Murkowski Fights Federal Overreach Through Appropriations Work

Interior Bill Fights EPA, Anti-Development “Mission Creep” Through Funding Control, Policy Bans

Today’s Interior Appropriations bill showcases a number of victories for the Alaskan economy through what Senator Lisa Murkowski was able to negotiate as Ranking Republican on the Interior Appropriations Subcommittee – notably through what potentially harmful regulatory provisions she was able to keep out of the bill.

“The biggest challenge we face in Alaska is the inability to access and develop our abundant natural resources. Without access our economy is hobbled – and the federal government, which controls more than 60 percent of Alaska, is the single biggest impediment to our economic prosperity,” Murkowski said. “Because of my senior position on the Interior appropriations committee, I was able to correct regulatory mission creep through the Interior budget bill that would have been harmful for Alaska’s economic development.”

With the Department of the Interior managing a majority of Alaska’s lands, forests and waters, Murkowski leveraged her position to hold back several expansions or new efforts from the federal government:

  • Curbing Environmental Protection Agency Regulatory Expansion – Though the administration’s budget request contained a number of expanded regulatory programs and activities, none of these were endorsed or funded through the Interior budget;
  • Rejecting Extended OCS Review PeriodsThe final negotiated budget bill rejects the Obama Administration proposal to extend the 30-day review period for offshore drilling plans on the Outer Continental Shelf.  (Senator Murkowski successfully removed authority over air emissions in the Arctic OCS from the EPA and transferred it to the Interior Department in 2011 because of over 5 years of delays caused by the EPA’s handling of air permitting approvals. The Department of Interior has authority over oil and gas programs in the Gulf of Mexico);
  • Blocking a New Tax on Development –The Administration attempted to impose a new fee on oil and gas operations on BLM lands. New fees would make drilling on our federal lands more expensive and further drive away investment, so Senator Murkowski was able to have the fee proposal rejected, and
  • Prohibiting New Wild Lands – Senator Murkowski was instrumental in making sure that the administration was not able to implement a controversial Department of Interior Secretarial Order that would designate new special conservation protection areas.