Murkowski Aims to Boost Prosperity in Alaska

Unveils Economic Development Package Reflecting State Priorities

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, has introduced new legislation that will significantly increase economic growth and create thousands of new jobs in Alaska while establishing vital revenue sources for the state and local governments. The measure, entitled the Alaska Economic Development and Access to Resources Act, reflects Murkowski’s continued efforts to overcome federal resistance to responsible natural resource production in her home state. 

“Alaska has a wide array of world-class energy, mineral, and timber resources that can be responsibly harnessed to fuel economic growth, fiscal stability, and long-term prosperity for our state and nation,” Murkowski said. “Unfortunately, the federal government is working tirelessly to keep our resources locked up, so a new legislative push is needed to ensure that Alaska is finally allowed to realize its full potential.”

The bill, S. 3203, will:                

Allow Reasonable Access to Federal Lands and Waters

  • Authorizes surface development of roughly 0.01 percent of the non-wilderness portion of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
  • Requires annual lease sales in the northeast portion of the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska.
  • Adds two lease sales for each of the Beaufort, Chukchi, and Cook Inlet basins to the Department of the Interior’s Five-Year Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Leasing Program for 2017-2022.
  • Extends Alaska OCS lease terms to allow credit for months of the year when operations are not permitted.

Ensure “No More Means No More”

  • Clarifies existing law to prevent federal land designations that were meant to be forbidden by the Alaska National Interest Lands and Conservation Act (ANILCA).
  • Requires that all land designations in Alaska that limit activities currently allowed shall have no effect unless approved by Congress within one year.
  • Revokes all Areas of Critical Environmental Concern in Alaska. 

Promote Mining and Protect Miners 

  • Prioritizes extraction and purification technologies for rare earth elements, which will boost the viability of Alaska projects and pave the way for the U.S. to become an innovative leader in these key processes.
  • Amends existing law to prevent anti-mining bureaucrats from blocking valid existing mining claims on federal land.

Restore the Forest Industry 

  • Exempts Alaska from the Roadless Rule, which has eliminated economic access to more than 90 percent of the nation’s largest national forest, the Tongass.
  • Improves timber land holdings of the Alaska Mental Health Trust to allow the beneficiaries of that trust to benefit from revived economic activity.
  • Authorizes the creation of an up to two million acre State Forest to preserve a viable timber sector in Southeast Alaska.

Murkowski’s legislation also holds the Department of the Interior accountable by requiring the Secretary to create a plan to add 500,000 barrels of new oil per day to the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System (TAPS) within a decade. This will help ensure that TAPS – a critical national security asset that provides energy to West Coast states – remains economically viable.    

“Whether at our field hearing in Fairbanks or elsewhere, Alaskans provided many of the ideas we need to reverse the federal bureaucracy’s attempts to block the development of our resources,” Murkowski said. “We have a choice. We can either import the resources we rely on from foreign countries, or we can produce the energy, minerals, and timber we need here at home – while employing thousands more Alaskans and setting our state on a stable trajectory for decades to come.”                                                                                                      

Murkowski is chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. A summary of the Alaska Economic Development and Access to Resources Act is available on the committee website

Related Issues: Energy