Sen. Murkowski: Roadless Ruling Hurts Alaska

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, today released the following statement regarding the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that upheld the Clinton-era Roadless Rule prohibiting most economic activity in nearly 50 million acres of national forests.

“I am disappointed in the court’s ruling. The roadless rule never made sense for Southeast Alaska, where 98 percent of the land is federally owned. Previous agreements with the federal government recognized that fact and successive administrations have promised to strengthen and diversify the economy of Southeast, but have instead placed greater restraints on any economic use of federal lands.

“This decision will further strangle the economic opportunities in Southeast Alaska and throughout the West. Congress may need to intercede to put America back on track to a more balanced and rational approach for managing our federal lands.”

Murkowski is the ranking member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee and the Interior Appropriations Subcommittee, both of which have jurisdiction over the Interior Department and the U.S. Forest Service.

Murkowski has co-sponsored two bills that would exempt Alaska from the roadless rule –

the Wilderness and Roadless Area Release Act of 2011 (S.1087) by Sen. John Barrasso, R-WY, and S.1357 by Sen. Mark Begich, D-AK.