Lawmakers Demand the Federal Government Clean Up Legacy Old Wells
Senator Lisa Murkowski said she will not tolerate the current issues
ANCHORAGE – Federal and state lawmakers from Alaska are stepping up their demand that the federal government clean up about 120 wells drilled up to 40 years ago in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska.
She said the problem of the so-called “legacy wells" in NPR-A could not be tolerated.
Thursday Murkowski and two other Alaskans excoriated the federal Bureau of Land Management for 68 years of neglect in northwest Alaska.
The Navy and the U.S. Geological Survey drilled 136 wells in NPR-A from the mid-1940s to the early 1980s, and to date only 16 of those have been properly closed according to state environmental standards.
State Representative Charisse Millett of Anchorage, who sponsored a unanimously approved resolution calling on BLM to expedite clean up, appeared before the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.
Millett said, "While the federal government rightfully demands proper environmental stewardship on development in Alaska, and often uses its administrative powers to delay, stop our responsible developers in the name of environmental protection, it turns a blind eye to its own environmental disaster. This hypocrisy outrages Alaskans and should outrage all Americans."
The BLM is now supposed to work on a priority work list with the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, identifying the sites most in need of remediation.
Murkowski emphasized: "I think we need a game plan on this because up to this point in time it's been absolutely insufficient, inadequate and an embarrassment to the federal government."
For Murkowski, all is only well that ends well pollution.
Also appearing before the Senate panel was Cathy Foerster of the AOGCC.
Foerster described herself as "aghast" at BLM's "pathetic" performance.