txt

HCR 3: Urging the governor and the attorney general to pursue all legal and legislative options to open the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and areas of the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas to oil and gas exploration, development, and production.

00                    HOUSE CONCURRENT RESOLUTION NO. 3                                                                    
01 Urging the governor and the attorney general to pursue all legal and legislative options                                
02 to open the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and areas of the Chukchi                               
03 and Beaufort Seas to oil and gas exploration, development, and production.                                              
04 BE IT RESOLVED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF ALASKA:                                                               
05       WHEREAS the state is experiencing steep declines in revenue from oil and gas                                    
06 production taxes and royalties on the North Slope as a result of decreasing oil production and                          
07 plummeting oil prices; and                                                                                              
08       WHEREAS 16 U.S.C. 3143 (sec. 1003 of the Alaska National Interest Lands                                         
09 Conservation Act) prohibits oil and gas production as well as leasing or other development                              
10 leading to production of oil and gas from the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge until the                                 
11 activity is authorized by an Act of Congress; and                                                                       
12       WHEREAS, on January 25, 2015, President Barack Obama announced his intention                                    
13 to ask the United States Congress to designate the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife                        
14 Refuge and other core areas of the refuge as wilderness, the highest level of protection that                           
15 would prohibit oil and gas development in the refuge; and                                                               
01       WHEREAS, on January 25, 2015, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service                                       
02 released its Revised Comprehensive Conservation Plan and Final Environmental Impact                                     
03 Statement for the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, which provides for the continued                                     
04 prohibition of oil and gas leasing, drilling, and extraction of oil and gas for commercial                              
05 purposes, including all associated above and below ground facilities; and                                               
06       WHEREAS President Barack Obama and the United States Fish and Wildlife Service                                  
07 express the intention not only to block oil and gas exploration and development on the coastal                          
08 plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, but also to permanently block any future oil and                          
09 gas exploration and development in that area by asking the United States Congress to                                    
10 designate the coastal plain as wilderness by an Act of Congress; and                                                    
11       WHEREAS, on January 27, 2015, President Barack Obama signed a presidential                                      
12 memorandum providing for the withdrawal from disposition by leasing for a time period                                   
13 without specific expiration of (1) the areas of the Outer Continental Shelf currently designated                        
14 by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management as leasing deferral areas within the Chukchi Sea                               
15 Planning Area and the Beaufort Sea Planning Area in the five-year oil and gas leasing                                   
16 program for 2012-2017; and (2) the Hanna Shoal region of the Chukchi Sea Planning Area                                  
17 lying within the contours of the 40-meter isobath; and                                                                  
18       WHEREAS the withdrawal from disposition by leasing prevents consideration of                                    
19 those areas for any future oil or gas leasing for purposes of exploration, development, or                              
20 production; and                                                                                                         
21       WHEREAS sec. 6(i) of the Alaska Statehood Act (P.L. 85-508) recognizes the critical                             
22 importance of revenue from natural resource development to the economic viability of the                                
23 state by including all mineral deposits in land conveyed to the state and requiring the state to                        
24 reserve its right in mineral deposits in all land received from the federal government; and                             
25       WHEREAS 30 U.S.C. 191 requires that 90 percent of the money received from sales,                                
26 bonuses, and royalties, including interest charges collected under 30 U.S.C. 1701 et seq.                               
27 (Federal Oil and Gas Royalty Management Act of 1982), be paid to the state for disposition                              
28 by the legislature; and                                                                                                 
29       WHEREAS the leasing of the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for                             
30 oil and gas development would provide a source of funds for the costs of providing state                                
31 services to the people of the state; and                                                                                
01       WHEREAS, in 16 U.S.C. 3142 (sec. 1002 of the Alaska National Interest Lands                                     
02 Conservation Act), the United States Congress reserved the right to permit further oil and gas                          
03 exploration, development, and production within the coastal plain of the Arctic National                                
04 Wildlife Refuge; and                                                                                                    
05       WHEREAS the oil industry, the state, and the United States Department of the                                    
06 Interior consider the coastal plain to have the highest potential for discovery of very large oil                       
07 and gas accumulations on the continent of North America, estimated to be as much as                                     
08 10,000,000,000 barrels of recoverable oil; and                                                                          
09       WHEREAS the "1002 study area" is part of the coastal plain located within the North                             
10 Slope Borough, and many of the residents of the North Slope Borough, who are                                            
11 predominantly Inupiat, are supportive of development in the "1002 study area"; and                                      
12       WHEREAS the state recognizes and respects the right of Native landowners in and                                 
13 adjacent to the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge 1002 study area, including the rights of the                            
14 Arctic Slope Regional Corporation and the Kaktovik Inupiat Corporation to develop their land                            
15 and resources entitlements under the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act and other                                      
16 agreements; and                                                                                                         
17       WHEREAS oil and gas exploration and development of the coastal plain of the                                     
18 refuge, of adjacent land, and in the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas could result in major                                    
19 discoveries that would reduce our nation's dependency on oil produced by hostile foreign                                
20 nations, help balance the nation's trade deficit, and significantly increase the nation's security;                     
21 and                                                                                                                     
22       WHEREAS the state's and the nation's future energy independence would be                                        
23 enhanced with additional natural gas production from the North Slope of Alaska, including                               
24 what are expected to be significant gas reserves in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and                             
25 the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas, and the development of those reserves would enhance the                                  
26 economic viability of the proposed Alaska liquefied gas project; and                                                    
27       WHEREAS domestic demand for energy continues to rise, and a reliable and secure                                 
28 source of domestic oil and gas ensures ongoing economic security for the state and the nation;                          
29 and                                                                                                                     
30       WHEREAS development of oil at Prudhoe Bay, Kuparuk, Endicott, Lisburne, and                                     
31 Milne Point has resulted in thousands of jobs throughout the United States, and projected job                           
01 creation as a result of oil and gas development on the coastal plain and in the Chukchi and                             
02 Beaufort Seas will have a positive effect in all 50 states; and                                                         
03       WHEREAS the Trans Alaska Pipeline System, a national asset that would cost                                      
04 billions of dollars to replace, would have its useful operating life extended for a substantial                         
05 period if the additional reserves of recoverable oil from the coastal plain and Chukchi and                             
06 Beaufort Seas were produced; and                                                                                        
07       WHEREAS the Trans Alaska Pipeline System is currently being extended to leases at                               
08 Point Thomson, an area bordering the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, and oil produced in                               
09 the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge would require only the additional construction of a                                 
10 pipeline to Point Thomson to deliver oil to market; and                                                                 
11       WHEREAS opening the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and                                    
12 allowing leasing and exploration in the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas would permit sufficient                               
13 time for planning environmental safeguards, development, and national security review; and                              
14       WHEREAS the 1,500,000-acre coastal plain of the refuge makes up less than eight                                 
15 percent of the 19,000,000-acre refuge, and development of the oil and gas reserves in the                               
16 refuge's coastal plain would affect a limited area as defined by the United States Congress;                            
17 and                                                                                                                     
18       WHEREAS 8,900,000 of the 19,000,000 acres of the refuge have already been set                                   
19 aside as wilderness; and                                                                                                
20       WHEREAS the oil industry has shown at Prudhoe Bay, as well as at other locations                                
21 along the Arctic coastal plain, that it is capable of conducting oil and gas activity without                           
22 adversely affecting the environment or wildlife populations; and                                                        
23       WHEREAS the oil and gas industry has developed directional drilling technology that                             
24 will allow horizontal drilling in a responsible manner by minimizing the development                                    
25 footprint within the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, and that directional drilling technology                          
26 is capable of drilling from outside of the boundaries of the 1002 study area; and                                       
27       WHEREAS the oil industry is using innovative technology and environmental                                       
28 practices in new field developments, and those techniques are directly applicable to operating                          
29 on the coastal plain and in the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas and would enhance environmental                               
30 protection beyond traditionally high standards; and                                                                     
31       WHEREAS the state recognizes that the economic prosperity of the state and nation                               
01 is dependent on available, reliable, and affordable energy;                                                             
02       BE IT RESOLVED that the Alaska State Legislature urges the governor to work with                                
03 the United States Congress to pass legislation to open the coastal plain of the Arctic National                         
04 Wildlife Refuge and the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas to oil and gas exploration, development,                              
05 and production; and be it                                                                                               
06       FURTHER RESOLVED that the Alaska State Legislature urges the governor and the                                   
07 attorney general to take all legal action necessary to prevent President Barack Obama, the                              
08 United States Fish and Wildlife Service, the United States Department of the Interior, and                              
09 other federal agencies from unlawfully blocking oil and gas leasing, exploration, and                                   
10 development on the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and in the Chukchi                              
11 and Beaufort Seas.