Delegation Sends Letter to Interior Secretary Salazar Reminding Him of Promise Not to Withdraw Alaska Land without Congressional Approval

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Alaska’s congressional delegation today sent the following letter to Interior Secretary Ken Salazar reminding him of his promise not to designate new wilderness areas in Alaska without the support of the state’s elected representatives.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska: “I want to be unequivocally clear, there is no support from the Alaska delegation or the state of Alaska for any new legislative or administrative wilderness designations.”

Sen. Mark Begich, D-Alaska: “The Alaska delegation is in solid agreement that there’s no need for additional wilderness designations. Any attempt to tinker with the ‘no more’ policy will inevitably run into serious opposition from Alaskans.”

Rep. Don Young, R-Alaska: “I will work with the delegation to do everything in our power to stop the designation of new wilderness areas in Alaska. Doing so would completely disregard the compromises designed in ANILCA, and we will fight it tooth and nail.”

Salazar recently assured members of the delegation that the administration had no plans to violate the “no more” clause of the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act and designate new wilderness or place similar restrictions on the use of public land in Alaska without congressional support. But in press coverage of a speech Salazar delivered last week to the Wilderness Society, the secretary was quoted as saying the administration looked forward to “additional administrative action on Bristol Bay.”

The letter is attached.