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EPA announces intent to change “Waters of the U.S.” definition, increase protections

Updated: Jun. 14, 2021 at 4:15 PM AKDT
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - On Saturday, June 12, the Environmental Protection Agency announced its intent to change the definition of Waters of the United States.

The move, which aims to protect the nation’s water resources, received criticism from Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy.

In a statement on Saturday, the governor called the move a power grab, and said that the new definition will put Alaskans’ ability to farm and hunt in danger.

While in Fairbanks on Thursday, June 10, Dunleavy spoke about the impact of the Biden administration’s environmental policy on Alaskan resource development.

“It adds up to a deficit to the state of Alaska. We’re not California. We’re not Texas. We don’t have a high tech industry, we don’t have a bottling company industry, and we don’t have a massive agricultural industry. It’s a very narrow set of industries here in the state of Alaska, so we have to capitalize on those,” the governor said. “Our statehood act and our constitution compel us to capitalize on those. We’d love to grow our agricultural sector. We’d love to have an aerospace sector. We’d love to have what other states have. We don’t.”

On Friday, June 11, Governor Dunleavy also responded to the Biden Administration’s reinstatement of a roadless rule governing logging and road building in Tongass National Forest.

The governor called the move a bad decision and vowed to push back with every tool available.

Since President Biden’s inauguration, his administration has been at odds with Governor Dunleavy on a number of issues which include leasing in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and the resumption of the cruise industry in Alaska.

In May, the president’s administration filed a brief defending the Willow oil development project in the National Petroleum Reserve - Alaska.

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