In a July 14 letter to President Obama, Sen. Mark Begich outlined Alaska’s energy priorities, as part of a dialogue over federal energy policy and energy legislation.
“Energy is a leading concern of my constituents for two keys reasons,” Begich said. “Alaskans already pay the nation’s highest energy costs due to long distances to markets, high transportation costs, and a widely dispersed population. And Alaska has served as America’s energy storehouse for decades, at one time producing up to a quarter of the nation’s domestically produced oil, which generates thousands of good-paying jobs.”
Begich said that Alaska is “ground zero for climate change” and that versions of energy legislation currently under discussion do not adequately meet Alaska’s needs. He emphasized seven priority issues for the state:
• The need to share federal outer continental shelf oil and gas revenues with local, affected communities.
• The importance of building a natural gas pipeline from Alaska’s North Slope.
• The need for increased domestic energy production, including production from the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska, the Arctic outer continental shelf and the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
• The need to address the adaptation needs of Alaska villages impacted by the effects of climate change.
• The need to pre-empt the use of the Clean Air Act to regulate the emission of greenhouse gases.
• The recognition of Alaska hydropower as a renewable resource, to make it eligible for funding assistance under U.S. Department of Energy renewable energy programs.
• The need to expand Arctic and climate research, to broaden an understanding of how Arctic communities can adapt to changing conditions.
“I pledge my cooperation with you and Senate leaders in crafting comprehensive energy legislation that addresses Alaska’s unique needs and national issues,” Begich said.