Morning Headlamp — Federal overreach in Alaska yet again

Boxing ourselves in. State officials and leaders are criticizing the federal government’s plan to open one-quarter of the land it manages in eastern Alaska to mining and oil development, saying it restricts development in the state. The Bureau of Land Management’s plan released in July designates 1.7 million acres for possible resource extraction, while recommending the other 4.8 acres of federal land remain closed to mining. The plan also designates about 1 million acres as areas of critical environmental concern. It keeps both the White Mountains National Recreation Area and the Steese National Conservation Area closed to mining and oil drilling. It also imposes development restrictions on the Birch Creek, Beaver Creek and Fortymile Wild and Scenic River corridors.

The Department of Natural Resources is concerned about “future impacts to mining and other land uses due to the restrictions and withdrawals identified in the plan,” spokeswoman Elizabeth Bluemink said in an email. “We also are disappointed that the plan was released for public review during the busy summer months.” U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski also has voiced opposition to the plan, saying it violates the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act. The law says the executive branch of government cannot withdraw more land in Alaska from development without Congressional action. Headlamp applauds Alaskan officials fighting back against federal overreach that threatens Alaska’s resource development.

The American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) announced its endorsement of Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski and Representative Don Young in their reelection bids this fall for the United States Senate and House of Representatives.

The Art of the Drill. In a policy speech, Donald Trump promised an “energy revolution.” Trump’s campaign said he would repeal all “job-killing” Obama energy actions, including the climate rules and the Clean Water Rule. Trump would also make more waters available for offshore oil and natural gas drilling and end the Interior Department’s moratorium on new coal-mining leases on federal land. Alaska has 1/3 of America’s oil and gas resources – repealing the actions that have prohibited us from developing our resources is a game-changer. 


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First Reads

Officials criticize federal land plan
Associated Press, August 9, 2016

The best time to buy fuel oil for an Interior Alaska winter
Fairbanks Daily News Miner, Art Nash, August 8, 2016

Teachers see behind the Prudhoe Bay curtain
Fairbanks Daily News Miner, Weston Morrow, August 8, 2016

Trump pledges ‘energy revolution’
The Hill, Timothy Cama, August 8, 2016

Nation’s Largest Federal Employee Union Endorses Murkowski and Young
Alaska Native News, Cheston McGuire, August 8, 2016

Knopp makes run for House District 30 seat
Juneau Empire, Elizabeth Earl, August 8, 2016