For a second time, the Obama administration has turned back a proposal from Alaska Gov. Sean Parnell to conduct oil and gas exploration on the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
The governor’s office on Friday released a July 23 rejection letter from Geoffrey Haskett, Alaska regional director for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which manages ANWR.
The letter cited statutory and regulatory bars to exploration.
The Republican governor on July 9 submitted an application to federal officials for a “special use permit” allowing the state to conduct 3-D seismic surveys across the coastal plain from 2014 to 2017.
Parnell argues advanced surveys are needed to update old 2-D seismic data and better understand ANWR’s probable oil and gas riches.
The governor submitted the application under a section pertaining to exploration plans in the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act of 1980.
Haskett’s letter, however, said the state’s exploration plan was submitted “years too late,” as the ANILCA authorization for an exploration program expired in 1987.
“I am disappointed — the federal government chose to rely on an inaccurate interpretation of ANILCA,” Parnell said in a press release.
The Haskett letter said the state could ask the national director of the Fish and Wildlife Service to reconsider the disapproval, and Parnell said that’s what he’ll do.
See story in Aug. 4 issue, available online at 11 a.m. Friday, Aug. 2 at www.PetroleumNews.com