Alaska Governor: Arctic Drilling ‘Will Happen’

Alaska Governor: Arctic Drilling ‘Will Happen’ Alaska Governor: Arctic Drilling ‘Will Happen’

After a tour of a Shell drilling rig in Seattle, Alaska Gov. Bill Walker said oil is the lifeblood of the state's economy and arctic drilling "will happen.", UPI reported.

Walker toured the Polar Pioneer drilling rig parked at the Port of Seattle before meeting with Washington Gov. Jay Inslee to discuss Shell's plans for the arctic waters off the Alaskan coast.

"Responsible offshore drilling in the Arctic will have significant economic impacts in Alaska, and I am encouraged by the advancements I saw today," Walker said in a statement.

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray expressed opposition to Shell's lease for a port terminal for use for its drilling plans offshore Alaska. With federal approval in hand, Shell said it may start its drilling campaign as early as this summer.

Dubbed the Paddle in Seattle, organizers in mid-May protested Shell's use of Seattle port facilities for a staging ground for its drilling operations planned for the Chukchi Sea off the coast of Alaska.

Walker said he understands the concerns over Arctic drilling.

"As our state faces a $3.5 billion deficit, with an oil pipeline that is three-quarters empty, we can't turn away such a significant economic opportunity," he said. "Offshore drilling in the Arctic will happen."