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Mat-Su Legislators Respond to Salazar’s Announcement

Tuesday, August 20, 2012, Wasilla, Alaska - Representative Bill Stoltze, Senator Charlie Huggins and members of the Mat-Su Legislative Delegation sent a letter today to Governor Sean Parnell asking him to direct Attorney General Michael Geraghty to file an injunction blocking the efforts of the federal government to unilaterally restrict responsible economic growth by converting large portions of the National Petroleum Reserve Alaska (NPR-A) into a wildlife sanctuary.

The letter is in response to U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar’s plan calling for the arbitrary conversion of nearly half the reserve from being open to oil and gas exploration into protected habitat. Salazar made his announcement while on an Alaska visit last week.

“This is the latest in a systemic effort by the federal government to usurp Alaska’s rights as a state, delay development opportunities and inhibit future economic growth in the state,” Sen. Huggins, R-Wasilla, said. “No other state has been subject to such precedent setting overreach by the federal government and its agencies in history as the State of Alaska.”

The plan presented by Secretary Salazar calls for the conversion of as much as 15 million acres of the 23.5 million acres in the reserve, restricti

“This is one more of the growing list of excessive actions by the federal government,” Rep. Stoltze, R-Mat-Su, said. “We are calling on Governor Sean Parnell and his administration to take action, as they have in the past, to preserve Alaska’s sovereignty in opposing the Federal Government’s obstruction to the growth and future of the State of Alaska.”

The State of Alaska has taken similar action in the past by filing injunctions to block efforts to preserve the Beluga whale by closing off coastal regions from development via the Endangered Species Act, and placing unwarranted restrictions and permitting delays on building a bridge over the Colville River to provided needed access to the oil and gas reserves.

The letter was signed by Sen. Huggins and Reps. Bill Stoltze, Shelley Hughes, Wes Keller and Mark Neuman.

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