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Alaska offers to help pay for ANWR exploration

June 1, 2013 at 10:23 AM

WASHINGTON, June 1 (UPI) -- Alaska would pay millions of dollars to help the U.S. government survey the state's potential oil and natural gas reserves, Gov. Sean Parnell said Saturday.

Parnell, delivering the weekly Republican radio address, urged a seven-year exploration plan to gather additional data on what lies beneath the federal Arctic National Wildlife Reserve.

"I'm prepared to seek up to $50 million from the Alaska legislature to help the federal government pay for developing this valuable information from its own land," Parnell said.

Parnell said the potential energy riches of the pristine ANWR could be extracted with minimal environmental damage, but Washington had held up the debate since the 1990s on the grounds it lacked adequate information on the amount of oil and gas that might be produced.

The governor did not say what role the state would seek in the exploration project but he said the Republican Party view of energy development had not changed, CBS News reported.

He said the Obama administration has been "less than nimble about permitting projects" on federal lands, and cited new offshore production in general and the controversial Keystone XL pipeline in particular as examples of beneficial projects snarled by red tape.

"If Washington would start working with states to unlock access to federal lands, an economic boom would be felt across this nation, lifting wages and creating hundreds of thousands of good-paying jobs and improving our national security through energy independence," Parnell said.

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