To Drill or Not to Drill http://bit.ly/NzM7Su MURKOWSKI SAYS SHELL DRILLING PLANS DIMMER: Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) said yesterday the wait for a final Interior permit and the challenges of excessive sea ice has downgraded Shell’s expectations for exploring the Arctic this year. ‘If it means that they have to do less, I think they have accepted the fact that they will have to do less,’ she told reporters. ‘If conditions don’t allow, they will not risk it.’ Shell estimates it take about 30 days to do an exploratory well, she said. The company’s request to EPA to modify the company’s air permits also is ‘clearly a wrinkle that is out there,’ she added. NATURAL RESOURCES MARKS UP DRILL BILL: The House Natural Resources Committee will mark up Chairman Doc Hastings’s (R-Wash.) five-year drilling plan countering the administration’s version. The Hastings plan would schedule dozens of lease sales in the Gulf of Mexico and off the coasts of Virginia, Alaska and southern California. Chances of passing the House? All but certain. Chances of moving in the Senate? Zilch, at least while Democrats are in control. The markup’s at 10 a.m. in Longworth 1324. OCEAN INDUSTRIES GROUP CHEERLEADS FOR BILL: The National Ocean Industries Association sent Hastings a letter yesterday encouraging him on his plan. “We believe unlocking access to new areas of the OCS will result in significantly important economic benefits to the industry and to the public,” NOIA wrote: http://bit.ly/Q3econ

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