Tuesday, June 25, 2013, Anchorage, Alaska – The recent announcement by U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski that she secured $50 million for the cleanup of abandoned oil wells in and around the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska was greeted with applause by Rep. Charisse Millett, R-Anchorage.
“As Alaskans we all want to preserve and protect the arctic wilderness and we can thank Senator Murkowski for her efforts to get the well sites plugged and remediated,” Millett said. “This may be the start of a concerted effort to halt the environmental damage caused by the wells.”
The funds were inserted into an existing piece of legislation by the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. Senator Murkowski is the ranking member of the committee.
Over a 37 year period, the federal government drilled 136 oil exploration wells in NPR-A. Since drilling activity stopped in 1981 only a handful of wells have been plugged according the standards set by the State of Alaska. Wells are leaking oil natural gas and trash and construction debris covers many of the sites.
This year the Alaska Legislature unanimously passed House Joint Resolution 6. It renames the sites “travesty wells” to reflect decades of neglect, poor stewardship and environmental mismanagement by BLM. The governor will sign HJR 6 this week in Anchorage.
Millett created a website dedicated to informing Alaskans about the wells, including photos, videos and supporting documents. Find the site at http://www.housemajority.org/bureau-of-land-management-travesty-wells-in-alaska/.