Sen. Murkowski: EPA’s Troubling Policy and Budget Priorities are Harmful to Alaska

Agency Needs to Listen to the Concerns of People Across America

U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, today challenged the head of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to justify the agency’s efforts to expand its regulatory reach through its Waters of the United States and power plant proposals, despite the potential economic consequences for Alaska and the rest of the nation.

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Murkowski, chairman of the Senate Appropriations Interior and Environment Subcommittee, criticized the EPA’s proposed Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule, telling EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy she was extremely concerned that the proposed expansion of the rule could have devastating impacts on a state like Alaska, where 63 percent of all wetlands in the United States exist.

“The EPA’s proposed WOTUS rule could lead to a situation where development of any kind is next to impossible. Folks back home in Alaska are scared to death about what we may see with the application of this rule,” Murkowski said during Wednesday’s hearing on the EPA’s budget proposal. “Roughly two-thirds of Alaska is already considered wetlands and this proposal has the potential to subject almost any type of project to onerous regulations. This is a potential showstopper for Alaska.”

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Murkowski also grilled McCarthy on the agency’s plans to impose stricter environmental regulations on existing power plants. Murkowski said the one-size-fits-all proposal would not work in a sparsely populated state like Alaska and she urged McCarthy to provide Alaska with an exemption.

“I am particularly concerned about the EPA’s treatment of Alaska under its Clean Power Plan. There is no level of flexibility that will make a proposal like this work in a state like Alaska,” Murkowski said. “Not only has the EPA failed to present a clear rationale supporting the application of this proposal in Alaska, it failed to even evaluate the impacts on my state.”

Click here to view Chairman Murkowski’s opening statement and here for more information on today’s hearing.