Begich, Murkowski, Young, Parnell slam feds
The members of Alaska’s congressional delegation and Alaska’s governor were united in condemning the federal government following Shell’s Feb. 3 decision to cancel its plans to drill in the Beaufort Sea this summer because of the uncertainty of permitting.
All released statements critical of the Obama Administration and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
“I put the blame for this squarely on the EPA and the Obama Administration who have taken virtually every opportunity to block responsible development of Alaska’s resources,” said Sen. Mark Begich, a Democrat.
“The actions taken by this administration will result in all of us paying more for gasoline — not to mention the loss of jobs and revenue that responsible development bring,” said Sen. Lisa Murkowski, a Republican.
Congressman Don Young, a Republican, said: “We are making it near impossible for companies to do business in the U.S.; where’s the incentive? It is absurd and foolish and completely indicative of an Administration that has no interest in responsible resource development or a thriving economy.”
Alaska Gov. Sean Parnell, a Republican, speaking at a press availability, called it “just another example of the federal government dragging its feet, killing jobs and making us even more reliant on oil from the Middle East and elsewhere, where as we can see from the situation in Egypt it’s very unstable.”
Begich said he has “talked to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson multiple times, and will continue to make the case for Shell to be able to move forward with exploration.” He said Shell hopes to get the air permits it needs for 2012, and said he would continue to work with the company and EPA to make that happen.
“It is shameful to see another season lost,” Begich said.
Murkowski, the ranking member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, said, “The EPA’s refusal, or simple inability, to issue key permits in a timely fashion is indefensible,” and called on the administration to review EPA’s handling of Shell’s permit applications.
She said the inability of the federal government “to process a straightforward air permit calls into question its willingness to support a rational energy policy.”
Young said “any attempt at project development is shut down by the EPA,” called the administration’s talk about jobs just lip service and said the country is being crippled. “They won’t be happy until we’ve run all business out of the country and we’re back to traveling on dirt roads in covered wagons.”
“It’s unfathomable that a company … can buy federal leases but can’t get onto them,” Parnell said. “It’s also unfathomable that they cannot get an air permit after five years of time that they can get in the Gulf of Mexico in a matter months.”