Washington, D.C. – Today, Chairman Rob Bishop issued the following statement in reaction to Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s final review of national monument designations under the Antiquities Act (Act):
“I am encouraged by the recommendations to revise previous designations that were inconsistent with the law and outside the Act’s size limitations. It is my hope that President Trump takes this opportunity to begin realigning uses of the law with its intended purpose. It’s also incumbent on Congress to pursue reforms to the Act that ensure it is being used to protect antiquities while providing meaningful local input in the designation process and reasonable continued public access to these iconic areas. Ultimately, only Congress can restore integrity to this law and prevent future abuses.”
8-24-17 House Committee Supports Interior’s Monument Review — And, So Do We!
I would suggest that the Chairman and Committee carefully review the following:
1. We should specifically review the abuse and federal overreach characterized by many monument and other withdrawals made by Secretary Cecil Andrus in President Carter’s administration, including the fact that the Arctic National Wildlife Range’s 19 million acres were converted from Range status to Refuge status, now the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Also the “boot” at the southern edge of the Brooks Range was created out of thin air for the sole purpose of denying road access from the TAPS Haul Road to Anaconda’s $9 billion in proven, massive sulfide deposits. Mining and forestry industries, along with oil & gas resources, are much more constrained by federal action than was envisioned at statehood.
2. The federal government withdrawal program and growing plethora of regulations have constituted a ‘taking’ and literally broken the ‘statehood compact’. That is, prior to 1959 when Alaska’s people voted for statehood they knew that they would be a ‘sovereign’ state. In addition to the 104 million acres transferred to state jurisdiction, they knew/assumed (i.e. not unreasonably) that their continued access to federal lands would continue under an established multiple use policy. But federal statutes and regulations and withdrawals since then have adversely affected the ability of the state to financially survive beyond the Prudhoe Bay discovery. Federal overreach has affected citizen access not only to federal lands but also to state lands. Thus, it seems the Committee might revisit the negative impact of federal actions on Alaska’s statehood compact. The committee should also consider how it might protect the ability of Congress better control acts of overreach by a rogue administration.
I am grateful for the current administration’s just and reasonable effort to review the ability of one person (the President and/or the DOI Secretary) to so disastrously affect Alaska’s statehood status.
I am also grateful to the Chairman and Committee for reviewing all of the monument and related issues.
Commissioner Emeritus, NARUC
Chairman Emeritus, Alaska Oil & Gas Congress