JUNEAU, Alaska — Sen. Mark Begich says Alaska needs another set of eyes in Washington D.C. to help streamline development projects back home.
He announced during an address to the state Legislature Tuesday that he's introducing a bill which would create a federal coordinator for outer continental shelf development.
It would be similar to the position held by Larry Persily, who helps coordinate a natural gas pipeline; but with the goal of unlocking vast petroleum reserves in the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas.
"This office would have the authority to work across agencies causing Alaska so much heartburn today," said Begich, who named the EPA, Army Corps of Engineers and Interior Dept.
Offshore development in Alaska has largely been stalled recently by federal permitting delays.
Begich also told lawmakers that math, science and engineering will play a critical role in diversifying Alaska's economy.
He applauded a small number of local companies that are developing highly specialized equipment for the federal government and says the state should not ignore this important source of jobs.