JUNEAU – The Alaska State Legislature affirmed its commitment to responsibly developing Alaska’s resources in the National Petroleum Reserve. House Joint Resolution 34, which urges the United States Department of the Interior to maximize the area available for oil and gas leasing within the NPR-A, and to take into account Alaska’s history of safe and responsible development, passed the Senate yesterday with a vote of 14-0. HJR 34 passed the House 35-0 on March 18th of this year.
“The 2020 NPR-A management plan was developed in close partnership with the North Slope Borough and in consultation with North Slope Tribes and Alaska Native corporations, carefully balancing subsistence-use needs and habitat protections with economic development opportunities and community infrastructure needs,” said Representative Josiah Patkotak (I-Utqiagvik), the resolution’s sponsor. “The Department of the Interior’s recent decision to abandon this plan—without consulting with local, regional, state, or tribal entities—is a step in the wrong direction. This resolution sends a strong message to Washington that responsible resource development of the NPR-A could bring enormous benefits to some of the most underserved communities in the nation and that Alaskans need to be included in future NPR-A management decisions.”
Senator Click Bishop spoke about HJR 34 on the Senate Floor and urged his colleagues in the Senate to vote in favor of the bill.
“It’s an honor to stand alongside my friend and colleague – Representative Patkotak – to send a message to the federal government about respecting and listening to local voices,” said Senator Click Bishop (R-Fairbanks). “This resolution goes far beyond natural resource development within the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska. Whether it comes to harvesting bowhead whales, seals, migratory birds, or even petroleum – the traditional knowledge of the people of the North Slope should always be heeded.”