Jewell: No Plan Afoot to Declare ANWR Monument

President Obama infuriated Alaska’s political leaders when he announced in January he would ask Congress to protect more land within the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge as wilderness, forever off-limits to oil drilling. Some, including Sen. Lisa Murkowski, predict Obama will act on his own to bar development, by using the Antiquities Act to declare ANWR a national monument. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell said today that’s not in the works.

“There’s no discussions in the Administration right now about monument status for the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge,” she said.  She then repeated it in response to a reporter’s question: “There are no plans the Administration has for using the national monument designation or the Antiquities Act for the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.”

Jewell, though, does not agree that the “no more” clause of the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act would prohibit the president from declaring new national monuments in Alaska.

“I’m not an expert on the legal status but I believe we could use the Antiquities Act,” Jewell said. “But there are no plans to do so in Alaska at this time.”



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Liz Ruskin covers Alaska issues in Washington as the network's D.C. correspondent. She was born in Anchorage and is a West High grad. She has degrees from the University of Washington and the University of Missouri School of Journalism in Columbia. She previously worked at the Homer News, the Anchorage Daily News and the Washington bureau of McClatchy Newspapers. She also freelanced for several years from the U.K. and Japan, in print and radio. Liz has been APRN’s Washington, D.C. correspondent since October 2013. She's @lruskin on Twitter. She welcomes your news tips at lruskin (at) alaskapublic (dot) org  | About Liz

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