Opening Arctic for Drilling Is Trump Priority, Key Senator Says - Bloomberg
Senator Lisa Murkowski said President Donald Trump is interested in opening up new coastal waters for oil and gas drilling and reversing Obama-era policies that restrict energy development in Alaska.
Both Trump and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke are weighing ways to expand opportunities to drill in Arctic waters though the changes could take years to accomplish administratively, Murkowski said in an interview on the sidelines of the CERAWeek conference in Houston.
“It’s fair to say we are looking at how we might be able to — how the administration might be able to — allow for opportunities within this important area, offshore Alaska,” Murkowski said.
Among her targets: making it easier to develop parcels in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska, a 23-million-acre (9.3 million hectare) region set aside 94 years ago because of its oil and gas potential, and allowing the activity in part of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR).
The Trump administration also is weighing how to undo an executive order that President Barack Obama used to withdraw almost all U.S. Arctic waters and underwater canyons in the Atlantic Ocean from future oil and gas leasing. Environmentalists say it would be unprecedented for any president to rescind such a designation, and the reversal would almost certainly be challenged in court.