Alaska Delegation Slams President Obama’s Latest Executive Order

Today the Alaska Congressional Delegation spoke out against an Executive Order by President Obama creating a “Northern Bering Sea Climate Resilience Area” for over 112,000 square miles off Alaska’s western coast, in addition to withdrawing 40,300 square miles of federal waters from oil and natural gas leasing.

“This is the first time we have ever seen the term ‘climate resilience area’ in Alaska or anywhere else,” Senator Lisa Murkowski said. “We have no idea what that designation is supposed to mean, what legal authority it is supposed to rest on, what the limitations for it will be, or what it will mean for subsistence, shipping, fishing, and other activities in western and northern Alaska. To me, this sure sounds like a euphemism for a marine monument, because it locks up over 112,000 square miles of Alaska waters and seems destined to impact a wide range of communities, tribes, and industries in our state. While I strongly support meaningful consultation with tribes, this opens the door to a whole host of unknowns, and could easily be misapplied to block even the most responsible Arctic subsistence, activities, and development.” 

“Once again, the Obama administration has used unilateral action to hurt Alaskans. This executive order, drafted behind closed doors, unilaterally closes fishing grounds, removes oil and gas leasing, and creates hurdles to shipping, all with the stroke of a pen—without any consultation with the State, Alaska’s Congressional delegation, or public notice, consultation, or comment,” said Senator Dan Sullivan. “I will work closely with Senator Lisa Murkowski, Congressman Don Young, and the incoming administration to repair the damage done by eight years of the Obama Administration and to restore the ability of Alaskans to determine their economic future and the ways their lands and water will be managed.”

 “Thank God the Obama Administration only has 42 days left in office; we will be working to undo this action come January 20th,” said Congressman Don Young. “This is just another example of federal agencies attempting to exert their authority over the Alaskan and American people. Not only does this leave me extremely worried about future economic activity in the region, including fisheries, I see it as a backdoor attempt to limit certain activities north of the Bering Strait – like future resource development. We’ve already seen a costly and overly prescriptive regulatory regime for the Arctic, and this action leaves the door wide open for even more roadblocks and hurdles. Even worse, I’ve already heard from many in the Alaska Native community that this came as a complete surprise – a total contradiction to the President’s own policy on consultation. As President Obama attempts to solidify his legacy as an extreme environmentalist, it’s clear he has very little respect for the Alaskan people and our economic future.”

More information on this announcement can be found by clicking here.