ANCHORAGE, Alaska (CN) – Alaska’s governor claims the Secretary of the Interior’s moratorium on offshore drilling violated his state’s sovereignty, and could wreak massive economic damage on Alaska. Gov. Sean Parnell, a Republican, claims Alaska’s offshore drilling is in shallow water, and not susceptible to the sort of catastrophe set off by the Deepwater Horizon disaster, which prompted the moratorium.
Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced on Sept. 3 “that there is a moratorium on drilling in the Arctic,” according to the federal complaint.
Parnell calls the order arbitrary and capricious, and says it could cost the state threaten “6,000 direct and 35,000 indirect jobs” over the next 50 years, and billions of dollars in royalties. The governor claims the moratorium allows 27 billion barrels of oil and 132 trillion cubic feet of natural gas to sit untapped off the Alaskan coast.
“(U)nlike the written moratoria for the Gulf of Mexico and Pacific regions, defendants have not issued a final, appealable decision on a moratorium for the Alaska region,” according to the complaint. “Nor have defendants issued any findings, analysis, or explanation to support such a moratorium. Moreover, defendants failed to give the State of Alaska or Governor Parnell notice or an opportunity to participate in the moratorium decision, as required by federal law. And to the extent the deepwater moratorium applies to the Alaska region, that decision is arbitrary and capricious for failing to address the Alaska region, reasons for imposing a moratorium on the Alaska region, or the potential effects on Alaska, including economic harm.”
Parnell seeks writ of mandamus; he wants the moratorium reviewed and enjoined.