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Governor Meets with Interior Secretary Norton
Discusses development, access issues


January 06, 2005

Washington - Alaska Governor Frank H. Murkowski met Tuesday with Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton to discuss a variety of issues significant to Alaska.

"The Interior Department controls vast areas of Alaska and thus impacts the lives of Alaskans," said the governor after the meeting. "I am gratified by the secretary's openness to resolving conflicts and to working cooperatively on issues affecting us all. I am committed to protecting the rights of Alaskans, and I am glad to have a secretary in Washington willing to listen."

In the meeting, the secretary and the governor agreed to work together and with members of Congress to seek legislation authorizing oil development in the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. The governor also provided an update on Alaska's progress to date on the development of a natural gas pipeline and expressed his frustration about impediments to further oil development in the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge.

"Alaska can make a great contribution to the nation through its oil and gas reserves - and provide jobs and a hopeful future for Alaskans," Murkowski said. "We will continue to work with the Interior Department on these critical energy issues."

The governor took the opportunity to stress the importance of access and development issues. He expressed his intention to the secretary to pursue three RS 2477 rights of way previously identified by the state Department of Natural Resources. The three rights of way are Coldfoot-Chandalar Lake Trail, Wiseman-Chandalar Trail and Caro-Coldfoot Trail. Governor Murkowski also informed the secretary of his desire for state ferry entries into Glacier Bay.

Murkowski took the USFWS to task for their misapplication of the compatibility test to refuges in Alaska, hindering potential development. The USFWS requires that a proposed activity "enhance" refuge purposes rather than utilizing ANILCA's standard of "compatibility" with refuge purposes.

Finally, the governor's and secretary's staffs provided an update of the first meeting between the state and the Bureau of Land Management concerning the possibility of further state land selections in the Trans-Alaska pipeline corridor. The state is awaiting BLM's written response to the state's map and supporting materials.

Source of News:

Office of the Governor
Web Site



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