Murkowski Urges Greater Tribal Consultation from Administration
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Lisa Murkowski today reminded the Environmental Protection Agency that federal consultation with Alaska Native Tribes is not optional, as she pressed the EPA for greater collaboration with Alaska’s First People in a Senate Committee for Indian Affairs hearing today. She also took the opportunity of the hearing to share the rising threat of coastal erosion being faced by numerous small Alaskan coastal villages.
Senator Murkowski questioned the EPA representative about the agency’s failures to fully engage in tribal consultation as required by law on all issues that impact their communities and shareholders – an issue Murkowski challenged the White House on in June, saying the administration’s policies are failing Alaska Natives. (6/22 letter attached) The witness responded that while she believes the EPA has fulfilled all its legal obligations, she would go back to confirm this fact for Senator Murkowski. Murkowski told her that “it is important that through every step of the process, that everyone involved [in agency actions] has an opportunity to weigh in.”
Senator Murkowski also used her opening remarks to educate those in the hearing about the coastal damage being faced on Alaska’s coastline. “There are a great number of small Alaska coastal villages that are in danger … how we act to provide a level of adaptation to move them, these are significant struggles for us,” said Murkowski. “It is moving people who have lived somewhere for thousands of years, but also the cost is extraordinary.”