ALASKA READY TO DRILL DESPITE DEBATE
June 3, 2004
Tired of the federal government hampering its economy by prohibiting natural resource recovery from federal lands located in the state, the Alaskan state government has taken matters into its own hands and opened more of its non-federal lands to oil and gas recovery.
- Alaska is offering 350,000 acres for oil and gas development near the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR), and another 670,000 acres for development near the National Petroleum Reserve.
- The state is also considering an additional total of 60 million acres in the Chuckchi Sea, Norton Sound and Cook Inlet areas.
Environmental activists have already filed a suit on behalf of the interests of caribou and other wildlife, but areas such as the National Petroleum Reserve were already designated for oil and gas development by the Federal Government back in 1923.
Moreover, 70 percent of Alaska's residents favor oil and gas drilling in ANWR. In response, Alaska's politicians are attempting to avoid a backlash from voters over economic harm to Alaska due to federal restrictions on oil and gas recovery by offering state lands.
Other states are following suit:
- With an expected state budget deficit this year, Montana's Republican candidates for governor are running on a platform of balancing economic opportunity and environmental regulations.
- Montana's neighbor, Wyoming, is projected to add 1.2 billion in to its state's tax revenues in 2004, due to natural gas production.
Source: James M. Taylor, "Alaska Bucks Feds, Invites More Oil Production," Environment and Climate News Jun 2004, Heartland Institute.
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