In a letter sent today to U.S. Interior Sec. Sally Jewell, Alaska Gov. Bill Walker nominated the Beaufort Sea, Chukchi Sea, and Cook Inlet for inclusion in the 2017-2022 OCS Oil and Gas Leasing Program and said that the state would nominate specific tracts in advance of each lease sale. Walker also said that, “to the extent it is necessary to protect the State’s interest and promote its policies,” the state intends to participate in Arctic OCS lease sales as a qualified lessee.
Among other things, Walker states that sufficient information exists “to proceed with activities that comply with defined mitigation and environmental stipulations designed to relieve adverse impacts,” with much of the information collected with the involvement of Arctic coastal communities. He added that decades of experience proves that safe Arctic offshore energy exploration and development “can and will continue to be conducted in a safe, environmentally sound manner” and “can and will be executed in the nation’s interest, and in compliance with the newly-enacted Arctic OCS regulations to ensure these activities are conducted under the highest safety and environmental standards.”