Resource Development Council

RDC Comment Letter:
Proposed 2012-2017 Five-Year Plan for
Outer Continental Shelf Oil & Gas Leasing Program

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View Testimony of Lindsay Williams on Behalf of Senator Cathy Giessel

View the Action Alert

January 9, 2012

J.F. Bennett
Chief Division of Environmental Assessment
Bureau of Ocean Energy Management
381 Elden Street, Mail Stop 4042
Herndon, VA 20170-4817

Dear Mr. Bennett:

The Resource Development Council (RDC) is writing to urge the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) to move forward with a robust 2O12- 2O17 offshore oil and gas leasing program, including lease sales in the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas, as well as Cook Inlet. These sales should be allowed while additional studies are conducted.

RDC is a statewide organization made up of all resource sectors, business associat¡ons, labor un¡ons, Native corporations, tour¡sm providers, local governments and individuals. RDC's purpose is to encourage a strong, diversified pr¡vate sector in Alaska and expand the state's econom¡c base through the respons¡ble development of our natural resources.

Given its potential for immense recoverable reserves and enormous econom¡c benefits to the state and nat¡on, the Alaska OCS should be opened to responsible development. The OCS has the potent¡al to sharply increase throughput in the Trans Alaska pipeline, which is currently operat¡ng at one third capacity. Without new significant discoveries of oil, the pipeline could be uneconom¡c to operate at some po¡nt after 2020, leading to catastroph¡c implications for Alaska's economy and Alaskans, who depend on good-paying jobs.

RDC suppofts offshore explorat¡on in Alaska because it is confident operat¡ons can occur safely, and there are ¡mportant distinctions between drilling in the deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico and the shallow waters offshore Alaska. I would like to po¡nt out that 30 wells have been drilled in the Beaufort and five in the Chukchi - all without incident, not to mention decades of responsible oil and gas explorat¡on and production in Cook Inlet. These wells were drilled in the 1980s, utilizing older technology.

The responsible development of vast oil and gas deposits in the Arctic would significantly boost Alaska's economy, create tens of thousands of jobs, improve the economic viability of the proposed natural gas pipeline, and reduce America's reliance on foreign energy. It would also generate hundreds of billions of dollars in government revenues.

The Alaska OCS is an important future source of U.S. energy supply with an estimated 27 billion barrels of oil and 132 trillion cubic feet of natural gas potentially in place. The potential reserves offshore Alaska is more than all the current total proven U.S. oil reserves.

RDC and many Alaskans share President Obama's view that America needs to conserve more and put new emphasis on renewable and alternative energy. Yet America still needs to pursue new oil and gas production, given the fact it will take decades before renewable energy becomes a dominant energy source.

The U.S. needs to reduce its dependence on foreign oil. If we do not turn to the highly prospective opportunities like the Alaska OCS, then from where would new production come from? Oil imported from foreign countries is often produced with less care for the environment. Environmental, economic and geopolitical issues all favor oil produced here in the U.S.

RDC encourages BOEM to move forward with the proposed five-year program, including the Alaska lease sales.

Resource Development Council for Alaska, Inc.

Read RDC's Public Testimony
View the Action Alert