Tuesday, June 18, 2013
Alaska Senator Pushes to Create Arctic OCS Coordinator Job
Sen. Mark Begich says the position would streamline federal agency regulation, consequently expediting oil and gas development in the Arctic outer continental shelf.
U.S. Senator Mark Begich (D-Alaska) explained a bill on Monday that he claims would reel in federal red tape when it comes to oil and gas development in the Arctic Outer Continental Shelf.
At a press conference at the Resource Development Council in midtown Anchorage, the senator introduced the Outer Continental Shelf Permit Processing Coordination Act.
A facet of the bill is the creation of an Arctic OCS coordinator position to streamline federal agency regulation. Sen. Begich says this in turn would expedite oil and gas development in the Arctic Outer Continental Shelf and fill the pipeline.
Begich compares the “business as usual” mentality of the regulation process to a game of Whac-a-Mole. “I mean, every time we hit one regulation, get it out of the way, another one pops up,” he continued. “We want to throw this game out.”
The key to getting rid of federal Whac-a-Mole, according to Begich, begins with the Outer Continental Shelf Permit Processing Coordination Act. In addition to creating an Arctic OCS coordinator position, it would also create a lease and permit coordination office for the Alaska region of the OCS.
If the bill passes, the project could be authorized to spend up to $2 million funded by a contribution by all agencies or development on the OCS.
Both ConocoPhillips and Shell support the bill, hoping it will hasten project goal dates.
“It is my hope that a dedicated federal OCS regional coordinator for Alaska will add much needed accountability to the regulatory process and allow Shell industry to achieve our ultimate goal of drilling in 2012,” said Vice President of Shell Alaska Peter Slaiby.
Besides coordinating federal agencies' permitting in the OCS, Begich says the legislation would resolve litigation over permitting more quickly by moving jurisdiction to the federal district court in Washington, DC.