HJR 12 passed its final committee hurdle in the legislature this week and will head to the Senate floor next.
HJR 12 is essentially a very long and rather pitiful letter from Alaska to Washington D.C. which bears no legal weight yet has a stunningly long title: Urging the United States Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management, to honor the recent lease sales and proceed with permitting in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge; urging the President of the United States to defend the 2020 Record of Decision approving the Coastal Plain Oil and Gas Leasing Program in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge; opposing designation of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge as a National Monument; and urging the Alaska delegation in Congress to uphold sec. 20001 of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017.
The AK Legislature has sent numerous pro-ANWR-development resolutions to Washington DC. I think they sent a resolution to each legislature from the early 1990s up to today. It is essentially a Republican litmus test in the AK Legislature - though it appears HJR 12 has Tuck, Josephson (odd!), and Schrage as cosponsors, along with what appears to be almost all of the House Minority Rs.
If anything, Murkowski and Sullivan voting in favor of Haaland would impact the Biden Administration approach to the ANWR issue than a missive from the AK State Legislature. Even if the Biden Admin gives the green light, the recent lease sale's lack of interest seems to indicate that near-future development of the area is unlikely. This is my hopeful take only and may be way off base.
I have not followed the resolution closely because I believe HJR 12 is a waste of time, considering all the AK Legislature should be working on right now. Our state legislators should be told as much. ANWR is no economic savior, and spending state resources on yet another resolution is irresponsible at best.
There is a political tie-in with this resolution considering that both the House Majority Coalition and the House Minority Republicans were initially vying for the support of Rep. Patkotak from Utqiagvik, who supports ANWR development. So the R's used their strong support of this issue as a technique to try and coax Patkotak to help them form a majority, though this did not happen because the R's also support taking petroleum industry property tax revenue from the North Slope Borough.
Those wishing to oppose this resolution should send their comment letters to all Senators as my money is on HJR 12 hitting the Senate floor in the next two weeks.
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