The issue of cleaning up abandoned wells in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska is coming before a U.S. Senate committee.
The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee has scheduled a hearing on the matter Thursday. Sen. Lisa Murkowski is a member of the panel.
The so-called legacy wells were drilled under the federal government’s direction as part of an exploratory oil and gas program between 1944 and 1981. They are currently managed by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management.
BLM-Alaska has been working with the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission to prioritize the plugging and reclamation of well sites. A single project can cost millions of dollars in large part due to mobilization costs. BLM-Alaska gets about $1 million a year to manage legacy wells.
- Superior Court Judge Philip Pallenberg heard oral arguments in a lawsuit on the issue. He said he’ll try to reach a decision as quickly as he can.
- Walker said he has spoken several times with U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, whose vote could help determine the bill’s fate.
- State transportation crews are removing political campaign signs along state rights-of-way. Alaska law largely forbids signs anywhere visible from the roadway.
- The University of Alaska is offering up 400 acres of its Haines-area land for timber harvest. The timing of the university’s decision was motivated by a conversation happening at the local level. The Haines Planning Commission is considering whether to restrict resource extraction in the Mud Bay area.