U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) today issued the following statement on the Environmental Protection Agency's proposed restrictions on possible economic development activity on state-owned lands in Alaska's Bristol Bay region:
"The EPA is being disingenuous in saying that this decision is only going to impact mining in a particular area of Alaska," Murkowski said. "The EPA is setting a precedent that strips Alaska and all Alaskans of the ability to make decisions on how to develop a healthy economy on their lands. This is a blueprint that will be used across the county to stop economic development."
Murkowski, who is traveling today to survey the growing immigration crises on America's southern border, is still reviewing the EPA documents.
Murkowski has been critical of the EPA's attempts to unilaterally expand its authority under the Clean Water Act, and for basing its review of potential mining operations on state-owned lands in Alaska on a hypothetical mining plan -- before any permit application has been filed that would trigger such a review.
Murkowski has twice written to EPA (Feb. 16, 2011 and April 18, 2012) about her concerns with the agency's Bristol Bay watershed assessment, including whether a decision by the agency to block mining could set a legal precedent that would prevent other development proposals across the state and beyond. EPA responded on Mar. 21, 2011, and May 17, 2012.