By Libby Casey
Alaska Congressman Don Young has signed on to a letter with other House Republicans demanding more information about a leaked Interior Department report.
The draft internal report came to light last week. It lists places in the nation potentially worthy of federal protection, and includes two Alaska locations: Bristol By and Teshekpuk Lake in the western Arctic.
The Interior Department says the report was just the result of brainstorming and no decisions have been made.
But Representative Young and others are crying foul and say they want more information about the Interior Department’s intentions, and whether they plan to try and protect the areas with “monument designations.”
I want to put it in writing that they’re not going to put those in monuments. Then we’ve got a court battle. I don’t think they can do it, I think we’d win in court. I hope that they have the wisdom to say this was staff effort and we won’t do this.
Young says the Interior Department can’t act without Congressional approval, and he complains they’re trying to stop resource development. Bristol Bay and Teshekpuk Lake are at the center of controversies over mining and oil and gas development. Environmentalists say they should be protected.
The Republican Congressmen are demanding the Department turn over documentation about its research. They only saw part of the leaked report, and want the rest of it. They’re also asking for more insight into who participated in any discussions, and want all documents about the issue. They want all emails, plans, and meeting notes.