Receives Overwhelming Reception from Industry Leaders and Stakeholders
Anchorage, AK – Congressman for All Alaska Don Young yesterday shared his vision, strategy and outlook for resource development in Alaska and the nation during a congressional forum hosted by the Alaska Forest Association, the Resource Development Council and a number of industry associations and stakeholders.
“My job is to fight for Alaska, our many interests and our ability to develop and grow this state for the social and economic well-being of our people; and nobody has fought harder,” Congressman Young said following yesterday’s forum. “The fact remains, as a state and as a nation, we face unprecedented hurdles and roadblocks when it comes to developing our economy and our abundant resources; primarily from impediments put in place by the EPA, the Corps of Engineers, and especially by interest groups filing lawsuits. Because of the Alaskan people and the long support they’ve shown me, I’m in a powerful position to fight back and to ensure as a resource oriented state we have a regulatory climate that empowers us to create new jobs, new infrastructure, and a better life and future for Alaskans.”
Congressman Young, the original author of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline Act and recently named member of the House/Senate Energy Conference Committee, fielded questions relating to oil and gas development, regulatory overreach, timber production, Alaska’s fishing industry, and permitting delays and barriers implemented by federal agencies.
Congressman Don Young speaking at the AFA/RDC congressional forum in Anchorage (click here to watch highlights).
Young identified numerous legislative reforms and efforts to roll back the many burdensome rules and regulations currently standing in the way of Alaska’s future. Below are a number of highlights from the forum:
Broadening Alaska’s Energy Sector and Economy:
- “I personally like hydropower … it’s a potential that can attract outside industries to come into this state for manufacturing purposes. More than that, we can take our natural resources – which we’ve sent abroad ever since we’ve developed them to be finished and to add value to them – we can do it here in the state.”
- “We as a nation, if you want to establish this economy base that makes everyone great again, it’s going to be through the basis of resources. Alaska is a resources oriented state. We in fact, gained 90 percent of our wealth from oil. I’d like to see that continue, but I’d also like to have an alternative. That is something I think we can continue to work on, especially hydro power.”
* Congressman Young was recently named to House/Senate Energy Conference Committee tasked with negotiating the first comprehensive energy and natural resources package in nearly a decade, which includes important provisions to recognize hydropower as renewable.
- “As I go through the next two years, I’ll be working – regardless of who the President is – to try and keep Alaska safe and available for the development of resources.”
- “This is about the Congress of the United States and whether we have a freshman or a senior member. A fighter or a beginner. I’ve been your fighter.”
* Congressman Young was recently named a top 5 lawmaker in the Washington Post. He has passed more legislation signed by Presidents than any other sitting member of Congress.
Increasing throughput of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System
- “What I would do and continue to do is try to reduce the hurdles and requirements in place by the permitting process, and speed it up. We need to get more oil in that pipeline. I’m pleased to say we have one big discovery, there are many more to go. But not with the federal government saying, ‘no you can’t do it.’ I think we have to address that. I’ve done that and will continue to do that.
- “ANWR, I’ve passed it 12 times. The Senate of course didn’t, and of course [the one time they did] it was vetoed by Bill Clinton.”
* Congressman Young recently secured the passage of five Alaska focused amendments aimed at rolling back the Obama Administration’s recent anti-resource development agenda in Alaska. Included efforts to stop overly prescriptive regulations in the Arctic OCS, to overturn the 10-02 Wilderness management plan, and to preserve lease sales in 2017-2022 OCS Leasing Program.
Legislation proposed by the State Timber Task Force that would allow the state of Alaska to acquire up to 2 million acres of the National Forest System for timber production:
- “It’s my bill. It’s that simple. It has to be done. Southeast in fact was deprived of land. This is an attempt to reestablish a timber industry – maybe not to the grandiose years with the pulp mill. But this is going to be pursued, I’ll pursue it…I want every community that did not have an opportunity to choose those lands, the opportunity to improve the timber industry in Southeast Alaska… I’m in a position to make it a successful process.”
* Congressman Young introduced the H.R. 3650, the State National Forest Act, which passed the House Natural Resources Committee on June 15, 2016.
Federal overreach and the barriers preventing responsible resource development:
- “We have to stop this slow process of permitting. Anytime we try to do anything resources related, it takes years and years to get a permit to get something done. That’s because of this boondoggle of bureaucracy that this state faces every day when we’re developing resources. It’s a bad regulatory climate, we have to change that climate.”
- “One thing that bothers me, facing Alaska, is the agencies arbitrarily putting out policies and regulations that affect our resource development… Our biggest problem is regulatory law by the Executive Branch… We need to have all these regulations reviewed by the Congress. In doing so, we can stop the nonsense of impeding people and resource development.”
- “The collection of power by the Executive Branch, especially this President, and how they’ve abused states’ rights – this is not a monarchy, this is a democracy…. Unfortunately, a lot of states aren’t resource oriented states. Alaska to them is a playground. It’s a battle we continue to fight. I’ve been successfully in many of those fights. I’ll continue to do that job and make sure Alaska’s resources are protected and provided for, and developed.”
- “The overstepping by the EPA is beyond anyone’s imagination as far as being a free state. They are directing now how things will be done without due process or good science.”
* Congressman Young has worked to overturn the WOTUS rule, reduced EPA funding used to implement harmful regulations, and fought back against attacks to Alaska’s unique relationship with the federal government granted by the Alaska Statehood Compact and ANILCA.
Yesterday’s congressional forum, moderated by John Sturgeon, highlighted the many struggles and administrative hurdles currently facing Alaska’s many industries. The event was sponsored by the Alaska Chamber of Commerce, Alaska Forestry Association, Alaska Miners Associations, Alaska Oil and Gas Association, Alaska Support Industry Alliance, General Contractors Association of Alaska and the Resource Development Council.