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Follow Alaska, lawmaker tells Obama

July 1, 2011 at 9:19 AM   |   Comments

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WASHINGTON, July 1 (UPI) -- Alaska is taking the right step by setting goals to increase domestic energy production and Washington should follow suit, a natural resources official said.

Alaska's Republican Gov. Sean Parnell and state Natural Resources Commissioner Dan Sullivan announced plans to increase the flow of oil through the Trans Alaska Pipeline system to 1 million barrels of oil within a decade.

The decision followed a report from pipeline company Alyeska that found the pipeline would struggle to last another 10 years because of anticipated declines in oil flows from the state, which gets significant revenue for its natural resources.

U.S. Rep. Doc Hastings, R-Wash., chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, said President Barack Obama should follow Parnell's decision and take steps to increase domestic energy production.

"The problem of developing our energy resources on federal lands stretches far beyond Alaska," Hastings said in a statement. "All across the country, both onshore and offshore, the Obama administration has repeatedly taken action to block and delay access to American energy resources."

A bill passed by the U.S. House of Representatives in May sets oil and natural gas production targets that will cut foreign dependence by one-third, Hastings said.

Republican lawmakers criticized Obama's plans to tap into strategic petroleum reserves, complaining it would cost jobs.

"The real Strategic Petroleum Reserve is Alaska, which has the potential to provide more than 30 billion barrels of oil over three decades," Parnell said in a statement. "Developing Alaska's vast hydrocarbon resources will supply the nation with billions of barrels of domestic crude."

Critics complain tapping offshore domestic resources too quickly is risky in light of last year's oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.

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