Alaska Delegation Seeks Halt to Additional Offshore Withdrawals

Requests Meeting with President Obama to Ensure Alaskans’ Views are Heard and Respected

Amid growing reports of additional withdrawals that the Obama administration plans to impose in Alaska in its final days in office, Senator Lisa Murkowski, Senator Dan Sullivan, and Congressman Don Young (all R-Alaska) today wrote President Barack Obama urging him to take no further action in Alaska and requesting a meeting to discuss the economic damage his previous decisions are causing in Alaska.

“On behalf of the people we serve, we write to seek an appointment with you to discuss federal land and water management in Alaska. Critically, we request that this meeting occur before you make any additional decisions that will harm our state’s future.”

In their letter, the delegation cited the Obama administration’s record of locking down development in federal areas in Alaska, which harms the state’s economy, undermines the Statehood Compact, and the security and competitiveness of our nation.

“During your time in office, Alaska’s ability to produce energy, minerals, and other resources for the good of the nation has come under direct and sustained assault. Your administration has withdrawn tens of thousands of square miles of our Outer Continental Shelf from energy exploration. You have canceled previously scheduled Arctic lease sales, removed Arctic lease sales that were proposed for the next Five-Year Program, and created a chaotic regulatory environment that appears designed to convince companies to relinquish their existing leases.

“Your administration has also locked away half of the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska, imposed costly and extralegal mitigation requirements on the companies seeking to develop there, sought to turn the Arctic Coastal Plain into de facto wilderness, issued land management plans that replace opportunity with regulatory burden, seized authority to manage wildlife in our national parks and refuges from the State of Alaska, and most recently designated the northern Bering Sea as a “climate resilience area”—a vague term with no legal basis.” 

The delegation urged the president not to impose any further withdrawals in Alaska, and to instead meet with them so they can speak “openly and directly” about the consequences of his actions. The delegation also called out the President’s decision to focus on new development restrictions, while ignoring life-and-death issues in the state.                                         

“These decisions, and others made during your administration, have consistently been executed over our objections, without meaningful consultation, and have drawn widespread opposition from the people we serve. These decisions also come even as life-and-death issues affecting Alaskans – such as the need for a short road for the people of King Cove, who have endured 52 medevacs in the past three years after your administration refused to protect their health and safety – are ignored and unaddressed.”

A copy of the delegation letter is attached.

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