Murkowski Speaks About Western Wildfires, Bill to Assist Alaska Native Elders

U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, today attended and briefly spoke at a subcommittee hearing held by the Energy and Natural Resources Subcommittee on Public Lands, Forests, and Mining (PLFM). Murkowski spoke about the western wildfire crisis and S. 2533, a bill she introduced to help ensure Alaska Native elders are not disqualified from receiving food assistance and other federal benefits.

“I want to share my thoughts, prayers, and sincere hopes for rain and recovery for so many who are facing the horrendous wildfires out west,” Murkowski said. “Right now, there are thousands of men and women working to fight these devastating fires. The brave individuals on the front lines are putting their lives at risk morning, noon, and night—in the midst of a pandemic, no less.”

Today’s PLFM subcommittee hearing focused on receiving testimony on 15 bills, including S. 4431, the Emergency Wildfire and Public Safety Act introduced by Senator Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., and ENR committee member Steve Daines, R-Mont. 

Murkowski’s bill, S. 2533, would exclude settlement trusts from being considered when determining Alaska Native elders’ eligibility for federal aid.

“These trusts are an important source of support for many elders living in remote, rural Alaska, but they do not at all displace the need for federal support that combats the poverty and healthcare challenges their communities face,” Murkowski said.

Murkowski is Chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

An archived video and witness testimony from today’s hearing are available on the committee’s website.

Related Issues: Energy