The ongoing clean up saga of legacy wells in the NPR-A is continuing in the nation’s capital. Today, U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski criticized the Interior Department’s budget proposal for attempting to make Alaska pay for what she calls decades-old broken promises of the federal government.
Sen. Murkowski(R-AK): “The situation is bad enough, budget now proposes to take the state’s share of future revenues that are generated from the NPR-A to pay for the cost of cleanup. In other words, the budget proposes to charge the State of Alaska for the federal government’s own mess, for what they failed to clean up, they’re now asking the state to step in and pick it up. I just need to be very very plain today, this proposal, in my view, is dead on arrival. It’s just not going to happen; so we need to be working together to address the way that we will move forward with that, and I look forward to that opportunity.”
The state’s senior senator also questioned newly appointed Interior Secretary Sally Jewell on the federal government’s conveyance program of land owed to Alaska and Alaska Natives is mandated under the 1958 Alaska Statehood Act and the 1971 Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA).
Sen. Murkowski(R-AK): ” This has been a problem for decades, so again, you’re waking into a situation that has been out there unaddressed, and how you will deal with it is difficult. In 2004, the Congress passed the Alaska Land Transfer Acceleration Act that was intended to nearly finish conveyances by the 50th anniversary of statehood in 2009. That, of course, didn’t happen. But at least the department has made an attempt to increase the pace of conveyances, and I do appreciate that.”