet I do not work directly for the industry.

With the pipeline now running at three-quarters empty and North Slope oil production on the decline, I see an increasing risk of TAPS facing a premature shutdown. If this were to happen, Alaska would face an unmitigated economic disaster – no doubt a depression beyond what we have ever experienced. Clearly, without increased production, the state’s economy is in jeopardy. Quite frankly, I am worried about my future and that of my family, neighbors, and friends.

According to a study by the University of Alaska Anchorage, up to 50% of the state’s current economy and at least one-third of all jobs, including those of public employees, are in some way connected to the oil industry. The same report stressed that nothing else can replace oil in the state’s economy. Without oil, how will the state meet its long-term obligations – from funding essential services to public employee pensions, education and health care?

According to the Energy Information Administration, oil and gas development in ANWR could result in new domestic production 880 thousand barrels per day for a period extending for approximately 12 years, with additional production for many years following. Such production would create thousands of new jobs, refill TAPS, and generate billions of dollars in new revenues to the Alaska treasury. 

When the 1002 area is opened, not one acre of designated Wilderness would be disturbed by development. With advances in technology significantly diminishing the footprint of development, I knowwe do not have to choose between energy production and environmental protection.  It is possible to develop the energy reserves inside ANWR while directly utilizing only a fraction of the area. This can be accomplished without significant disturbance to wildlife, subsistence use or the environment. 

In conclusion, I, as well as 67% of Alaskans, as polls have consistently shown, support lease sales on the coastal plain. Thank you.