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President Urged to Honor the Law on ANWR

AG Opinion to Creating Coastal Monument

December 3, 2010, Juneau, Alaska - Citing a legal opinion that a proposed unilateral executive action would be illegal, Governor Sean Parnell today wrote to President Obama urging him to reject the advice of a group of U.S. senators and environmental groups to create a monument of the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR).

“The State of Alaska strongly opposes any measures that would further encumber job potential and domestic energy production on the coastal plain of ANWR, the most promising unexplored petroleum region in North America,” Governor Parnell wrote to the president. “Beyond this, there are compelling legal reasons that argue against a monument designation. The State of Alaska Department of Law has reviewed this matter and determined that such action would violate federal law, unless ratified by both houses of Congress.”

“This lobbying effort by the senators and environmental groups simply ignores the law,” said Attorney General Dan Sullivan.

In his legal opinion of December 1, Sullivan said there is no ambiguity about the relevant portion of the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act: “This provision precludes any permanent, unilateral executive designation of the refuge, including the coastal plain, as a national monument.”

The governor noted that development of the ANWR coastal plain is not of consequence just to the Alaska economy but also to national security, given that America imports much of its energy, in large part from regions hostile to its interests.

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