Murkowski, Begich back Obama’s Arctic drilling push

Begich has been pushing a bill that would create a new federal office to knock down what he alleges have been undue hurdles placed before oil companies – notably Royal Dutch Shell – that want to drill off Alaska’s coast. 

Begich also praised the plan for annual lease sales in the onshore National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska (NPR-A), a 23-million acre area on Alaska's North Slope set aside in the 1920s as a source of domestic oil. But it’s also an ecologically fragile region teeming with wildlife that environmentalists fear will be harmed if drilling proceeds.

“The President’s continued support for an annual lease program in the NPR-A is good news. However, to be meaningful, his administration will have to demonstrate a commitment to removing roadblocks preventing development at ConocoPhillips’ stalled CD-5 project, just over the reserve boundary,” Begich said.