Sen. Murkowski Holds Hearing to Receive Testimony on Alaska Bills

Focuses on Refilling TAPS, AMHT Land Exchange, Reforms to Monument Designations, Life-Saving Road for King Cove, and More

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, today received testimony on 21 measures that are broadly focused on public lands, natural hazards, conservation, and reforms to the monument designation process during a legislative hearing she called as Chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

In her opening statement, Murkowski highlighted six bills that she has introduced, each addressing issues of importance to Alaskans.

“I am proud to speak on behalf of the vast majority of Alaskans when I say that these bills are critical to our economy and to our future.  They will open up new economic opportunities, restore balance between Congress and the executive branch, protect us from natural hazards, and honor our fallen military heroes,” Murkowski said.

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The bills introduced by Murkowski that were heard today are:

  • S. 437, the Improved National Monument Designation Process Act;
  • S. 2056, the National Volcano Early Warning and Monitoring System Act;
  • S. 3203, the Alaska Economic Development and Access to Resources Act;
  • S. 3204, the King Cove Road Land Exchange Act;
  • S. 3273, the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Improvement Act of 2016; and
  • S. 3315, the Second Division Memorial Modification Act.

During the hearing, Murkowski voiced her strong concerns about the vast amount of acreage – both onshore and offshore – that President Obama has designated as National Monuments.

“When you look at what has come out of this administration, President Obama has clearly proclaimed the most acreage, nearly 553 million acres, both on land and at sea,” Murkowski said, while noting that President Franklin Roosevelt designated just 2.8 million acres of monuments. “The Antiquities Act was designed to reserve the smallest area compatible with the proper care and management of the objects to be protected…There is real impact on the livelihoods of those who live near the designated areas.”

In her final round of questions, Murkowski pressed the Director of the Bureau of Land Management, Neil Kornze, about the importance of providing the community of King Cove, Alaska with reliable access to emergency medical care.

“I know what is happening. This administration is just running the clock. They are running the clock and they will be able to wash their hands of it,” Murkowski said. “But in the meantime, as of today, 52 different Alaskans—infants and elders—have suffered, and this is absolutely unacceptable. So the message that you need to take back to the Secretary [of the Interior] and the President is that on their watch, people have been living in fear and trepidation, pain and suffering that could have been addressed. It is inexcusable—and I am not backing down on this.”

Murkowski is chairman of the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. An archived video and witness testimony from today’s hearing are available on the committee’s website.