Alaska Congressman Don Young gave Interior Secretary Ken Salazar a piece of his mind on the Obama Administration’s energy policy Wednesday. Young tried to drive his point home by showing up late into the hearing wearing a beanie on his head. It was topped by a propeller, and sported a pin that said “Obama’s Energy Plan.”
Young said he’s concerned about how seriously the Obama Administration will weigh public input on the future of ANWR, because he’s worried it could sway them against development. Tuesday, marked the end of the public comment period on a management plan for the Arctic Refuge. It includes a recommendation that the Coastal Plain be designated as wilderness. The environmental group Alaska Wilderness League says more than 850,000 people submitted comments to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service asking that it be off limits from oil and gas drilling. And Young says those should not weigh as heavily as the comments of pro-drilling Alaskans.
Young said he suspects the signatures go with form letters.
Secretary Salazar repeated his position that drilling in the Arctic Refuge is, in his words, “not appropriate.”
Salazar was at the committee meeting to talk about the Obama Administration’s oil and gas plan. Wednesday the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management announced it has the information it needs to begin reviewing Shell’s plan to drill up to three wells per year in the Chukchi Sea beginning next summer. The company already has conditional approval for a similar plan in the Beaufort Sea.