Murkowski Questions Last Minute Administrative Maneuvering by Park Service

U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, this week sent a letter to National Park Service (NPS) Director Jonathan Jarvis requesting an immediate 60-day extension of the public comment period for Director’s Order #100, regarding “Resource Stewardship for the 21st Century”. The Park Service is attempting to finalize this sweeping last-second policy proposal by the end of December, in part by limiting the public comment period to just 30 days.

In her letter, Chairman Murkowski mirrored concerns she has heard from Alaskans and other stakeholders about the new resource management approaches and guidelines contained within Order #100. “Given the breadth and scope of this proposal, I believe that Alaskans, and frankly, all Americans, deserve more time to comment on this issue. There is no need to rush this through at the end of an administration,” she wrote.

“Alaskans have used public lands for hundreds of years before the National Park Service even existed. This order contemplates the NPS looking outside its borders to manage resources, as well as adopting a new, precautionary approach to management. This could have a real impact on Alaskans, and the way we access our public lands—not necessarily in a positive way. We deserve more time for all Alaskans to provide thoughtful input on this matter.”

According to the National Park Service, Order #100 “will increase our ability to fulfill our mission in a century defined by environmental and societal changes that are increasingly widespread, complex, accelerating, and uncertain.” The comment period will close today, Nov. 18, 2016, unless Chairman Murkowski’s request for a 60-day extension is granted. To participate in the public comment period, please visit: https://parkplanning.nps.gov/projectHome.cfm?projectID=65454.

Murkowski is chairman of the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.