Murkowski Comments on Interagency Working Group’s Report on Arctic Development

April 4, 2013

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, today released the following statement in response to the report “Managing the Future of a Rapidly Changing Arctic” by the federal interagency working group tasked with coordinating oil and natural gas permitting in Alaska:

“I commend the administration and the Department of Interior for recognizing the importance of the Arctic to our nation’s national and economic security as well as the needs and perspectives of the residents of the far north. This report provides a good general summary of the challenges facing policymakers on Arctic issues, though none of the information in the report will come as a surprise to Alaskans or anyone else who closely follows Arctic issues.  

“I agree that there needs to be greater coordination between the various federal agencies involved with Arctic policies, as well as a substantive role for the state of Alaska and local communities in determining those policies. It is also important that the White House provide real leadership to ensure that Arctic issues are a priority for the more than 20 federal agencies with responsibilities in the region. 

“We cannot simply allow new layers of federal bureaucracy to be heaped upon the existing permitting regime. Economic development is vital in the region and it’s entirely compatible with our other responsibilities there. As the report notes, ‘stakeholders are not interested in additional layers of process; existing processes already tax the capacity of many stakeholders without necessarily leaving them feeling fully informed or involved regarding federal decisions.’”

Murkowski is Alaska’s senior senator and the ranking Republican on the U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.