Begich heading to White House to press Arctic offshore drilling timeline

“I will determine after that meeting what I am going to move and what I will do,” he said. “I will look at whatever procedures that I can to make sure we move forward on this issue, to get a timeline as well as what I think are the correct standards to deal with oil-and-gas development.”

“We are not telling what those guidelines should be. We just want guidelines and a timetable. Without that we have an unknown and we are kind of just drifting out there,” Begich added. “We will try and get an answer that we can move forward on.”

Royal Dutch Shell has long been pushing to conduct drilling in the area but faced delays.

The company wants permission from the Interior Department to begin drilling in the Beaufort Sea next year, but environmentalists are seeking a continued delay (we described the battle over Artic drilling in this post last week).

Michael Bromwich, who is Interior’s top offshore drilling regulator, said last week that the agency hopes to soon provide a clearer picture of its Alaskan drilling policy.