Washington, D.C. – Alaska Congressman Don Young, Chairman Emeritus of the House Natural Resources Committee, went back to back to back in hearings today on issues critical to Alaska-based energy and resource development.
H.R. 219, Swan Lake Hydroelectric Project Boundary Correction Act (Rep. Don Young):
In a morning hearing by the House Subcommittee on Federal Lands, the panel reviewed legislation introduced by Alaska Congressman Don Young to facilitate the completion of an expanded hydroelectric project supplying wholesale power to the municipal utilities serving the cities of Petersburg, Wrangell, and Ketchikan – communities with a combined population of 19,395 residents.
Trey Acteson, CEO of the Southeast Alaska Power Agency (SEAPA) testifying on behalf of Congressman Young’s legislation (click here to watch)
“We’ve seen great success with hydropower across Southeast Alaska, something that’s brought down costs for our rural residents, allowed for innovation within our communities, and eliminated the reliance on costly diesel fuel,” said Congressman Don Young. “Unfortunately, the federal government can and continues to stand in the way of certain projects moving forward. This legislation, which I proudly worked on with our delegation and Southeast Alaska Power Agency (SEAPA), works to correct an issue created by an incorrect federal map. It guarantees the transfer of the lands from federal to state ownerships that are needed to complete this project and ensure SEAPA can continue meeting the needs of its communities.
H.R. 219, the “Swan Lake Hydroelectric Project Boundary Correction Act”, would correct a survey boundary of the Swan Lake Hydro Electric Project in Southeast Alaska and convey 26 acres of U.S. Forest Service land to the State of Alaska for the completion of the project. Young’s legislation is supported by the State of Alaska and has the full support of stakeholders.
For more information on H.R. 219, click here. For more information on the legislative hearing, click here.
Draft Legislation, Accessing Strategic Resources Offshore Act:
Next, the House Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources held a legislative hearing on a draft bill to amend the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act in order to distribute revenues from oil and gas leasing on the outer Continental Shelf to Alaska and certain Atlantic states, limit presidential authority to withdraw areas of the OCS from oil and gas leasing, and overturn an Obama-era rule commonly known as the “Arctic Rule.” This legislation would:
- Prevent the unilateral withdrawal of OCS leasing, as was done in the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas under the Obama Administration;
- Require an Act of Congress to establish new moratoriums on offshore drilling and for the creation of National Marine Monuments;
- Rescind all previous moratoriums other than established Marine Sanctuaries and National Monuments;
- Allow Presidential withdrawals during national emergencies for up to 90 days, subject to renewal; and
- Restrict the enforcement of the “Oil and Gas and Sulfur Operations on the Outer Continental Shelf – Requirements for Exploratory Drilling on the Arctic Outer Continental Shelf” rule, also known as the Arctic Rule.
Congressman Young questioning witnesses on the impact of the “Arctic Rule” (click here to watch).
“The Obama Administration’s decision to lock away our waters and restrict access to resources only strengthened our resolve – as a resources oriented state – to overturn the heavy hand of government and empower our people and communities with new social and economic opportunities,” said Congressman Don Young. “This legislation is an important step to restoring Congress’ authority and stopping the Executive from unilaterally eliminating – through overly prescriptive regulatory requirements and 12(a) withdrawals – forms of responsible resource development in Alaska and across the country.”
In addition, the draft legislation establishes an oil and gas revenue sharing structure for Alaska, Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina. Modeled after GOMESA – a 2006 law dictating revenue sharing for Gulf states – this legislation would allow Alaska and the Atlantic states to receive 37.5% of the revenues generated by offshore oil and gas leasing and development.
“This legislation is an important step to establishing a fair and equitable revenue sharing of offshore resources,” said Congressman Don Young. “A proven success for the Gulf States, this bill would provide long overdue revenue sharing for Alaska and other coastal states, and allow local communities from across the nation to benefit from responsible resource development near their shores. In the Arctic, this means necessary funds for the development of new infrastructure, coastal resiliency programs, and social and economic needs of rural Alaska.”
For more information on the ASTRO Act, click here. For more information on the legislative hearing, click here.
H.R. 3990, the National Monument Creation and Protection Act (Rep. Rob Bishop):
To close, the full House Natural Resources Committee convened to consider legislation introduced by Chairman Rob Bishop (R-UT) to restore the original Congressional intent of the 1906 Antiquities Act and modernize the law for the 21st Century. The legislation would also prohibit the creation of Marine National Monuments, an issue Congressman Young has fought since their creation under President George W. Bush and expansion under President Barack Obama. Young has introduced H.R. 1489, the Marine Access and State Transparency Act, to require Congressional approval for future national monuments and national marine monuments.
“For too long, we’ve seen the crippling impacts associated with the monument designation process, all with little to no consultation or support of those that live in or rely upon the areas,” said Congressman Don Young. “I welcome today’s legislation and remain committed to reforming the outdated monument designation process – on land and at sea – from a top down executive mandate to a locally driven, bottom-up approach. Although Alaska is granted very clear protections under ANILCA, we still have significant concern with the Antiquities Act being used to close thousands of acres of oceans. This legislation ends that process and puts control squarely in the hands of Congress.”
Chairman Bishop’s legislation addresses the following:
- This bill retains Presidential authority to designate National Monuments up to 640 acres, allowing the President to rapidly protect objects of antiquity in imminent danger, restoring the original intent of the Antiquities Act.
- New monument designations between 640 acres and 10,000 acres will now require review under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) prior to being finalized.
- Proposed new monument designations between 5,000 and 10,000 acres must be reviewed under an environmental assessment or environmental impact statement.
- The bill empowers State and local voices by requiring approval of all county commissions, state legislatures, and governors impacted by a national monument for any designation between 10,000 acres and 85,000 acres.
- Any monument designation larger than 85,000 acres would require an act of Congress.
- This bill also creates a new Presidential authority to designate “Emergency National Monuments” for up to one year, to protect areas of any size in times of emergency, as determined by the President.
- After invoking this emergency authority, the President may never designate any of the effected lands as a future National Monument.
For more information on H.R. 3990, click here. For more information on the legislative hearing, click here.