Murkowski Blasts EPA on Harmful Budget and Policy Priorities

Agency Needs to Listen to the Concerns of People Across America

Senator Lisa Murkowski today pressed Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy about what she and Alaskans consider clear examples of federal government overreach the EPA is engaged in – from its power plant guidelines to the economic “show stopper” presented by the Waters of the United States policy.  Towards the close of the lengthy Interior Appropriations Subcommittee hearing, Murkowski blasted the EPA on the sheer lack of common sense and understanding of the harmful impacts their rules and policies have on average Alaskan workers.

(Murkowski spells out harmful Alaskan impacts of WOTUS rule – Click image for excerpt.)

Murkowski, chairman of the Senate Appropriations Interior and Environment Subcommittee, criticized the EPA’s proposed Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule, telling EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy she was extremely concerned that the proposed expansion of the rule could have devastating impacts on a state like Alaska, which has 63 percent all wetlands in the United States.

“The EPA’s proposed WOTUS rule could lead to a situation where development of any kind is next to impossible. Folks back home in Alaska are scared to death about what we may see with the application of this rule,” Murkowski said during Wednesday’s hearing on the EPA’s budget proposal. “Roughly two-thirds of Alaska is already considered wetlands and this proposal has the potential to subject almost any type of project to onerous regulations. This is a potential showstopper for Alaska.”

(Murkowski presses McCarthy on Clean Power Plan policy – click to view excerpt.)

Murkowski also grilled McCarthy on the agency’s plans to impose stricter environmental regulations on existing power plants. Murkowski said the one-size-fits-all proposal would not work in a sparsely populated state like Alaska and she urged McCarthy to provide Alaska with an exemption.

“I am particularly concerned about the EPA’s treatment of Alaska under its Clean Power Plan. There is no level of flexibility that will make a proposal like this work in a state like Alaska,” Murkowski said. “Not only has the EPA failed to present a clear rationale supporting the application of this proposal in Alaska, it failed to even evaluate the impacts on my state.”

(Murkowski lays out Alaskans’ wide-ranging frustration, derides EPA ‘disconnect’ – Click to view.)

Senator Murkowski saved her strongest language and most emphatic points for last, however, as she channeled the frustrations of Alaskans towards the ‘confounding’ and costly EPA regulations that she and her committee colleagues hear about from constituents:

“I hope you are truly listening to the concerns being shared here.  No one is saying that we don’t care about the air or water.  We do care.  But we need the ability to provide for our livelihoods.  You get pretty grubby as a placer miner or a coal miner, but it’s good honest work for these people and their families – and they want to be there for clean air and clean water but they need the federal government to work with them….

“I implore you: Listen to the people across the country on these issues that are so critical and important to them.  We want to work with you, but we hear from people saying ‘Stop the EPA cold. Stop it cold in its tracks.’ There’s got to be a path forward, but you have to understand where the people are coming from on this.”