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ANWR Resolution Voices Legislature's Opposition to Lock Up the Oil & Gas Rick Coastal Plain


February 01, 2015
Sunday PM

(SitNews) Juneau, Alaska - Alaska House Resources Co-Chair Ben Nageak (D-Barrow), backed by Majority Caucus leadership, introduced a resolution, House Joint Resolution 10, directly opposing the Obama administration’s latest attempt to break Alaska’s statehood promise, and the “no more land” promise within the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA).

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The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service has introduced a new draft Comprehensive Conservation Plan to turn more than 12 million acres of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) into Wilderness, effectively ending any chance the lands can be managed for oil and gas exploration and development, including the 1002 area on the Coastal Plain, which was specifically set aside for such purposes.

“Locking up the Coastal Plain of ANWR will continue the decades of harm the federal government has perpetrated on my people and our state,” said Nageak, D-Barrow. “When ANILCA created the Refuge, the government promised no more land selections. We, the Inupiat on the North Slope, and Alaskans, need access to our lands, as promised in ANILCA and at statehood. How can we build a future for our grandchildren and their children without the billions of barrels of oil and economic opportunity that would create? We have lived off that land since before recorded history and have cared for it better than the federal government. We are true environmentalists, not Big Environment businesses or lobbyists. We know what’s there – President Obama and Interior Secretary Jewell obviously don’t.”

The resolution introduced on January 28th, in addition to stating the Legislature’s vehement opposition to the comprehensive plan, calls on all members of the Congress to reject any proposal that doesn’t explicitly open the coastal plain.

“The president’s proposal is a huge slap in the face – a president and cabinet willfully flouting carefully negotiated and culturally sensitive issues. We’re used to federal meddling in our lands, but not like this,” said Alaska Speaker of the House Mike Chenault, R-Nikiski. “What an awful message to send to the Inupiat people, industry, citizens of our state – and Americans. Congress must reject the new plan, and work with us to finally open the 1002. We need the revenue and the resource – for the entire country; we need the federal government to honor its promises.”

The area outlined for exploration and drilling activity is similar in size to Reagan National Airport in Washington, D.C., and accounts for less than one-tenth of 1 percent of the coastal plain. “ANWR is a 105 million acre refuge; the area scoped for work represents a pin-prick on a map. That’s it,” said Nageak. “I was born in ANWR. I can’t work and subsist there. My birth home in Kaktovik is no longer there due to erosion; we cannot access those lands anyway, and now the federal government is saying ‘too bad, too late.’ Why not feed America’s pipeline, in TAPS? Why allow Canadian and Saudi oil to flood into our country when we have more, here, on land? Let us build our state and contribute to the national and energy security.”

HJR10 was referred to the House Resources Committee.

Edited by Mary Kauffman, SitNews



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SitNews - January 28, 2015



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