A public meeting on a Trump administration draft proposal to open up more of Alaska’s waters to oil drilling is being rescheduled, due to the brief government shutdown.
The meeting was originally set to take place tomorrow in Anchorage. The federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management hasn’t yet settled on a new date.
The Department of Interior is aiming to reverse Obama-era offshore drilling policy, which largely blocked oil development in the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas. Interior’s draft proposal would allow oil lease sales in the Arctic and also off all Alaska’s other coasts, except for the North Aleutian Basin, by Bristol Bay.
Governor Bill Walker advocated for Arctic waters to be included in the federal offshore drilling plan. But Walker says he’s asking Interior to expand its outreach effort in Alaska by holding more than one public meeting.
“We also are asking that the hearings be held, not just one in Anchorage, but in the particular areas where the activity would take place,” Walker said.
Walker was speaking in Washington, D.C., where he was attending a ceremony for the King Cove road deal.
Some groups, like communities across the Bering Strait region, strongly oppose drilling in areas the Trump administration is proposing to open up. Walker didn’t respond directly to a question about whether he will ask Interior to remove some areas included in the proposal. Instead, the governor said he will listen closely to communities that could be affected.
Alaska Public Media Washington, D.C. correspondent Liz Ruskin contributed to this story
- Corri Feige is not new to the agency she will now lead — she was previously the head of DNR's Division of Oil and Gas under Gov. Bill Walker.
- British Columbia is taking steps to fully clean up the abandoned Tulsequah Chief Mine. The defunct Canadian mine upstream from the Taku River has been leaching acid for more than 60 years.
- An Anchorage Superior Court judge issued a final order on the lawsuit, which was filed in August by the ACLU of Alaska, the group Dunleavy for Alaska and Palmer resident Eric Siebels.
- The Urban Indian Health Institute conducted the report over the past year amid concern that Native American and Alaska Native women are vanishing in high numbers, despite a lack of government data to identify the full scope of the problem.