Gulf? What Gulf? Obama Admin Goes for More Drilling in Alaska
The Interior Department announced today--a Friday afternoon, perfect for avoiding press--the opening up of oil and gas drilling leases for 1.8 million acres of Alaska's National Petroleum Reserve to oil and gas drilling. Energy and Environment reports that the Bureau of Land Management is selling leases for 190 tracts of land in the reserve, and bidding will close August 11th. The sale is one of dozens, mostly in Western states, that the Interior Department announced in November.
On the positive side, in addition to opening up drilling leases in the reserve, the department put nearly a million acres under protection to avoid disturbing migratory birds and caribou. Eric Myers of Audobon Alaska called the move a reasonable approach to protect birds and calving caribou in an Associated Press report on the leases.
“This sale reflects the Administration’s continuing efforts to encourage environmentally responsible development of domestic energy resources, including fossil fuels, to reduce our nation’s heavy dependence on imported oil,” Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said in a statement. “It also demonstrates our continuing commitment to protect and conserve wildlife and their habitat on sensitive public lands with exceptional ecological value.”
This is the same man who, earlier in the week, urged an LA court to uphold the Obama Administration's current ban on deepwater drilling. Unfortunately, Gulf blowout or not, this country continues to use over 20 million barrels per day. That oil needs to come from somewhere, and apparently the solution today is to drill for more of it in Alaska. Three of the 23 million acres in the preserve are currently being drilled by oil and gas companies.