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API Lobbies For Arctic Drilling To Remain On the Table

Arctic Oil Rig

The American Petroleum Institute (API) and other energy industry groups are urging the U.S. government not to remove Arctic offshore drilling from the table through 2022, despite strong opposition over ecological issues.

In a letter to the U.S. Department of Interior, the oil industry group—which includes the API and the Independent Petroleum Association of America—insists on the importance of the Arctic for American energy sustainability.

“Access to oil and natural gas resources in the Alaska [outer continental shelf] under balanced and science-based regulations is an essential part of the nation’s long-term economic and energy security,” the letter reads.

“Our state’s oil fields have matured over the years, and it is vital that new arenas and development opportunities are realized for the future economic security of our state.”

The group said this move is supported by the Alaska-based business and labor organizations.

Advocacy group Oceana warns that Arctic drilling could present a high risk of major oil spills or other irreversible environmental problems.

“This administration now has the opportunity and obligation to think holistically about the future of the Arctic region and to ensure that decisions prioritize the health of ocean ecosystems,” wrote Oceana.

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“Removing the Chukchi and Beaufort seas from the 2017-2022 Five-Year Program is one important step to furthering those goals.”

The Obama administration is now at a critical junction in its decision to go ahead with the 2017-2022 program leases off the coast of Alaska as the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) puts together its drilling rights auction schedule for the next five years.

Any decision now will be difficult to reverse until after 2022.

By James Burgess of Oilprice.com



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