U.S. Arctic

The Arctic is one of the last frontiers, home to vast natural resources and an area of emerging geopolitical importance. The United States is an Arctic nation with Alaska anchoring our interests in the region.

Alaska’s critical onshore and offshore energy resources can further strengthen American national security and economic prosperity. We must ensure that energy development proceeds safely under strict western standards for environmental protection.

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Offshore, the U.S. federal government estimates that Alaska’s Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) holds 27 billion barrels of oil and 132 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, more than twice the amount produced at Alaska’s Prudhoe Bay, which has been supplying the U.S. with a significant percentage of its production since the 1970s. A U.S. Geological Survey says the region contains 30 percent of the world’s undiscovered natural gas and 15 percent of its oil.

To remain globally competitive and to be positioned to provide global leadership and influence in the Arctic, the United States should facilitate exploration in the offshore Alaskan Arctic now.

– 2015 National Petroleum Council Report to U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz


Economic impact studies have shown that Atlantic offshore energy development could create hundreds of thousands of jobs, billions in economic activity, and billions in new government revenue.  Developing the Atlantic could create 280,000 jobs, contribute up to $23.5 billion to the economy annually, and add $51 billion in new government revenue across the U.S.


Developing these resources will have many benefits to our nation, including helping to meet future U.S. energy needs, improving our energy security, and increasing employment. Virginia stands ready to be a great partner in supporting development of this new industry and bringing new jobs to the east coast.

– Former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe(SOURCE)


Arctic exploration and production leads to greater energy self-sufficiency and decreases in oil imports for the U.S. from rival nations like Russia or those in the Middle East. This, in turn, strengthens the U.S. economy, bolsters our global competitiveness, reduces our national debt, improves our national security, and helps keep fuel costs and other energy prices in the U.S. stable regardless of ongoing conflicts overseas.

For an illustration, imagine this: The Alaskan Arctic contains enough untapped oil and natural gas to power nearly every domestic flight for 120 years and heat every American home for nearly 34 years.

I would rather us — with all the safeguards and standards that we have — be producing our oil and gas, rather than importing it, which is bad for our people, but is also potentially purchased from places that have much lower environmental standards than we do…

– President Barack Obama (SOURCE)

During a time of global political and economic uncertainty, it is vital that the U.S. take the appropriate steps to assume leadership in the Arctic. An American-led Arctic would not only strengthen national security and support job creation and economic stability, but it would also prevent international conflict spurred on by unstable countries making overly ambitious power moves in Arctic space. The U.S. is also jeopardizing billions of dollars in potential deficit reduction and tens to hundreds of thousands of high-paying jobs by not taking the lead in the Arctic. Finally, the U.S. has the opportunity to set the global Arctic standard for safe, environmentally responsible energy development and other commercial activity.


In recent years, regulators and industry alike have taken unprecedented steps to further increase safety and environmental protections, including the following actions:

  • Over 100 new exploration and production standards
  • New well design and casing standards
  • New safety and environmental management systems rule
  • New blowout preventer requirements
  • Increased inspection and engineering workforce
  • Strengthened inspection and engineering workforce
  • New Ocean Energy Safety Institute and Center for Offshore Safety

The Department of the Interior has implemented the most aggressive and comprehensive offshore oil and gas regulatory reforms in the nation’s history.

– Interior Sec. Sally Jewell (SOURCE)


Wind energy is an important part of future offshore energy production in the Southeast.  In 2013, a federal lease was sold to develop a 112,000 acre block nearly 24 miles off Virginia Beach and is expected to support over 2,000 megawatts of electricity- enough to power 700,000 homes.  It is estimated that moderate development of offshore wind in the Southeast (Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Virginia) could support:

  • An annual average of ~5,500 additional jobs per year from 2020 to 2030
  • $370 million in annual average direct economic growth from 2020 to 2030

Embracing offshore energy development of all types could provide a significant new source of funding for activities ranging from infrastructure improvements to environmental restoration and beyond.



Now is the time to speak up for developing our resources in the U.S. Arctic.

Families and businesses across the United States, especially individuals on fixed and low income and small businesses, depend on affordable, reliable energy to make ends meet and support their families and employees. Furthermore, increasing opportunities to develop our own resources here at home will provide economic growth that will help our children and grandchildren.

Studies have shown that expanded development could support more than 560,000 jobs and over $314 billion in cumulative government revenue. At the same time, by developing energy here in America under our stringent regulatory standards, we will help safeguard our environment.

To meet America’s growing and long-term energy needs, it is vital to keep significant offshore opportunities in place.