Washington, D.C. – Alaskan Congressman Don Young today commended the Alyeska Pipeline Service Company for moving its 17 billionth barrel of Alaskan crude down the Trans Alaska Pipeline System (TAPS) on Saturday, July 19, 2014:
“This weekend, the 17 billionth barrel of oil entered the Trans Alaska Pipeline System (TAPS) to make its 800 mile journey south from Alaska’s North Slope – a significant milestone for the Alaskan people and our nation as a whole. I must commend the countless men and women who made this moment possible, including the Alyeska Pipeline Service Company and the thousands of dedicated individuals in our energy sector working to fuel this significant Alaskan lifeline.
“When we first envisioned a pipeline to connect our oil-rich North Slope to the rest of the world, and subsequently passed the Trans-Alaskan Pipeline Authorization Act through Congress in1973, we knew this vital piece of Alaskan infrastructure would provide for Alaskans then, now, and into the future. And since its construction, there’s no question the impacts TAPS has had on the Alaskan people and our economy.
“While TAPS continues to make great strides, it’s important for Alaskans to remember that we must continue to support policies to responsibly develop our lands, stabilize our marketplace, and bring added investments to our North Slope. It’s these types of policies that will once again fill TAPS to capacity, create jobs, increase pay, and provide a brighter future for all Alaskans.”
Washington, D.C. – Alaskan Congressman Don Young today denounced the EPA’s proposal to place unprecedented restrictions on state lands in the Bristol Bay region, and called it a major attack on state’s rights both in Alaska and nationwide.
“For the EPA to put forward these types of restrictions, prior to any permit applications and without due process, is alarming to say the least,” said Congressman Don Young. “As I’ve said in the past, the EPA’s expansive, jurisdictional power grab is a very serious threat to Alaska’s sovereignty and the future of any development on state, Alaska Native, or privately owned lands both in Alaska and across the United States.”
“People must understand the implications of the EPA’s actions. If they get away with taking these actions in the Bristol Bay region, they can and will replay this strategy nationwide and stop projects in their tracks – before, during, and after the permitting process. These actions give the EPA absolute authority to meddle in even the most basic development and infrastructure projects, a fact that should be chilling to any private land owner or anyone who has benefited from even the most basic construction project.”
Congressman Young recently condemned the EPA during a House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee markup on H.R. 4854, the Regulator Certainty Act of 2014. The legislation would clarify when the EPA has authority to prohibit, deny, or restrict the use of a defined area as a disposal site under section 404(c) of the Clean Water Act, and limit a preemptive veto by the EPA.
Congressman Young recently condemned the EPA during a House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee markup on H.R. 4854, the Regulator Certainty Act of 2014 (click here to watch).
Washington, D.C. – In an attempt to rein in federal spending while maintaining vital government responsibilities, Alaskan Congressman Don Young and the House of Representatives passed its seventh appropriations bill this week, H.R. 5016, the Fiscal Year 2015 Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Act. The bill, which provides $21.3 billion in annual funding for several financial services related agencies, funds critical law-enforcing programs, maintains an effective judiciary system, and helps small businesses. This bill also targets lower-priority or poor-performing programs – such as the Internal Revenue Service – for reductions.
“This spending measure represents a commonsense approach to holding our many financial services agencies accountable while increasing transparency in their everyday functions,” said Congressman Don Young. “The House of Representatives has continued a balanced approach to funding our many federal agencies during the appropriations process, while also ensuring the American public sees added economic opportunity and job growth during these difficult times. I must commend the Chairman of Financial Services and General Government Subcommittee, Congressman Ander Crenshaw, for his leadership on this legislation and am pleased with the efforts made to ensure Americans are never again targeted by the IRS for their political beliefs or affiliations. I now call upon the Senate to begin taking similar steps to passing funding measures, as outlined in the Constitution.”
H.R. 5016, which passed by a vote of 228 to 195, funds a number of agencies, including the Treasury Department, the Judiciary, the Small Business Administration, the Securities and Exchange Commission, and the Internal Revenue Service.
In stark contrast to the Senate, who has yet to pass a single FY15 appropriations bill, the House of Representatives has passed seven FY15 appropriations bills to date, including: Financial Services, Energy and Water, Transportation Housing and Urban Development, Commerce Justice and Science, Legislative Branch, and Military Construction and Veterans Affairs.
Important funding measures included in the bill:
Internal Revenue Service (IRS) - The bill includes approximately $11 billion for IRS funding for FY15 – a $340 million reduction below FY14 enacted levels. This funding will allow the IRS to perform its core duties, including appropriate tax collection and related services, while requiring the agency to streamline its services and make better use of its budget.
Following the targeting on certain political groups and inappropriate use of funds, the legislation also included language that would prohibit the IRS from using funds to target groups for regulatory scrutiny based on their ideological beliefs, to target individuals for exercising their First Amendment rights, and to target groups for regulatory scrutiny based on their ideological beliefs. The bill includes the following provisions:
Affordable Care Act (ACA): The bill includes language to prevent the IRS from further implementing Obamacare, including a prohibition on the transfer of funding from the Department of Health and Human Services to the IRS for Obamacare uses. The legislation also prevents the IRS from implementing the individual insurance mandate.
Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC): The bill includes $1.4 billion for the SEC, which is $50 million above the FY14 enacted level and $300 million below the request by President Obama. The increase in funding from the FY14 enacted level is targeted toward information technology initiatives.
Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB): Includes a number of provisions to improve transparency and accountability within the CFPB. Specifically, it includes a provision to change the funding source of the CFPB from the Federal Reserve to the appropriations process starting in fiscal year 2016. Under current law, funding for this agency is provided by mandatory spending and is not subject to congressional review.
Washington, D.C. – The House of Representatives today passed H.R. 4719, the American Gives More Act of 2014, a bipartisan package of five charitable tax donation bills that included language offered by Alaskan Congressman Don Young to protect and extend favorable tax treatment for Alaska Native Corporations (ANCs).
On May 22, 2014, Congressman Young introduced H.R. 4721, which would allow Alaska Native Corporations an equitable tax deduction for donations of conservation easements related to lands conveyed under the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA). Under the current tax code, the federal government permits corporations owned by farmers and ranchers to deduct the value of a conservation easement donation up to 100% of their Adjusted Gross Income (AGI). However, ANCs are only eligible to claim up to 10% for the same easement donation. Congressman Young’s language in H.R. 4719 would change that by raising the cap to match the 100% deduction available to certain farmers and ranchers.
“A conservation easement donation, for some ANCs, is an attractive way to monetize their lands by protecting wildlife, timber, flora, and general recreational availability while retaining underlying ownership of their lands,” said Congressman Don Young. “ANCs generally pay federal corporate taxes at the highest marginal rate, but are not able to take advantage of the many corporate tax credits available to other corporations. In order to ensure the tax code for ANCs is in line with other non-Alaska Native corporations who donate conservation easements, I believe this is the right thing to do. This change will further the spirit of ANCSA by allowing ANCSA Native Corporations to maximize the economic, cultural, and conservation values of their land.”
This language was accepted as part of H.R. 4719, which passed the House today by a margin of 277-130.
H.R. 4719, the American Gives More Act of 2014, included the following tax bills:
Washington, D.C. – Only days after calling upon the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to reverse it’s out of touch regulation that would severely jeopardize the due process rights of Americans nationwide, Alaskan Congressman Don Young today announced the agency has relented.
Earlier this month, the EPA issued a final notice in the Federal Register claiming the authority to “garnish non-Federal wages to collect delinquent non-tax debts owed the United States without first obtaining a court order.” The quiet but divisive decision was fast-tracked by the EPA to take effect on September 2, 2014, unless it received large public outcry by the end of the August 1st comment period.
“What we have here is a rogue federal agency that believes it exists and operates above the law and the Constitution,” said Congressman Don Young. “For the EPA to think they can issue this type of ruling, let alone without a proper review process, is absolutely astonishing to me. My colleagues and I understand that federal entities must have practices in place to enforce their rules and ensure the payment of reasonable fines, however we believe these decisions must be made in the court of law, not by a group that believes they can unilaterally garnish someone’s wages. Americans deserve proper due process and today’s reversal by the EPA is a positive step in that direction.”
In a letter to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, Congressman Young and more than 25 of his House colleagues called upon the agency to reverse its claim and respect due process rights of Americans across the country. The group was also quick to note that the amount of fines collected by the EPA has drastically increased from $96 million in 2009 to $252 million in 2013, which indicates that some of these fines may be excessive.
“This claim seems to violate American citizens’ Constitutionally-guaranteed right to due process by placing the burden of proof on the debtor, rather than the agency,” Congressman Young wrote. “The process for challenging fines and wage garnishment is not satisfactory because it allows the agency to decide if the accused can even present a defense. We are writing to voice our strongest opposition to the rule and the EPA’s inadequate engagement with the public concerning it. Further, we ask that you reverse your decision and not follow through with this rule. By doing so, your agency will demonstrate respect for the right to due process under the law that is guaranteed to all Americans by the Constitution.”
In addition to the July 9th letter to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy (full text found below), Congressman Young and 20 of his House colleagues introduced H.J.RES.118 to express congressional disapproval of the EPA rule relating to the garnishment of non-Federal wages to collect delinquent non-tax debts owed to the United States without first obtaining a court order.
According to numerous news reports, the EPA will formally reverse its final rule tomorrow in the Federal Register.
Full letter to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy:
Dear Administrator McCarthy:
We are writing to express our deep concerns with a recent Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) claim to have authority to "garnish non-Federal wages to collect delinquent non-tax debts owed the United States without first obtaining a court order."
This claim seems to violate American citizens’ Constitutionally-guaranteed right to due process by placing the burden of proof on the debtor, rather than the agency. The process for challenging fines and wage garnishment is not satisfactory because it allows the agency to decide if the accused can even present a defense.
The increasingly punitive nature of the agency is also of concern. According to the agency’s annual reports, the amount of fines collected by the EPA has gone from $96 million in 2009 to $252 million in 2013. Though we agree stakeholders must be responsible and the EPA should enforce rules reasonably, the more than 160 percent increase in a span of only four years indicates that some of these fines may have been excessive.
The EPA has said the rule was not subject to review because it is not a "significant regulatory action." But it has recently been reported that a Wyoming homeowner was threatened with a $75,000 fine for building a pond on his property. That might seem like a drop in the bucket to a bureaucratic agency with a multi-billion dollar budget, but for the vast majority of Americans, $75,000 is a lot of money. The proposed rule would make it both more difficult to dispute such fines and provide incentive for the EPA to issue penalties against more Americans. Its impact, therefore, would certainly create “significant” hardships on affected individuals.
The agency has fast-tracked the rule to take effect on September 2nd, 2014 absent sufficient opposing comment by August 1st, 2014. We are writing to voice our strongest opposition to the rule and the EPA’s inadequate engagement with the public concerning it. Further, we ask that you reverse your decision and not follow through with this rule. By doing so, your agency will demonstrate respect for the right to due process under the law that is guaranteed to all Americans by the Constitution.
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following the State Department’s announcement to name retired Coast Guard Commandant Admiral Robert Papp, Jr. the first United States Special Representative to the Arctic:
“As I’ve said before, our nation needs a strong leader in the Arctic with the means necessary to dedicate special attention to the many relationships and interests in the region, including resource development, increased shipping and tourism, and Alaska Native priorities. The announcement of our Nation’s first Arctic Representative is a great step for Alaska and the rest of the nation as we begin to make substantial efforts to become active players in forming global Arctic policy. We must remember, the United States is an Arctic nation because of Alaska, and we must prepare to be an active participant in the Arctic theater.
“I have proudly worked with Admiral Papp for years on behalf of Alaska and the Arctic during his time as Coast Guard Commandant and welcome him to the job with open arms. I believe he holds the know-how and understanding to begin making headway on these vital American issues, especially as we prepare to take over the Arctic Council Chairmanship in 2015. I was pleased to see this Administration has finally taken steps to improve our Arctic presence by selecting an individual with a wealth of knowledge and understanding on Arctic issues, and a tested record of working with Alaskans.
“I must also congratulate Fran Ulmer, the Chair of the U.S. Arctic Research Commission, for her new State Department role as a Special Advisor on Arctic Science and Policy. Fran has always been a strong advocate for Alaskan issues and causes, and I know she’ll continue to do so as an advisor to the Secretary of State.
Congressman Don Young is a long Arctic advocate, has consistently fought to protect and increase U.S. Icebreaking capabilities, and introduced legislation in the House to create a U.S. Ambassador at Large for Arctic Affairs.
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Washington, D.C. – In an effort to permanently extend a ban on state and local governments from taxing Internet access, today Alaskan Congressman Don Young and the House of Representatives passed H.R. 3086, the Permanent Internet Tax Freedom Act (PITFA). The bill, which permanently extends an Internet access tax moratorium set to expire in November, works to increase Internet growth and opportunity by preventing an additional tax burden on the American people. H.R. 3086 passed today by a voice vote.
“Since 1998, Congress has overwhelmingly supported efforts to ban taxes associated with Internet access, but until today have failed to make them permanent,” said Congressman Don Young. “Alaskans from across our state, particularly in rural areas, rely heavily on Internet access for the most basic needs, including communication, access to education and business development. Adding additional tax burdens, which would take most American consumers by surprise, would greatly reduce Internet access and disproportionately impact those already struggling to make ends meet. Today’s strong bipartisan measure is a great step to protecting our digital economy and encouraging pro-growth policies that get this country back on track.”
The Internet access tax was temporarily banned by Congress in 1998 and has been extended three times in the last 16 years. H.R. 3086 makes no effort to tackle the issue of Internet sales taxes and would only prevent Internet access taxes and multiple or discriminatory e-commerce taxes.
Washington, D.C. – Alaska Congressman Don Young, former Chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, today shared his comments following the passage of H.R 5021, the Highway and Transportation Funding Act of 2014, which provides a clean extension of federal highway, transit and safety programs through May 31, 2015 and directs additional funding for the Highway Trust Fund. The bill passed by a vote of 367 to 55.
“As a former Chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, I understand the vital importance of this short-term transportation package that ensures our nation’s many infrastructure projects remain underway and keeps the Highway Trust Fund solvent in the coming months,” said Congressman Don Young. “While these types of temporary transportation extensions prevent states from efficiently using funds through long-term planning, letting this funding expire next month would have severely jeopardized countless construction projects and left more than ten thousand American jobs in limbo. This short-term bill gets us over the next bump in the road, but Congress must wake up and understand the need to find long-term solutions to our transportation shortfalls. We must once and for all pass and fully fund a transportation bill to support our many infrastructure needs.”
Congressman Young, credited with passing the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act (SAFETEA-LU), the last Highway and Transportation authorization and funding bill to provide long-term certainty, spoke on the House floor prior to passage of H.R. 5021.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressman Don Young and Senator Lisa Murkowski welcomed an announcement by the Army Corps of Engineers’ Alaska District that it will modify the comment period for a revised general permit for placer mining activities. The Corps will extend the current comment period for 45 days, and initiate a second comment period in October 2014. The new schedule will ensure that placer miners throughout Alaska have greater opportunity to provide their perspective – and increase the likelihood that the Corps will address concerns that the proposed permit will impose an unnecessary burden on them.
“Today’s announcement by the Corps is good news for our placer miners in Alaska,” said Congressman Young. “This extension not only provides them with peace of mind for the remainder of the season, it also allows adequate time to provide feedback and views on these proposed changes. Having the comment period end while most of these remote, family-run placer mines are in full operation would have been a complete shame, particularly since these changes could severely impact their livelihoods. I must thank Colonel Lestochi for accepting my invitation to travel to Chicken last month and meet face-to-face with the Fortymile placer miners. I wholeheartedly believe the strong community involvement we showed the Corps during their visit played a significant role in their decision today.”
“I want to thank the Corps for working with Alaska’s mining community, Congressman Young, and me to get this right,” said Senator Murkowski. “We all recognized that the comment period should not end right in the middle of the placer mining season, when most miners will have no time or ability to communicate their concerns. This is a good move that will help ensure placer miners can keep working, without interruption or fear of harm to their operations, and then provide crucial feedback to the Corps once they’re back home again.”
In May 2014, the Corps issued a notice seeking comment on a revised general permit for mechanical placer mining activities in Alaska. The comment period was to end on June 24, during the placer mining season, making it difficult, if not impossible, for many miners to provide comment. In early June, Young and Murkowski sent a letter to the Corps seeking an extension of the comment period through the end of the year. Later that month, Congressman Young and staff for Sen. Murkowski met with miners from the Fortymile Mining District and the Corps’ District Commander, Colonel Christopher Lestochi, to discuss this issue.
Congressman Don Young speaking with a placer miner in Chicken, AK following a June 6, 2014 meeting with 40 Mile miners on proposed regulations.
Placer mining is a critical part of the mining industry in Alaska – and a key contributor to Alaska’s economy. According to the Resource Development Council, “approximately 300 Alaska placer mines produced 100,000 ounces of gold in 2013.”
Washington, D.C. – Late yesterday, the House of Representatives and Alaskan Congressman Don Young passed H.R. 4923, the Energy and Water Development Appropriations Act of 2015, legislation to provide funding for the Army Corps of Engineers, various Department of Energy programs, and a number of vital Alaskan projects. The bipartisan bill passed by a vote of 253 to 170.
"I was pleased to support the passage of the Energy and Water Appropriations bill yesterday in an effort to provide adequate funding for a number of vital national and Alaskan programs,” said Congressman Don Young. “This legislation makes significant steps to improving our Alaskan harbors and ports by providing much needed funding for operations and maintenance, while also ensuring programs like the Denali Commission continue to make progress in their work to implement critical energy infrastructure projects in the most remote, expensive, and impoverished, communities in our nation.”
During debate on H.R. 4923, the Denali Commission – an independent federal agency that works to find immediate and long-term solutions to inequities between rural Alaska and the rest of America – fell under attack from an amendment that would have stripped all of its funding for FY15. Following an impassioned floor speech and letter to his colleagues in opposition, Congressman Young successfully led a bipartisan coalition against the amendment.
“This amendment would have decimated a regional commission created by Congress to deliver the services of the federal government in the most cost effective manner possible,” said Congressman Don Young after the amendment failed on the House floor. “This small independent federal agency is making dramatic progress in the nation’s least developed areas. What many outsiders fail to understand is that the Denali Commission operates in the most geographically diverse and challenging area in America, twice the size of Texas. In fact, this area would encompass both the Delta Regional Authority and the Appalachian Commission. I continue to believe the Denali Commission is a model for effective and innovative government.”
Alaska specific provisions included within H.R. 4923:
Corps of Engineers Operations and Maintenance:
Corp of Engineers Studies:
Funding for the Denali Commission - $10M
2314 Rayburn HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Congressman Don Young was re-elected to the 113th Congress in 2012 to serve his 21st term as Alaska’s only Representative to the United States House of Representatives. First sworn in as a freshman to the 93rd Congress after winning a special election on March 6, 1973, Congressman Young is today the 1st ranking Republican member and the the 4th ranking overall member of the House of Representatives.
Congressman Young served as Chairman of the House Resources Committee from 1995 to 2001 and then as the Chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee from 2001-2007. In the 110th Congress, Representative Young returned to the helm of the Resources Committee to lead his fellow Republicans as the Ranking Member. In the 112th Congress, he was chosen to serve as the Chairman for the Subcommittee on Alaska Native and Indian Affairs. Rep. Young currently serves as a senior Republican on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and House Natural Resources Committee.
Congressman Young calls Fort Yukon, Alaska home; a remote village of approximately 700 people located 7 miles above the Arctic Circle in Alaska’s central interior region. Born on June 9, 1933 in Meridian, California, he earned his associate degree at Yuba Junior College in 1952, and his bachelor’s degree in teaching at Chico State College in 1958. Between earning these degrees, he served in the US Army’s 41st Tank Battalion from 1955 to 1957.
When he first moved to Alaska, Congressman Young made a living in construction and tried his hand at commercial fishing, trapping, and in the search for gold. In Fort Yukon he taught in a 25-student, 5th grade elementary class in the Bureau of Indian Affairs school. Constructed of logs, the school had a wood stove that kept his Alaska Native students warm in the sub-freezing, arctic winter. With the annual spring break-up of the river ice, he captained his own tug and barge operation to deliver products and supplies to villages along the Yukon River. Even today, he remains the only licensed mariner in Congress.
It was in Fort Yukon that Rep. Young met and married a young bookkeeper named Lu. Lu was always at the Congressman’s side and supported him throughout his public service career. Lu and Don were married for 46 years, they were blessed with and raised two daughters, Joni and Dawn, and 14 grandchildren. Mrs. Young passed away on August 2, 2009.
Congressman Young first entered public service in 1964 when he was elected Mayor of Fort Yukon. Two years later, Alaskan voters elected him to the State Legislature in Juneau where he served in the State House from 1966 to 1970, and later in the State Senate from 1970 to 1973. Just hours after being sworn in to United States House of Representatives in 1973, he found himself leading the historic battle for approval of the Trans-Alaskan Pipeline. Often citing this as the single most important achievement in his career, Congressman Young stated, “Next to statehood itself, the most historical legislation passed that affected every Alaskan then, now, and in the future, was the passage of the pipeline legislation.”
That same year, his colleagues honored him as the “Freshman Congressman of the Year.” He went on to gain a key appointment on the then Merchant Marine and Fisheries Committee where he pushed through the 200-mile fishing limit critical to Alaska’s fishing industry. He fought against federal control of lands and resources to which Alaskans are rightfully entitled – a battle he continues today with the same vigor. In 1997, he passed by a 419-1 vote, the National Wildlife Improvement Act, which sets guidelines for the nation’s 500-plus wildlife refuges.
Congressman Young proudly serves as the “Congressman for All Alaska” and loves his role as the only Alaskan Representative in Congress. Renewed by the challenges and goals of the 111th Congress and his committee positions, Congressman Young will continue to champion legislation and funding for programs benefiting Alaska and the nation. His vision remains the same – to provide citizens with the opportunity for a better life not just for today, but also for tomorrow and the future.
17 billionth barrel of oil entered TAPS this weekend. Thx @AlyeskaPipeline and the countless individuals fueling this vital AK lifeline
The news from eastern Ukraine is absolutely heartbreaking.I'm praying for the victims and families of the downed Malaysian Airlines flight.
Pleased to hear the EPA has reversed its decision to garnish wages w/o first obtaining a court order. http://t.co/HwpLEaDnbn
This weekend, the 17 billionth barrel of oil entered the Trans Alaska Pipeline System (TAPS) to make its 800 mile journey south from Alaska’s
Last month, I wrote an opinion piece in the Alaska Dispatch detailing the stark contrast between the House and Senate. In that article, I identified
The news coming from eastern Ukraine is absolutely heartbreaking. I pray for the victims and families of the downed Malaysian Airlines flight
Earlier this month, the EPA issued a final notice in the Federal Register claiming the authority to “garnish non-Federal wages to collect delinquent
As I’ve said before, our nation needs a strong leader in the Arctic to dedicate special attention to the many relationships and interests in