Murkowski Presses Admin. on Misguided, Vague Mitigation Policy

Questions Whether Mitigation Policy Prioritizes Conservation over Development

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, yesterday sent a letter to Dan Ashe, Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), calling on the agency to withdraw its proposed policy on mitigation, which attempts to implement a Presidential Memorandum on mitigation  released in November 2015.

In her letter, Murkowski echoes concerns she raised during a hearing that she held on the Presidential Memorandum in March 2016, noting a paradigm shift from mitigation to net conservation gain and lack of clarity by the administration. Murkowski also strongly urged the Service to exempt Alaska from the proposed policy.

“Implementation of the proposed policy without fundamental changes could have devastating impacts on the livelihoods of many Alaskans,” Murkowski wrote in her letter. “Mitigation is a very complex principle. Implementing mitigation presents potentially innumerable variables, and requires thoughtful development and application across a spectrum of interests.”

Murkowski, chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, concludes the letter by asking the Service to re-engage with states, federal agencies, and the public to develop a policy that is clearer and more balanced and allows various mitigation efforts to work in parallel.

Murkowski has long raised questions about the Presidential Memorandum entitled “Mitigating Impacts on Natural Resources from Development and Encouraging Related Private Investment in Mitigation.” In March 2016, Murkowski questioned the administration on the mitigation memorandum and concluded that it has only led to more confusion and mistrust.

Monday’s letter, sent by Murkowski, came as the Service closed its comment period on the rule and is the latest in her efforts to halt the administration’s efforts to stop safe and responsible development in Alaska and across the nation.