HOUSTON – December, 22, 2009 Earlier today, 13 members of the U.S. House of Representatives, led by Congressman Don Young of Alaska, wrote Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, urging his agency to carefully consider the economic and energy security consequences associated with a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) proposal to designate critical habitat for polar bears under the Endangered Species Act. The ruling, which is open for public comment until December 28, could dramatically undercut responsible energy production and job creation in Alaska.
David Holt, president of the non-partisan Consumer Energy Alliance (CEA), issued the following statement in response to the letter:
“Balancing the safe, responsible development of America’s abundant natural resources while ensuring its critical habitat is preserved is something we can do, must do, and in fact have done for many years. Unfortunately, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s proposal, as currently written, seeks to lock up enormous amounts of American energy – resources that could create thousands of good-paying jobs and help stabilize energy prices for struggling consumers when they need it most.
“Like in so many other industries, the energy industry continues to make great technological advancements each and every day. These advancements not only allow access to energy resources that were once thought to be out of reach, but they also allow exploration to be done in a more responsible, environmentally-mindful manner, ensuring that wildlife are properly protected.
“As this public comment continues forward, it is imperative that the secretary makes certain that sound scientific and economic data is considered. CEA applauds the dedicated work from this bipartisan group of lawmakers, who share our organization’s commitment to advancing policies that promote – not discourage – stable energy prices for American consumers through the responsible development of all of our nation’s energy resources, especially in Alaska.”
A 2009 University of Alaska Anchorage study entitled “Economic Analysis of Future Offshore Oil & Gas Development” finds:
- OCS development could generate an annual average of 35,000 jobs over the next 50 years – a six percent increase compared to total statewide employment without OCS development.
- Opportunities would be created throughout the state in both high paying, long-term, year-round jobs and in seasonal and short-term jobs. Of the 6,000 oil and gas sector jobs, about 3,900 could be long-term, year-round jobs.
A November 16 National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARCU) study entitled “Analysis of the Impact on the Social, Economic and Environmental Effects of Maintaining Oil and Gas Exploration and Production Moratoria” finds:
- Cumulative domestic oil and natural gas production decreases by 21% and 10%, respectively;
- Average natural gas price increases by 28% and average gasoline price increases by 8.4 percent;
- Cumulative oil imports from OPEC countries increase by 4.1 billion barrels; and
- Cumulative national payments to OPEC countries increase by $607 billion.
A December 16 Rasmussen poll found “that 68% of U.S. voters believe offshore oil drilling should be allowed”.