Murkowski Convenes Alaska Infrastructure Hearing

Highlights Opportunities for Resource Development to Create Jobs, Reduce Cost of Living

U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, yesterday held the committee’s fourth infrastructure hearing to examine the potential for infrastructure improvements that boost energy and mineral development in Alaska. The hearing focused on the positive impacts infrastructure would have on the state, including job creation and lower energy costs for Alaskans.

“While yesterday we looked back to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Cession to purchase Alaska from Russia, it is important that we also keep our eyes on the future,” Murkowski said. “Our state is a producing state, one with diverse and abundant natural resources. As such, Alaskans have and continue to remain committed to contributing to the prosperity and security of the nation.”

In her opening statement, Murkowski spoke to the remarkable quantity and diversity of natural resources in Alaska, including oil, natural gas, coal, methane hydrates, renewables, hardrock minerals, and timber.

“I bring all of this up not to recite a litany, but to demonstrate that Alaska has always been a resource producing state,” Murkowski said. “That was the promise we received at statehood and many times since then. Responsible resource production was how we would become a steady member of our Union, how we would build our economy, and how we would sustain ourselves across generations.”

Murkowski also spoke to the challenges the state has experienced when seeking to develop resources in federal areas.

“In recent years, access to federal lands and waters has become an issue that threatens our future,” Murkowski said. “We have endured years of seeing our lands and waters—our best opportunities for economic development—systematically locked down. But I think that we have an opportunity in this new administration. Even in the depths of an economic recession that we are clearly seeing now, I think we have good reason to be optimistic.”

Throughout the hearing, witnesses emphasized the need to develop the state’s vast and diverse natural resources, from oil and gas to minerals and renewables; the importance of roads and other infrastructure that the rest of the country often takes for granted; the capital costs of projects in remote parts of the state; the importance of expanding and building new ports; and the urgency to authorize a life-saving road for King Cove.

“Renewable energy is another hallmark of Alaska,” Murkowski said. “We have hydropower, wind, solar, geothermal, ocean energy, biomass, and every other renewable resource you can think of. Many of our remote communities are pioneering in these areas, and it is good for our state to be recognized as a leader in clean energy innovation.”

The committee received testimony from six Alaskans: Steve Masterman, the Alaska State Geologist; Bob Potrzuski, the Deputy Mayor of Sitka; Joy Baker, the Executive Director of the Port of Nome; Kara Moriarty, the Executive Director of the Alaska Oil and Gas Association; Chris Rose, the Executive Director of Renewable Energy Alaska Project; and Della Trumble, Business Manager for the King Cove Native Corporation.

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