Wednesday, June 19, 2013
AK Senate Unanimous On ANWR Resolution
State Senate asks Congress to block wilderness designation for ANWR
Could the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge be locked up forever to drilling and development? Some lawmakers say that's a strong possibility, as officials with U.S. Fish and Wildlife move closer to making recommendations on whether or not ANWR should be a wilderness designation.
All 20 members of the state Senate voted earlier today for House joint resolution 11. Resolutions are not laws, but lawmakers say they hope Congress hears their message loud and clear: Keep 1.5 million acres of ANWR open for development
“We're making a strong stand today,” said Sen. Lesil McGuire (R-Anchorage).
Stat senators took a unanimous legislative stance today with a resolution.
“We are urging the United States Congress to reject any legislation that would seek to declare a wilderness designation of the 1002 area of ANWR,” McGuire said.
That area was set aside for oil exploration, but U.S. Fish and Wildlife could make a recommendation under its Comprehensive Conservation Plan to stop any development there.
“This is a battle,” said Sen. Charlie Huggins (R-Wasilla). “This is a battle of the people of Alaska against a activist federal government led by some people who are not in the best interest of us.”
“This would be devastating at a time right now when we're looking at what we've seen in Libya,” said McGuire.
As the price of oil continues to climb as tensions escalate in the Middle East and North Africa, Alaska lawmakers say all options must remain open, including ANWR.
“It is an area that is important to America,” McGuire said. “(Federal wilderness designation) would permanently lock up that area and throw away the key for any future development. That area holds 10.4 billion barrels of oil that we know of.”
A spokesperson for U.S. Fish and Wildlife said it is possible that the federal agency could recommend later this spring that the 1002 area of ANWR could be designated wilderness.
But Bruce Woods says anything the agency recommends will go through a public comment period first. The final say goes to the Department of the Interior, then Congress and the President.