At the end of January, U.S. President Obama and his administration announced an unprecedented initiative to allow oil and gas drilling off the coasts of the mid-Atlantic States. It sets the stage for eventual development of the region’s outer continental shelf and its estimated holdings of some $23-170billion of energy resources. This is part of a broader package of policies intended to generate a balanced compromise between the demand to further leverage America’s rich oil and gas reserves, and the need to protect the nation’s most pristine environments. This package was rolled out, via two announcements, during the last week of January and calls for opening up new areas to oil and gas prospecting whilst closing off others, including a key wilderness area in Alaska. Designating a National Wilderness Area On January the 25th, the White House announced that President Obama would propose that Congress designate 12 million of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge’s (ANWR) and 19 million acres in Alaska, as wilderness. That designation provides the strongest level of federal protection afforded to public lands, and would, in effect, make that territory off-limits to oil and gas development. This would be the largest wilderness designation in the fifty years following the enactment of the Wilderness Act. Created in 1980 by President Jimmy Carter, ANWR is home to a vast array of wildlife, including caribou, grey wolves, musk, oxen and a number of endangered species. It also holds vast reserves of oil and gas, including some 10.36 billion barrels of undiscovered technically recoverable oil, according to estimates of the U.S. Geological Service. Obama’s proposal to designate ANWR a wilderness [...]
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We represent the widely understood Central Europe energy sector (electricity generation, distribution and transmission, renewables, gas, oil, heat generation and distribution, chemical industries, etc.), universities and scientific institutions.