JUNEAU, Alaska, Aug. 11 (UPI) — Washington can find a way to tap into the energy potential in Alaska while protecting its pristine environment, a U.S. official said.
U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar is visiting Alaska to review its environment and potential for oil and natural gas development. Salazar said during meetings with Alaskan representatives that the state boasted vast natural resources and unmatched environmental beauty.
“I am confident that, guided by science, innovation and the voices of the Alaska natives and local communities, we can safely and responsibly harness Alaska’s enormous energy potential while also protecting its land, water and wildlife for future generations of Americans,” he said.
Salazar and other U.S. and Alaskan officials viewed the energy-rich North Slope region to get updates on proposals from Royal Dutch Shell and ConocoPhillips to explore the region.
U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, has pushed the White House to consider oil and gas in Alaska as a way to ease U.S. dependence on foreign reserves.
“Additional development in Alaska would help address many of our most pressing challenges — it would help us create tens of thousands of new jobs, generate hundreds of billions of dollars in new tax revenues, reduce our harmful dependence on foreign oil and improve our trade balance,” she said.