Group plans to discuss recent federal decisions regarding ANWR and OCS with Secretary Jewell at AFN
February 07, 2015
(SitNews) - A delegation of Alaska State Senators will travel to Kotzebue later this month to meet Interior Secretary Sally Jewell for her visit to Kotzebue and surrounding villages. Senate President Kevin Meyer along with Senators Charlie Huggins, Mike Dunleavy, Donny Olson, and Lyman Hoffman have requested meetings with Secretary Jewell about the recent decisions to designate more of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) as wilderness and put wide swaths of the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas off-limits to offshore oil and gas drilling.
“The Federal Government is breaking promises made to the people of Alaska at Statehood and under ANILCA. These decisions will impede our state from responsibly developing our natural resources – resources that provide Alaskans with quality, high-paying jobs, resources that ensure communities have access to affordable energy, and resources that will lead to energy independence for our nation,” said Senator Meyer. “We hope by meeting with Secretary Jewell we can show her Alaska is not one giant national park. We are a state that’s trying to better the lives of our citizens and we deserve the same rights as those granted to the other 49 states.”
Secretary Jewell announced last month she planned to visit Kotzebue to attend the Alaska Federation of Natives (AFN) winter board retreat. She also said the trip would include visiting villages in the region to see up close the effects of climate change and discuss Arctic issues.
“When people in the Lower 48 flip a light switch or turn up the thermostat, they don’t even think twice about it,” said Senator Lyman Hoffman (D-Bethel). “In my communities, families are being forced to choose between food and heat. As a State, we have proven we can protect our environment and resources better than any other state in the nation. Alaskans are hurting under these crushing energy costs and I hope we can effectively show Secretary Jewell we can protect polar bears while creating a better future for the people of our state through the development of our resources and access to our lands.”
Leadership from the Alaska House Majority Caucus will also travel to Kotzebue Feb. 17 to participate in the Alaska Federation of Natives’ (AFN) National Forum on The Future of Alaska Natives.
The Forum is a follow-up to an event AFN held 15 years ago, which brought together congressional leaders, presidential cabinet members, state officials and Alaska Native leadership. U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell, Alaska’s congressional delegation and other northern and native leaders will participate.
“We look forward to bringing our voice, the Legislature’s, to the Forum,” Alaska Speaker of the House Mike Chenault, R-Nikiski, said. “There’s been some upsetting national Alaska-centric policy announcements lately that we need to address. Secretary Jewell needs to hear from us and the leaders in the region about the adverse impacts and opposition we feel toward the proposals on ANWR and outer continental shelf that will harm our state and nation. What better way than with the people effected, in their region, with the decision makers involved?”
Speaker Chenault will be joined by Alaska House Majority Leader Charisse Millett, R-Anchorage, House Rules Chair Craig Johnson, R-Anchorage, House Majority Whip Bob Herron, D-Bethel and Resources Co-Chair Ben Nageak, D-Barrow, who represents the North Slope region.
The Forum will focus on ways the state and federal government can work together on a range of Alaska-specific options, like the dramatic drop in oil prices and its fiscal impacts, state and federal policies that meet Alaskans’ needs, the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act promise for sustainable economic development, Homeland Security issues for Alaska Natives, and climate change.
Edited by Mary Kauffman, SitNews
Source of News:
Alaska Senate Majority
Alaska House Majority
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