Murkowski Kicks Off Floor Debate on Bipartisan Lands Package
Reflects Wide Range of Lands, Resources, Conservation, and Water Priorities
U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, chairman of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources (ENR), today spoke on the Senate floor to begin debate on S. 47, the Natural Resources Management Act.
This bipartisan package of more than 100 public lands, natural resources, and water bills was reintroduced by Murkowski and former ENR Ranking Member Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., in January 2019. Yesterday, Murkowski, Cantwell, and ENR Ranking Member Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., secured an overwhelmingly bipartisan vote of 99-1 to take up the package on the Senate floor.
Click photo for video of Murkowski’s floor speech
Below are excerpts from Murkowski’s floor speech:
“This package is the result of multiple years of regular order process in the committees of jurisdiction, most notably the Energy and Natural Resources Committee. It is the result of months of intense bicameral negotiations with now-Chairman Raul Grijalva and now-Ranking Member Rob Bishop of the House Natural Resources Committee.
“It’s important that this bill – this package – become law in the near future. It provides new opportunities for economic development through land conveyances and exchanges. It expands and enhances access for our sportsmen and women on federal lands for hunting, fishing, and other outdoor recreation activities. And it features provisions related to western water management, National Park units, and other federal lands administered by the Bureau of Land Management and the Forest Service.
“This is also a good package for Alaska. It upholds our promises to Alaska Natives who served during the Vietnam War, but who never received the land allotments promised to them by the federal government. It provides routing flexibility for our proposed natural gas pipeline. And it creates new economic opportunities for communities like Kake and Utqia?vik.
“We have an excellent package in front of us. It’s time for us to pass it. It’s time to show our strong support, send it on to the House of Representatives, and then to the president’s desk.”
Click here to watch video of Murkowski’s floor speech.
The lands package contains provisions sponsored by 50 Senators and cosponsored by nearly 90 Senators in the 115th Congress. Those include measures to:
- Permanently reauthorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund, with key reforms to strengthen its state-side programs;
- Increase access and opportunities for sports men and women for hunting, fishing, and other outdoor recreational activities on federal lands;
- Provide for economic development in dozens of communities through land exchanges and conveyances; and
- Conserve lands of special importance, provided that such protections are supported by the affected state and surrounding communities.
The bills in this package have undergone extensive public review in the House, the Senate, or both. The majority of the measures have passed one chamber. Numerous groups, including local and tribal governments, as well as national, regional, and local associations that represent travel, hunting, fishing, wildlife conservation, and outdoor recreation industries, support the package or specific provisions within it.