Obama Warms to Alaskan Drilling

by Brian McGraw on August 10, 2011

in Blog

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Much to the chagrin of the left’s environmental base, Ken Salazar voiced Obama’s support for increased natural resource production in Alaska:

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar came to Anchorage on Monday and said the Obama administration supports more oil drilling in Alaska, potentially including offshore Arctic development.

Salazar joined Alaska Sen. Mark Begich and Rhode Island Sen. Jack Reed for a meeting with Alaska business people and said the president’s feeling toward Arctic offshore drilling is “Let’s take a look at what’s up there and see what it is we can develop.”

It came with the standard try-to-please-everyone-speak that Presidents must use, showing concern for the unique challenges faced by drilling in the Artic Ocean. But the bottom line is Obama understands that this is something politically he must move forward with, as this is the low-hanging fruit in terms of sparking economic growth before the 2012 election. The support has come at a time when experts are increasingly discussing a potential “double-dip” recession and a continued stall in employment growth. Resource production is one area where the private sector really has “shovel ready” jobs, as it has added jobs throughout 2010-2011. Examples of specific projects in Alaska are here and here.

Increasing Alaskan drilling will also serve to prevent a shut-down of the Trans Alaskan Pipeline, which has been suffering from decreased production and could potentially shut down within the decade if production continues to decline. This would have severe negative effects on Alaskan GDP and employment, as Senator Lisa Murkowski notes:

Having stressed the horrifying effects that would potentially proceed if TAPS shut down, the senator suggested that Alaska’s greatest challenge today is to prevent the decommissioning of TAPS.

“TAPS is not just a pipeline, it’s our lifeline,” Lisa firmly remarked. “…Alaska’s oil production has declined by 36 percent since 2003, even as production in many parts of the Lower 48 has increased.”

The senator’s concerns not only stretched from this issue’s great impact on the state’s economic stability but also to the possible likelihood of North Dakota toppling Alaska from being the Nation’s second largest oil producing state next to Texas.

Sen. Murkowski believes that this is mainly caused by blockage of potential oil developers to gain access on Alaska’s federal lands while North Dakota welcome them with open arms. The result is gridlock for Alaska – boom for North Dakota, as what the senator said.

It seems likely that increased production in future years will prevent or delay a TAPS shut down. It also seems likely that Obama will not stand in the way of the KeystoneXL Pipeline delivering oil from Canada’s oil sands, despite strong opposition from wealthy actors.


Nicky Lammi September 1, 2011 at 9:37 am

Where can someone autonomously research “global warming” and climate change data?

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