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Parnell: State Discusses Paying Feds to Open Lands

Published On: Dec 24 2013 06:48:22 AM AKST   Updated On: Oct 10 2013 08:20:09 PM AKDT

Gov. Sean Parnell said he spoke Thursday with Interior Department Sec. Sally Jewell about the possibility of the state stepping in to make sure federal lands are not off limits to Alaskans during the ongoing partial government shutdown.

"Effectively, the state could pay for U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to operate the refuges in this time when government is shut down," Parnell said.

Parnell said he met with the Alaska Department of Natural Resources commissioner, Fish and Game commissioner and the Attorney General to discuss options and to figure out logistics if the state were to step in.

"We're evaluating whether or not the state will be paying for that," he said. "My sense at this juncture is we need more information from the Interior (Department) and we're working on that."

Whatever is decided, Parnell said the shutdown "is a mess, and it's costing Alaskans their livelihoods."

"It's now starting to impact state government operations as well."