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Young: Act would help 'job creation'

Rep. rolls out oil and gas legislation for the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge

Posted: November 14, 2011 - 12:02am

House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Doc Hastings and Alaska’s Rep. Don Young announced the Alaskan Energy for American Jobs Act on Friday.

The Act would “open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for future energy production and job creation,” Young said.

Young said he expects to include the measure as part of a fast-moving energy and infrastructure jobs bill announced in the House of Representatives last week.

“As former chairman of both the House Natural Resources and Transportation Committees, I am proud of the fact that I am the only Member to pass both a highway bill and a bill opening ANWR out of the House. With the Highway Trust Fund struggling to stay in the black, we must find new sources of revenue to fund infrastructure projects,” Young said. “This is a common sense plan; the revenue generated from drilling in ANWR will help keep the Highway Trust Fund from defaulting and will create jobs at the same time.”

The Alaskan Energy for American Jobs Act will open half a million acres in Alaska’s coastal plain. According to U.S. Geological Survey estimates, the Refuge contains at least 10.4 billion barrels of oil.

The Act directs the Secretary of the Interior “to establish and implement a competitive oil and gas leasing program for the exploration, development, and production of the oil and gas resources of the coastal plain of Alaska, to ensure secure energy supplies for the continental Pacific coast of the United States, lower prices, and reduce imports, and for other purposes.”

The Act would include some regulatory protection for “Special Areas of the Coastal Plain.”

“The Secretary, after consultation with the state of Alaska, the city of Kaktovik, and the North Slope Borough, may designate up to a total of 45,000 acres of the plain as a Special Area if the Secretary determines that the Special Area is of such unique character and interest so as to require special management and regulatory protection,” according to bill language. It then requests the secretary designate as such a Special Area the 4,000 acres around Sadlerochit Spring, a warm water spring.

• Contact reporter Russell Stigall at 523-2276 or at russell.stigall@juneauempire.com.

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