|  November 21, 2014  |  
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Sen. Murkowski: Congressional Approval Needed to Change OSM

WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, today released the following statement regarding Interior Secretary Ken Salazar's order to combine the Office of Surface Mining (OSM) into the Bureau of Land Management (BLM):

"I'm deeply concerned about this proposed unilateral action. If it were simply a consolidation of administrative functions, that is something I could support. According to Interior's release, however, it appears that the proposed merger would be much more extensive and, I believe, would require amending the separate organic acts that established BLM and OSM.

"OSM was specifically established as a separate entity, reporting directly to the Interior Secretary, to protect its independence as a regulatory body. I want to make sure that's protected. The proposed merger of BLM - the entity responsible for leasing - and OSM - the regulatory body - seems to fly in the face of the arguments DOI used to support establishing the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement as an independent entity to regulate offshore oil development, separate from BOEMRE, which handles offshore leasing."

Murkowski is the ranking member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee and the Interior Appropriations Subcommittee.

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