- Associated Press - Monday, March 23, 2015

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) - U.S. Sen. Dan Sullivan on Monday said fighting federal overreach and pushing for a continued military presence in Alaska are among his priorities.

Sullivan made his comments in addressing a joint session of the state Legislature. Such addresses are tradition among Alaska’s U.S. senators, and this was the first for Sullivan, a Republican who won election last November.

Sullivan said his efforts to limit the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency include support for a bill that provides fishing vessels with an exemption to certain discharge regulations, and hearings in Alaska on the Clean Water Act that he’ll chair next month.

Sullivan said the U.S. Senate has been working on a version of the federal budget over the past two months, with several votes planned this week. The budget being put forward will work toward balancing the budget over the next 10 years and developing the nation’s economy, he said.

“We’re going to work hard and pass a budget this year, something that has rarely happened in the last seven years of the United States Congress,” he said.

Sullivan said his committee assignments have also positioned him to work on other legislation, including a military suicide prevention act that passed in February, and a sportsman bill that would provide opportunity for hunting and fishing on federal lands.

He also talked about the need to maintain a military presence in Alaska, particularly as Russia beefs up its resources in the Arctic.

“You put military forces in forward places like Alaska so you don’t have to use them,” he said.

Sullivan praised lawmakers for their work in fighting against areas in which it believes the federal government is overreaching, specifically referencing resolutions that supported drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, and for pushing the federal government to get involved in Arctic issues.

Lawmakers also questioned Sullivan on a variety of issues.

In response to one question, Sullivan said he wanted to see a U.S. Supreme Court nominee who believed in limited government, and who would take a “textualist approach” to looking at the document, not one who believed in a living constitution.

He also said he opposed the United States signing on to the international Law of the Sea treaty because it could result in the United Nations imposing taxes on American entities. In 2011, the Legislature passed a resolution urging federal support for the treaty.

Sullivan also said he would continue trying to limit the EPA, Transportation Security Administration and executive power in general in response to several questions.

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