Alaska governor disapproves Biden administration’s intent to change WOTUS

In this July 13, 2007, Associated Press file photo, a worker with the Pebble Mine project digs...
In this July 13, 2007, Associated Press file photo, a worker with the Pebble Mine project digs in the Bristol Bay region of Alaska near the village of Iliamna, Alaska.(AL Grillo | AP)
Updated: Jun. 12, 2021 at 3:38 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Gov. Mike Dunleavy shoots back at the Biden administration’s announcement to redefine the “waters of the United States,” because he said it will supposedly cause more issues than environmental benefits.

“Alaska’s management of our lands and waters is a model for the nation. Nearly half the nation’s water is within Alaska, with over three million lakes, 365,000 miles of rivers, and countless unnavigable glaciers, permafrost, and wetlands,” Dunleavy said in a press release on Saturday. “For the Biden administration and the EPA to redefine waters is nothing more than a naked power grab for federal rule from Washington, D.C.”

The alleged “power grab” is said to increase the expenses and timelines of Alaska projects, without showing definite benefits to the environment, according to the governor.

On Wednesday, the EPA and the Department of the Army announced their intent to revise the WOTUS definition in an effort to “better protect” the “nation’s vital water sources.”

Both agencies were requested by President Joe Biden to review the 2020 Navigable Waters Protection Rule that was published in April last year during Trump’s administration.

Upon completing their review, both agencies determined that the rule has caused serious reductions of clean water protections throughout the nation, according to the EPA’s press release.

“A broad array of stakeholders—including states, Tribes, local governments, scientists, and non-governmental organizations—are seeing destructive impacts to critical water bodies under the 2020 rule,” said the EPA release.

It also noted that there are 333 projects that were not required to obtain permits before discharging materials into U.S. waters, which would not have been the case prior to the 2020 rule change.

Dunleavy, however, pointed out in his response that the possible change could damage Alaska’s efforts to harvest timber, develop oil and gas and mine critical minerals “needed for national security.” He also claimed that it could also affect farming and hunting in Alaska.

“It would be less insulting to the State of Alaska if the Biden EPA came out transparently with its intent to turn our land into a national park under the management of rangers,” Dunleavy said.

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