Just in Time for Thanksgiving, FWS Releases Absolute Turkey of a Mitigation Policy

U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, today criticized the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) for finalizing a new, revised mitigation policy that will make development more difficult and more expensive throughout the nation, including in Alaska.

“I oppose this mitigation policy, as well as the presidential memorandum, which is its foundation. I am seriously concerned about the economic consequences that will result from the excessive requirements being forced through in the waning days of this administration,” Murkowski said. “I asked the Service to halt this effort earlier this year, but the agency has instead plowed ahead while ignoring the perspectives and needs of Alaskan stakeholders.”

The Service’s final revised mitigation policy, issued on Monday, was driven by a presidential memorandum released on November 3, 2015. That memorandum imposed a significant shift from “mitigation” to “net conservation gain” and is now creating a confusing, conflicting and generally burdensome web of new policy directives from federal agencies. 

Murkowski, chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, has been a vocal opponent of the Obama administration’s efforts to use mitigation as a tool to stop development. In February, she sent a bipartisan letter with 18 of her colleagues raising concerns about the impacts of the presidential memorandum. In March, she held a full committee oversight hearing on the subject, and in June requested that the Service withdraw its draft proposed revisions.