Washington, D.C. – Alaska Congressman Don Young today led efforts in the U.S. House of Representatives to approve the passage of H.R. 218, the King Cove Road Land Exchange Act, legislation he’s spearheading with Alaska Senators Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan to facilitate a life-saving road for the isolated community of King Cove, Alaska. Met with opposition featuring dishonest and misleading arguments used in previous efforts to deny the life-saving road, the legislation passed with bipartisan support 248 to 179.
“This is truly an issue of life or death for the residents of the isolated community of King Cove,” Congressman Don Young following passage of H.R. 218. “For over 30 years, they have fought for the approval an 11-mile, non-commercial use, gravel road to the community of Cold Bay, AK in order to access an all-weather airport during medical emergencies. Sadly, this legislation is only necessary because of the heartless actions of the previous administration, which denied previous efforts by Congress to authorize the construction of this road. That decision, which placed the interests of environmentalists and wildlife over human life, was one of the worst government actions I’ve seen in all my years. I thank all those that stood by the people of King Cove to support the passage of this commonsense legislation. Without question, it will save lives. The people of King Cove have fought for over 30 years for safe and reliable access to emergency care and it’s past time we make it a reality. Frankly, I will not rest until we do.”
The Alaska delegation’s newest attempts to authorize the construction of the King Cove road comes following the December 2013 decision by then Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell to deny the construction of the 11-mile road through the Izembek National Wildlife Refuge. Since then, the community of King Cove has experienced more than 60 medivacs – including 17 by the U.S. Coast Guard – in often harsh weather conditions. The House-passage of H.R. 218 – legislation to authorize an equal value land exchange between the State of Alaska and the Department of Interior – represents the first time the House or Senate has approved such legislation since 2009.
Congressman Young speaking in favor of H.R. 218 on the House floor (click here to watch).
“This is an issue that should have been settled a long time ago,” said Congressman Young. “In 2009, this Congress passed a land exchange piece of legislation – very similar to this. We made one mistake, we did put into it the ability for the Fish and Wildlife to make recommendations – even then the recommendations were on the positive side. The last administration decided, under the Secretary of the Interior, not to build an 11-mile road to save my constituents – the Aleut people from King Cove – in favor of a goose. And the people who live in King Cove weren’t really considered… This does not harm to the refuge. It in fact saves lives, gives them an opportunity to take and experience medical care the rest of us all have. This is the right thing to do. Let’s not be caught into special interests saying it’s going to hurt the refuge.”
Fighting Back Amendments to Delay or Kill the Project:
Bill opponents, including those that have previously led efforts to deny the necessary land exchange, offered disingenuous and mischievous amendments to impede the future development and construction of the King Cove road. Those amendments, which sought reimbursement for previously appropriated federal dollars and the addition of language used by Secretary Jewell to previously reject the project, failed under the leadership of Congressman Don Young and House Natural Resources Chairman Rob Bishop.
Congressman Young speaking against amendments to H.R. 218 (click here to watch)
“This is an amendment that’s mischievous in trying to defeat what we’re trying to do today. The amendment is wholly unnecessary to mitigate impacts on migratory birds in the Izembek Refuge…,” Young said in response to Rep. Niki Tsongas’ (D-MA) amendment. “It would allow, again, the Secretaries or one of the other Secretaries of a lesser part like Fish and Wildlife to delay the project. It’s an effort to delay the project.”
“This amendment would penalize the State of Alaska for Clinton Administration decisions by requiring the state to pay back grant money for a costly and often unreliable emergency hovercraft system,” Young said in opposition to Rep. Grijalva’s (D-AZ) amendment. “Residents of King Cove never wanted this system and only agreed to the compromise when it became clear the Clinton Administration would oppose any effort to authorize the construction of this life-saving road. After years of working in good-faith to make the solution work, King Cove had to abandon the system due to exorbitant costs and mechanical failures on the craft. This amendment puts a price tag on the safety of King Cove residents who have sought reliable access to medical care for decades… Furthermore, the amendment seeks repayment from the State of Alaska; however grant monies for temporary emergency relief efforts were largely awarded to local governments.”
Matter of Life or Death:
Since the heartless denial of the project in 2013 by then Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell, 65 medivacs have been conducted, 17 of which were by the U.S. Coast Guard at a cost of $210,000 per incident. Without access to reasonable or reliable emergency access, the residents of King Cove continue to fight for a road corridor to connect their town to Cold Bay – the home to an all-weather airport (closed an average of 10 days per year) featuring Alaska’s fifth-longest runway.
Congressman Young speaking on the human impact of H.R. 218 during rules consideration (click here to watch).
“This is an issue that means live. 19 people have died out of the community of King Cove. Mothers, children, husbands, uncles and aunts…,” said Congressman Young during the debate on the rule to consider H.R. 218. “Those that speak against it have never experienced the wind that howls through that area. When you try to land a plane and you crash, or take off with a sick person on board and you crash, or go across the bay when the waves are 30 feet high. Human beings – Alaskan constituents – that have medical aid 600 miles away but are stopped by 11 miles. It’s not allowed because supposedly there’s a better way. There is no better way than a road.”
Broad Support in Congress and Alaska:
The legislation is supported by the entire Alaskan Congressional delegation, Governor Bill Walker (I-AK), the residents of King Cove, Alaska, the Alaskan State Legislature, the Agdaagux Tribal Council and the National Congress of American Indians, among others. In addition, House debate featured a coalition assembled by Congressman Young to defend passage of H.R. 218.
“The people of Alaska who have engaged in this effort over the last three-plus decades have been rebuffed at every turn in which the only answer they got was the federal government giving them an alternative that flat out didn’t work. All of the efforts and anguish of these people in Alaska went to naught because a bureaucracy here decided they knew best, despite what the people of Alaska needed. [do] those of us sitting here 6,000 miles away really have the superior wisdom to tell those people living in King Cove how they should live their life? The simple solution is to build a road. The State of Alaska is giving up roughly 40,000 acres in exchange for 206 acres so the native Alaskan community can have access to medical care. This is the right this to do.”
“Mr. Speaker, this is shameful. Our citizens should not to wait hours for a medivac or brave treacherous seas while we sit here and debate this issue. No American should have to perish while we argue whether or not a refuge would be better off with miles of road… I urge my colleagues to think about the 19 Americans who perished for want of a gravel road.”
“For over 20 years, the people of King Cove have begged for this life-saving road for their safety. Not a major interstate, not a parkway, just a one lane road. It requires only 206 acres of the 59 million acres of designated federal Wilderness in Alaska.”
“H.R. 218 authorizes the commonsense land exchange between the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the State of the Alaska that will save lives and tax payer money. The bill provides significant benefits for all parties, including tribal members, supporters of fish and wildlife, supporters of the environment, and supporters of the Izembek National Wildlife Refuge, and most importantly the people living in the surrounding areas that need access to critical medical and healthcare services.”
H.R. 218, introduced by Congressman Don Young on January 3, 2017, authorizes an equal value land exchange to facilitate the construction of a road linking the City of King Cove and the City of Cold Bay. Under an equal value land exchange, up to 43,093 acres of non-federal lands owned by the State of Alaska could be transferred to the Department of the Interior (DOI) and added to the Izembek National Wildlife Refuge as designated Wilderness. In return, the State of Alaska will receive 206 acres of federal lands for the construction of an 11-mile, gravel, one-lane, non-commercial road segment that will connect existing roads on both sides of the refuge. The corridor would account for approximately 0.06 percent of the 315,000-acre Izembek National Wildlife Refuge. Currently, 131 acres of the proposed 206 acre project are designated as Wilderness.
Washington, D.C. – Alaskan Congressman Don Young released the following statement on the nomination of Joe Balash as the Department of Interior’s Assistant Secretary for Lands and Minerals Management:
“The work being done by this administration in the areas of energy and public lands – including efforts to unleash our nation’s energy potential and reform years of mismanagement by our agencies – is something we value greatly as Alaskans,” said Congressman Don Young. “Critical to these efforts is the appointment of individuals and staff that understand the real-world impacts and consequences their decisions have on public lands and resources-oriented states like mine. As the Congressman for the state that was often ground zero for the countless missteps of the previous Interior Department, I commend Secretary Zinke for making Alaska a top-priority as he assembles his team. The addition of Joe Balash – someone I’ve worked with closely during his service as the Chief of Staff to Senator Dan Sullivan, as a former Commissioner of the Alaska Department of Natural Resources and as an ardent supporter of responsible resource development – is an important step to begin solving the many challenges Alaskans and Americans have faced when dealing with the Department of the Interior.”
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Yesterday, the House Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources convened an oversight hearing titled "Promoting Onshore Oil and Gas Development in Alaska" to evaluate new opportunities for development in Alaska, particularly in areas of the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska and the Coastal Plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR).
“This hearing and the many conversations ahead are important steps for Alaska’s future,” Chairman Emeritus Don Young said following yesterday’s hearing. “As we work to refill the Trans-Alaska Pipeline and unleash Alaska’s energy potential, we must look for new opportunities to stabilize the regulatory environment, strengthen opportunities on the North Slope, and begin the process for unleashing the energy rich deposits within ANWR’s 1002. Today’s hearing, which included representatives from industry, regional corporations and labor, shows that Alaskans are united in our support for the responsible growth of our energy sector and economy. We understand that developing our state’s God-given natural resources can be done safely and to great benefit of our people and nation.”
Alaska witnesses testify before the House Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources (click here to watch full committee hearing)
The hearing, which featured a panel of four Alaskan witnesses, highlighted numerous benefits new exploration and developments upon federal lands in Alaska would provide local communities and the nation as whole. A number of highlights are included below:
Richard Glenn, Executive Vice President for Lands and Natural Resources of the Arctic Slope Regional Corporation (click here to watch):
Gary Dixon, Vice President of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 959 Alaska (click here to watch):
Scott Jepsen, Vice President of External Affairs and Transportation at ConocoPhillips Alaska (click here to watch):
Congressman Don Young, Chairman Emeritus of the House Natural Resources Committee (click here to watch):
Click here for more information on the oversight hearing entitled “Promoting Onshore Oil and Gas Development in Alaska.”
Click here to view full witness testimony.
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, U.S. Sen. Dan Sullivan, and U.S. Rep. Don Young, all R-Alaska, and Gov. Bill Walker, I-Alaska, yesterday sent a letter to Department of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, Department of the Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, and Department of Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao urging them to work together to resolve long-standing delays over the Cooper Landing Bypass in southcentral Alaska.
“We write to seek your coordinated assistance to resolve one of the longest-running regulatory disputes in Alaska,” the group wrote. “The dispute centers on the relocation of a 15-mile segment of Alaska Highway 1 (the Sterling Highway, from Milepost 45 to Milepost 60) along the Kenai River near Cooper Landing. We are now in the midst of the third Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for a new road segment in this area, but like most Alaskans, believe the Juneau Creek Alternative is by far the best option to improve safety and protect the local environment.”
The letter urges the secretaries to select the Juneau Creek Alternative because it can meet the state’s long-standing goal of building a bypass away from the Kenai River and around the tourist areas at Cooper Landing. The Juneau Creek Alternative is the best option to reduce traffic, accidents, and the potential for fuel and chemical spills into salmon streams and wildlife habitat. It is widely supported by Alaskans on the Kenai Peninsula.
“Alaskans and many others, representing a diverse array of interests and concerns, agree that the best route for a bypass is the Juneau Creek Alternative,” the group noted. “It will run 1.5 miles north of Kenai Lake, so it will not require any construction delays or new bridges crossing the rivers and will protect salmon and other key ecosystem drivers from most sediment and road runoff.”
The letter calls on the Departments to work together on this critical issue, which has gone unresolved for more than four decades.
“It is critical to the safety and health of both Alaskan motorists and our world-class salmon fisheries that your Departments work together to resolve this complicated issue before the completion of the current environmental review process,” the group concluded. “Accordingly, we urge you to actively support the selection of the Juneau Creek Alternative as the final preferred alternative for the bypass and take all other steps needed to allow the bypass to be constructed.”
A copy of the letter can be found here.
Washington, D.C. – Next week, the U.S. House of Representatives will focus its efforts on a number of Alaska-related items, including Congressman Don Young’s legislation to authorize the construction of a life-saving road from King Cove to Cold Bay, an oversight hearing on the development of Alaska’s onshore energy resources and a subcommittee review of the Magnuson-Stevens Act.
U.S. House to Consider Young’s King Cove Land Transfer Act:
Today, during the end-of-week colloquy, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy announced next week’s consideration of H.R. 218, the King Cove Land Exchange Act, on the floor of the U.S. House.
Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy discussing House schedule, including consideration of H.R. 218 (click here to watch).
The legislation – introduced by Congressman Don Young on the first day of the 115th Congress – will authorize an equal value land exchange to facilitate the construction of a life-saving road from King Cove to Cold Bay. Since passage of H.R. 218 in the House Natural Resources Committee, Young has worked with Majority Leader McCarthy and House leadership to move this legislation to the full House in order to resolve this longstanding issue in the near term. H.R. 218 is expected to reach the floor on Thursday, July 20, 2017.
Subcommittee to Consider Ways to Develop Alaska’s Onshore Energy Resources:
On Tuesday, July 18, 2017 at 10:00 AM (AK), 2:00 PM (Eastern) the Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources will hold an oversight hearing titled “Promoting Onshore Oil and Gas Development in Alaska.”
WHEN: Tuesday, July 18 @ 10:00AM (AK), 2:00 PM (Eastern)
WHERE: 1324 Longworth House Office Building or live streamed here.
This hearing will evaluate opportunities for new onshore oil and gas development on Federal lands in the State of Alaska, including areas of the National Strategic Petroleum Reserve-Alaska (NPR-A) and the Coastal Plain of ANWR. Witnesses include four Alaskans:
*For additional information on the hearing, click here.
Subcommittee Review on the Performance of the Magnuson-Stevens Act:
On Wednesday, July 19, 2017 at 10:00 AM (AK), 2:00 PM (Eastern) the Subcommittee on Water, Power and Oceans will hold an oversight hearing titled “Exploring the Successes and Challenges of the Magnuson-Stevens Act (MSA).”
WHEN: Wednesday, July 19 @ 10:00 AM (AK), 2:00 PM (Eastern)
WHERE: 1324 Longworth House Office Building or live streamed here.
As Chairman Emeritus of the House Natural Resources Committee and an original author of the 1976 MSA, Congressman Young has been selected to lead MSA reauthorization efforts in the U.S. House. Young is the sponsor of H.R. 200, the Strengthening Fishing Communities and Increasing Flexibility in Fisheries Management Act, which provides a number of modest but necessary updates to our nation’s fisheries management policies.
Washington, D.C. – Today, the U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved H.R. 2810, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2018, bipartisan legislation that focuses on reforming, repairing and rebuilding our nation’s military. The bill authorizes $695.9 billion in national defense spending for both domestic and overseas contingency operations, including a 2.4% pay increase for our troops, increases in end strength for each of the Armed Forces, and robust support for facilities and equipment modernization.
Congressman Young speaking on the passage of the FY18 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) (click here to watch).
“I’m happy to report to the Alaskan people that today we passed the National Defense Authorization Act; it was a good bill,” said Congressman Don Young. “It’s a bill that will train our troops, provide for our troops, give them raises, give them the equipment they need, and make sure the planes fly. Overall, it’s a good piece of legislation for the freedom of America. I’m very proud to be part of it and was happy to include a number of my amendments to the bill. One amendment would to authorize an addition of 28 ground-based interceptors – like those at Fort Greely. This is something Senator Sullivan and I have been working very hard on and we got it included in the House bill, which makes me very happy. We also have an authorization for icebreakers in the national defense bill. We believe this will allow the icebreakers to be built sooner than if the Coast Guard was operating on their own… I’m most proud of the fact that for the first time in eight years we’ll have the ability to ensure our troops are properly trained and properly provided with the equipment they need. I’m happy to report that we’ve been able to do this in a bipartisan way and it’s a very, very good bill. I feel much better today than I did yesterday about the security of this nation.”
The FY18 NDAA takes important steps to support our military men and women and their families, ensure our troops are trained and equipped, and restores military readiness. The bill outlines key national security policies, include efforts to combat ISIS, for the coming Fiscal Year. Congressman Young worked throughout the legislative process to include Alaska-focused priorities within the House-passed NDAA:
Arctic Security Capability and Resources Gap (Young Amendment):
Additional language in the NDAA secured by Congressman Young:
Additional Items of Interest Included in the FY17 NDAA:
Washington, D.C. – As the U.S. House of Representatives continues debate on the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2018, Alaska Congressman Don Young is pushing for the inclusion of an amendment to strengthen our nation’s missile defense systems and authorize the development of an additional 28 Ground-based Interceptors. Young’s amendment to the NDAA, expected to be voted on this evening, closely reflects legislation he introduced earlier this year with Senator Dan Sullivan – the Advancing America’s Missile Defense Act.
Congressman Young speaking in favor of his amendment to the FY18 NDAA (click here to watch).
“North Korea has conducted approximately 80 ballistic missile and three nuclear tests under the rogue and irrational dictatorship of Kim Jong-Un. Recent aggression makes matters even worse. On July 4, 2017 – our Independence Day – it was announced that North Korea launched its first Intercontinental Ballistic Missile – capable of reaching my home state of Alaska,” Congressman Young said during testimony to the House Rules Committee. “I believe this reckless and calculated behavior by the North Korean regime speaks volumes to the importance of the strategically placed U.S. missile defense capabilities, including the Ground-based interceptors at Fort Greely, AK and other elements of the nation's ballistic missile defense system. These forces guard this nation and are the first responders against weapons of mass destruction.”
Young says his amendment to strengthen America’s missile defense shield, including assets strategically located at Fort Greely, Alaska, is crucially important to address emerging threats by our nation’s adversaries. His amendment would:
Congressman Young, a long a supporter of Ground-based Midcourse Defense, was instrumental in bringing the Ballistic Missile Defense System element to Fort Greely, Alaska with the passage of the “All-American Resolution” in the late 1990’s. His resolution stated that any missile defense system deployed to protect the United States against the threat of ballistic missile attack should include the equal protection for all America, including Alaska, Hawaii, the territories and the commonwealths of the United States.
Washington, D.C. – Alaska Congressman Don Young, a member of the House Missile Defense Caucus, today applauded the successful U.S. Missile Defense Agency (MDA) intercept test of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) element of the nation's ballistic missile defense system, located at the Pacific-Spaceport Complex Alaska (PSCA) on Kodiak, Island.
“For years, intelligence reports have predicted North Korea would develop and test a ballistic missile capable of reaching the United States. Now that this day has come, we must be even more diligent and committed in our support for America’s missile defense shield, including numerous assets and technologies located in Alaska,” said Congressman Don Young. “Today’s successful MDA intercept test from Kodiak further provides the American people with a sense of safety and security in light of recent aggressions by North Korea. It’s a key example of our nation’s ongoing commitment to providing robust missile defense, ensuring our systems are properly tested and evaluated, and our space and launch infrastructure is well maintained. I commend the work and dedication of the MDA, the PSCA, our military men and women and all those that made this test an overwhelming success.”
Congressman Young is a longtime supporter of our nation’s missile defense systems and infrastructure. Over the past several years, he fought to bring the MDA back to Kodiak by including language in previous defense authorizations to enhance the capability of state-owned spaceports, like the Pacific Spaceport Complex-Alaska. Congressman Young is the recent sponsor of H.R. 2912, the Advancing America’s Missile Defense Act of 2017, legislation he introduced with Senator Dan Sullivan (R-AK) to address global threats through several means:
Washington, D.C. – Today, the House Natural Resources Committee passed legislation introduced by Alaska Congressman Young – H.R. 218, the King Cove Land Exchange Act – to authorize a land exchange to facilitate the construction of a life-saving road from the isolated community of King Cove to the City of Cold Bay, the home to an all-weather airport featuring Alaska’s fifth-longest runway. The committee passage of H.R. 218 comes one day after the Department of Interior issued a permit to the State of Alaska to begin an initial assessment on construction of the 11-mile road.
Congressman Young speaking on behalf of H.R. 218 during the House Natural Resources Committee (click here to watch).
“I remind everybody in this room, 19 people have died because they didn’t have this road. Just put yourself in that position, as you sit here,” said Congressman Don Young during the Committee markup. “If you’d like to have your mother, or your sister, or your brother or your aunt or someone die because there isn’t a road that’s 11 miles long. And the national wildlife refuge could get 43,000 acres for 206 acres. This is a deal of a lifetime for the Refuge… We are very frankly going to go forth because of the Administration. Sally Jewell was wrong. She actually believed a goose was more important that human life…I want you to understand that this is crucial to human life.”
Congressman Young introduced H.R. 218 on January 3, 2017 to authorize an equal value land exchange between the State of Alaska and the federal government for a 206-acre land corridor. Under the legislation, identical to legislation introduced by Senator Lisa Murkowski and Senator Dan Sullivan, up to 43,093 acres of non-federal lands owned by the State of Alaska would be eligible for transfer to the Department of the Interior (DOI) and added to the Izembek National Wildlife Refuge as designated Wilderness in an equal value land exchange. In return, the State of Alaska will receive 206 acres of federal lands for the construction of an 11-mile, gravel, one-lane, non-commercial road segment that will connect existing roads on both sides of the refuge. The corridor would account for approximately 0.06 percent of the 315,000-acre Izembek National Wildlife Refuge. Currently, 131 acres of the proposed 206 acre project are designated as Wilderness.
“Secretary Jewell’s heartless denial of the King Cove emergency access road was a willful and deliberate dismissal of human life in the name of wildlife; it represented one of the worst government actions I’ve seen in all my years in Congress,” Congressman Don Young stated upon Committee passage of H.R. 218. “And since that decision, the community has experienced 53 medivacs in often treacherous conditions. This legislation is an important step to ensuring the people of King Cove have safe and reliable transportation during medical emergencies. It’s appalling that this fight has taken decades, but I’m extremely optimistic that under the current administration we can finally resolve this issue and facilitate the construction of this 11-mile, life-saving road from King Cove to Cold Bay. I thank Chairman Bishop for moving this commonsense proposal and look forward to its passage in the House.”
“For too long access to healthcare for the tribes and residents of King Cove has been tied to the ineffective federal bureaucracy. I commend Rep. Young for his leadership on this locally supported land exchange bill,” House Natural Resources Chairman Rob Bishop (R-UT) said. “The Trump administration has already shown its willingness to begin addressing this important issue.”
King Cove is located between two volcanic mountains near the end of the Alaska Peninsula, about 625 miles southwest of Anchorage. Since Secretary Sally Jewell’s heartless denial of the King Cove road in 2013, the community has experienced 53 medivacs – including 17 by the U.S. Coast Guard – in often harsh weather conditions. In the past, plane crashes have led to multiple fatalities that could have been avoided had road transportation been an option. Without the road, local residents continue to be at the mercy of high winds, dense fog, and strong storms that prevent safe and timely transportation during medical emergencies.
Washington, D.C. – Alaska Congressman Don Young today issued the following statement in response to the Trump administration’s proposed rule to effectively roll back the Obama-era Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule and re-codify the Clean Water Act (CWA) as it existed prior to 2015:
“The WOTUS rule represented so much of what was wrong with the Obama administration – a sweeping expansion of federal jurisdiction, undermining the integrity of longstanding federal-state partnerships, ignoring the opposition of local stakeholders and a majority of states – all through the unilateral action of a federal agency. It’s absolutely the wrong way to govern.
“I was pleased to see the Trump administration take action – efforts that closely reflect the work of Congress – to review and ultimately overturn this shortsighted rule. If allowed to stand, there’s no question in my mind this rule would have created insurmountable hurdles for even the most basic activity and development in Alaska – resulting in endless litigation, higher costs, and prolonged delays across every corner of our already sensitive economy.
“I am hopeful this action represents the end for the WOTUS rule and an EPA that no longer exceeds its authority, respects existing legal precedent established by the Supreme Court and the rights of states under the CWA.”
Background (Courtesy of the EPA):
Today, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Army, and the Army Corps of Engineers (the agencies) released a proposed rule to rescind the Clean Water Rule and re-codify the regulatory text that existed prior to 2015 defining "waters of the United States" or WOTUS. For the pre-publication Federal Register Notice and additional information click here.
This action would, when finalized, provide certainty in the interim, pending a second rulemaking in which the agencies will engage in a substantive re-evaluation of the definition of "waters of the United States." The proposed rule would be implemented in accordance with Supreme Court decisions, agency guidance, and longstanding practice.
This proposed rule follows the February 28, 2017, Presidential Executive Order on "Restoring the Rule of Law, Federalism, and Economic Growth by Reviewing the 'Waters of the United States' Rule." The February Order states that it is in the national interest to ensure that the Nation's navigable waters are kept free from pollution, while at the same time promoting economic growth, minimizing regulatory uncertainty, and showing due regard for the roles of Congress and the States under the Constitution. To meet these objectives, the agencies intend to follow an expeditious, two-step process that will provide certainty across the country.
The proposed rule would recodify the identical regulatory text that was in place prior to the 2015 Clean Water Rule and that is currently in place as a result of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit's stay of the 2015 rule. Therefore, this action, when final, will not change current practice with respect to how the definition applies.
The agencies have also begun deliberations and outreach on the second step rulemaking involving a re-evaluation and revision of the definition of "waters of the United States" in accordance with the President Trump’s Executive Order.
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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.
TY for standing w/ people of King Cove. After 30+years, its past time we resolve this life or death issue. https://t.co/hCHFXwQLBn
Proud to lead House-passage of King Cove Road Land Exchange Act, a matter of life or death for people of King Cove.… https://t.co/TQhb5mMBUZ
Alaska is united in its effort to resolve this longstanding issue for the people of King Cove. https://t.co/WaKAJzfCDi