Legislature Delivers Strong Message To Federal Government
Members express concerns over recent and past federal overreach
Monday, February 16, 2015, Kotzebue, Alaska Today, a nine-member delegation delivered a very strong message to the Federal Government: “Alaskans are fed up with federal intrusion and we want to restore balance between State and Federal powers, especially when it comes to resource development and creating strong schools, jobs and infrastructure for the people of Alaska.” The meeting preceded the Winter Leadership Retreat of the Alaska Federation of Natives which is set to take place tomorrow.
Senate President Kevin Meyer, R-Anchorage, and Speaker of the House Mike Chenault, R-Nikiski, were joined by Senators Charlie Huggins, R-Wasilla, Lyman Hoffman, D-Bethel, Donny Olson, D-Golovin, and Mike Dunleavy, R-The Valleys, and Representatives Craig Johnson, R-Anchorage, Charisse Millett, R-Anchorage, and Bob Herron, D-Bethel, to meet with Interior Secretary Sally Jewell in Kotzebue.
“Recent actions have shown the federal government is out of control, plain and simple,” Meyer said. “What they are doing here in Alaska should serve as a warning to all other states in our great nation; it will not stop at our borders. Alaskans want to contribute to our nation, but the federal government is handcuffing us and tying up our resources.”
“Echoing Senator Murkowski’s remarks, Alaska’s sovereignty is under attack,” Chenault said. “Actions by the federal government continue to impede our right to develop our resources on our land. This meeting with Secretary Jewell allows us to continue the conversation that we started years ago. The Legislature sends resolutions to her office on a yearly basis, many of which pass with unanimous support, yet she continues to ignore the wishes of the people.”
“It makes no political or economic sense to lock up our resources and let Russia, China or the Middle East run the show by forcing us to import our resources just so Alaska can remain one giant National Park,” Dunleavy said. “If you care about the environment, you know the United States has some of the most stringent development standards in the world. As a nation, we can develop under those standards while providing energy security for all Americans. A strong Alaska is a strong America.”
“Alaska is the only reason the United States is an Arctic nation,” Herron, who Co-Chaired the Alaska Arctic Policy Commission, said. “The House passed a bill Friday creating a comprehensive plan for Arctic Policy on which the bedrock is responsible development. We have spent years carefully studying how to unlock the resources without leaving a footprint.”
“We are fighting for people, not causes,” Olson said. “Our people need affordable energy and jobs to support their families, and our children need a strong education. Our people have lived here for thousands of years. We have taken care of Alaska’s lands, resources, polar bears and whales. We know how to co-exist and develop without hurting the very things which are the reason we love to call Alaska home.”
“The recent federal incursions, such as the decisions on ANWR and offshore oil and gas development, are unacceptable,” Millett said. “We have been fighting these intrusions for decades. The federal government has not only overstepped its bounds on agreements with the state over development on federal lands, but now they are reaching into our pockets and starting to take away rights on what are clearly state lands.”
“This is getting to the point where dialogue and litigation appear to be futile,” Meyer said. “We are seriously considering what our next step should be.”