Turn to the nation's most objective and informative daily environmental news resource to learn how the United States and key players around the world are responding to the environmental...
By Alan Kovski
Dec. 16 — President Obama announced Dec. 16 he was blocking the possibility of leasing parts of Bristol Bay, Alaska, for oil and gas exploration and production.
Obama said he was exercising his authority under Section 12(a) of the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act, codified as 43 U.S.C. 1341(a). The section allows the president to “withdraw from disposition” any unleased lands on the Outer Continental Shelf.
“I took this action to make sure that one of America's greatest natural resources and a massive economic engine not only for Alaska but America, Bristol Bay, is preserved for future generations,” Obama said in a video statement posted on YouTube.
He described Bristol Bay as supporting about $2 billion in commercial fishing and supplying America with about 40 percent of its wild-caught seafood. It has supported Native Americans in the region for centuries, he said.
“It is a beautiful natural wonder, and it's something that's too precious to be putting out to the highest bidder,” Obama said.
Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), often a critic of Obama administration energy policy, questioned the way the decision was made but not the substance of it.
“Given the lack of interest by industry and the public divide over allowing oil and gas exploration in this area, I am not objecting to this decision at this time,” Murkowski said in a statement released hours after the decision.
“I think we all recognize that these are some of our state’s richest fishing waters,” she said. “What I do not understand is why this decision could not be made within the context of the administration’s upcoming plan for offshore leasing—or at least announced at the same time.”
The Interior Department hasn't leased any part of Bristol Bay for oil and gas exploration. The department didn't include the bay in its latest five-year leasing plan, the 2012-2017 plan released three years ago.
Oil and gas associations didn't immediately react, possibly reflecting the disinterest Murkowski cited.
The Pew Charitable Trusts welcomed the decision and said it had “worked with the people of Bristol Bay to secure permanent protection for their rich culture and healthy fisheries.”
Marilyn Heiman, U.S. Arctic director for the Pew Charitable Trusts, was quoted as saying, “The leadership shown in protecting a place that is so important to the people of Alaska is one of the best decisions this administration has made to protect our oceans. While many fisheries around the globe are declining, Bristol Bay’s well-managed fisheries are some of the most productive in the world, and are worthy of protection.”
To contact the reporter on this story: Alan Kovski in Washington at firstname.lastname@example.org
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Larry Pearl at email@example.com
All Bloomberg BNA treatises are available on standing order, which ensures you will always receive the most current edition of the book or supplement of the title you have ordered from Bloomberg BNA’s book division. As soon as a new supplement or edition is published (usually annually) for a title you’ve previously purchased and requested to be placed on standing order, we’ll ship it to you to review for 30 days without any obligation. During this period, you can either (a) honor the invoice and receive a 5% discount (in addition to any other discounts you may qualify for) off the then-current price of the update, plus shipping and handling or (b) return the book(s), in which case, your invoice will be cancelled upon receipt of the book(s). Call us for a prepaid UPS label for your return. It’s as simple and easy as that. Most importantly, standing orders mean you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you’re relying on. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.960.1220 or by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Put me on standing order at a 5% discount off list price of all future updates, in addition to any other discounts I may quality for. (Returnable within 30 days.)
Notify me when updates are available (No standing order will be created).
This Bloomberg BNA report is available on standing order, which ensures you will all receive the latest edition. This report is updated annually and we will send you the latest edition once it has been published. By signing up for standing order you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you need. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.372.1033, option 5, or by sending us an email to email@example.com.
Put me on standing order
Notify me when new releases are available (no standing order will be created)