Alaska Gov. Sean Parnell, a Republican, announced the plan on Thursday by teleconference at a Washington press conference held in conjunction with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. It would allow the state to start allowing drilling in the Beaufort and Chukchi seas, up to three miles off the federally protected regions of ANWR and the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska, bypassing the need for federal permission. It also appears calculated to ramp up political pressure on the administration to allow new drilling on the contested federal lands and waters.
Parnell said he intends to use this move to encourage other coastal states to expand drilling.
“We’re setting an example for what other states can do. Much of Alaska’s promising lands are under federal control. We need America’s help to spur production.”