U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, today issued the following response to groups who have been misrepresenting the facts surrounding her amendment to the budget resolution, which was approved by the Senate on March 26.
“This amendment doesn’t sell, transfer, or exchange any piece of property. It provides a general budgetary mechanism that would apply to future legislation. Any actual transfers or exchanges of land would still need to go through the regular order legislative process and be signed into law. Also, this amendment specifies that lands within a national park, national preserve, or national monument do not qualify.
“This simple one-paragraph amendment enables, with proper safeguards, the types of exchanges, sales or transfers with states or local governments that are often used to craft balanced, comprehensive land policies that facilitate economic development, empower states and local governments, and improve conservation efforts.
“Particularly at a time when the federal government is struggling to pay its bills and properly maintain its property, the budget should provide the federal government the flexibility to manage its land holdings in the most efficient and productive manner possible, from both an environmental and economic standpoint,” Murkowski said.
A total of 51 Senators supported Murkowski’s amendment, recognizing that such transactions are a tried-and-true approach for improving land management and providing communities with vital economic opportunities. Murkowski, Chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, has long believed that there are times and circumstances when the ownership of certain public lands can reasonably change hands.