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ANCHORAGE—Governor Bill Walker returned to Alaska Thursday after a day of meetings in Washington, D.C., with key Obama administration officials. Governor Walker requested the meetings shortly after Shell announced on Sun., Sept. 27, that it would halt its efforts on Arctic development. Lieutenant Governor Byron Mallott remained on Capitol Hill today to continue meetings with federal officials.
“It’s important that Alaska maintain an open line of communication with federal officials,” Governor Walker said. “On the heels of last week’s news of Shell’s withdrawal from Arctic exploration, compounded by low oil prices and production, it is imperative that Alaskans take hold of our destiny. We are more than capable of fixing our own problems; we can self-heal—but we must have access to our resources.”
Governor Walker and Lt. Governor Mallott met with President Barack Obama’s senior advisor, Brian Deese, and U.S. Department of Interior Secretary Sally Jewell about increasing oil production. They also discussed with U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx the importance of expediting the Alaska Railroad permit for transporting liquefied natural gas from Southcentral to Fairbanks.
While in the nation’s capital, Governor Walker and Lt. Governor Mallott also met with U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell about ensuring Alaska health insurers’ marketplace competitiveness.
Alaska Department of Natural Resources Commissioner Mark Myers and Department of Health and Social Services Commissioner Valerie Davidson joined Governor Walker and Lt. Governor Mallott in their meetings.
Lt. Governor Mallott will meet today with federal officials and Senator Lisa Murkowski’s staff to discuss the reauthorization of the Denali Commission and its role in coordinating federal and state responses to village relocation and overall rural Alaska needs.
“I can’t emphasize enough how grateful we are for the hard work of our Congressional delegation,” Lt. Governor Mallott said. “Senator Lisa Murkowski, Congressman Don Young and Senator Dan Sullivan are in our nation’s capital, fighting for Alaskans on these issues.”