Obama signs order forming Alaska drilling task force

The Environmental Protection Agency released draft air-pollution permits for Shell earlier this month.

The executive order charges the task force — dubbed the Interagency Working Group on Coordination of Domestic Energy Development and Permitting in Alaska — with overseeing “coordinated and efficient domestic energy development and permitting in Alaska while ensuring that all applicable standards are fully met.”

Membership on the task force will include deputy-level officials at the Defense Department, Commerce Department, Agriculture Department, Energy Department, Department of Homeland Security, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Office of the Federal Coordinator for Alaska Natural Gas Transportation Projects.

The task force also includes officials from the White House Council on Environmental Quality, the Office of Science and Technology Policy and the Office and Management and Budget, among others.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (La.), the ranking Republican on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, called the task force a “positive step forward.”

“I will be watching this effort closely to ensure that it’s successful at closing what has been an endless loop of approvals, appeals and delays — delays caused by special interest groups opposed to improving our energy security and the jobs it would create,” Murkowski said in a statement.

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