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Key-vote alert for Murkowski amendment #166
Vote s39-2015

Today, the Senate will vote on amendment #166 by Senator Murkowski to S. 1, which would reinforce that Congress has the sole authority in designating wilderness areas.

While the administration can recommend areas to be designated as wilderness area, they do not have the authority to designate the land on its own. This amendment would ensure they are not overstepping that authority by making it clear that if Congress does not act to affirmably designate the recommended area within one year than the administration can no longer treat that land as if it is a wildness area.

This is especially important given the President’s recent announcement that he was asking Congress to designate an additional 12 million acres of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, better known as ANWR, as a wilderness area. Because the land is already managed as a refuge, the practical import of the wilderness designation is to make the 1002 area of the coastal plain, which Congress specifically designated to examine for natural gas and oil potential, off limits to development. This would put billions of barrels of taxpayer-owned oil off limits.

This is unfortunately yet another unilateral action by this administration that attempts to bypass the will of the American people and Congress. The Obama administration has routinely gone around Congress by continuing to treat areas as wilderness even if Congress disagrees with the designation. This reform would provide an important check on the executive and make it harder for them to lock up land in order to prevent development.

The American Energy Alliance supports this amendment and it will be included in our American Energy Scorecard. YES IS THE PRO-ENERGY, PRO-CHECKS AND BALANCES, AND PRO-HUMAN FLOURISHING VOTE.

AEA Position: Yes

Vote result on 2015-01-28

Amendment Rejected

(50 to 48)

  • Voted Yes
  • Voted No
  • Did Not Vote