Senate Unanimously Approves Murkowski’s Major Lands and Water Package for Energy Bill
Washington, D.C. – On Tuesday, the U.S. Senate unanimously approved two amendments offered by Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) to her broad, bipartisan energy bill. The first, to provide needed flexibility to the Alaska gasline project, passed the Senate by voice vote. The second, to add a resources title composed of 30 lands and water bills to the underlying bill, later passed by a roll call vote of 97 to 0.
“With the passage of these amendments, a bill that was already very good from Alaska’s perspective just became even better. I’m pleased the Senate has overwhelmingly agreed to provide needed flexibility to the Alaska gasline project, open up greater access to federal lands for our sportsmen, and boost multiple hydropower projects in our state,” Murkowski said. “We have also recognized the legacy of a great Alaskan – former Governor Jay Hammond.”
Murkowski, as chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, worked with her Senate colleagues to ensure the inclusion of the amendments in her broad, bipartisan energy bill, the Energy Policy Modernization Act of 2016.
Murkowski Amendment #3308, related to the Alaska gasline, would broaden the right-of-way adopted in the Denali National Park Improvement Act and provide more routing flexibility for the project during the approval process. Its adoption comes as Murkowski continues to work to ensure that the project faces no hurdles or delays at the federal level.
Murkowski-Cantwell Amendment #3234, the resources title that Murkowski co-authored with Senator Maria Cantwell of Washington state, includes provisions to:
- Establish a new national policy for federal agencies to expand and enhance sportsmen’s opportunities on federal lands;
- Make “open unless closed” the standard for access to Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management lands throughout the United States, including in Alaska;
- Authorize the expansion of the Terror Lake hydroelectric project in Kodiak, which will allow Kodiak and the largest Coast Guard base in the United States to continue to utilize reliable, emissions-free energy;
- Authorize a stay of the hydroelectric license for Mahoney Lake in Ketchikan, which will allow the Southeast Alaska Power Association (SEAPA) to consider this renewable project for up to ten additional years. If the stay is lifted within that time frame, the licensees have an additional six years to begin construction of the hydroelectric project.; and
- Rename 2.6 million acres of existing wilderness at the Lake Clark National Park and Preserve after Alaska’s fourth Governor, Jay S. Hammond.
The Senate also unanimously approved Sullivan Amendment #3310, offered by Senator Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska), which grants up to 25.8 additional acres of land conveyances at the existing Swan Lake hydro project, 22 miles north of Ketchikan.
The Senate is scheduled to vote on final passage of S. 2012, the Energy Policy Modernization Act, at 10:00 am Wednesday morning.