Senator Murkowski: Obama Admin “Repeatedly Denied Alaska’s Best Opportunities”

November 3, 2015 in Blog, Local Perspective

Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), in the weekly Republican address that aired over the weekend, roundly criticized the Obama administration for crafting energy policies that are hostile to energy production in the Arctic.

In the address, Senator Murkowski rebuked the federal government for creating a “constantly-shifting regulatory environment” in the Arctic:

“Since taking office, the Obama administration has repeatedly denied Alaska’s best opportunities to produce energy for our nation and the world. … In the Chukchi Sea, the constantly-shifting regulatory environment recently forced a company to abandon seven years of work and $7 billion in investment. And instead of recognizing that as a significant loss, the administration doubled down last week by canceling offshore lease sales in the region.”

She also highlighted the absurdity of throwing up roadblocks to U.S. energy production while facilitating energy development in other countries:

“All of these decisions ignore the will of hard-working Alaskans, who overwhelmingly support new production. The administration is opening the door for Iranian oil production, but closing it on Alaskan oil. … These decisions mean fewer jobs, less security for our country, and more of our dollars going overseas.”

In addition, Senator Murkowski touched on the livelihood of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System (TAPS), which delivers oil from Alaska to the Lower 48, contributes essential tax revenues to the state government, and is currently faced with extinction as throughput continues to decline. The anti-energy decisions made by the Obama Administration “threaten the safe operation of our Trans-Alaska Pipeline, a national security asset that is just one-third full,” she said.

Senator Murkowski has long been outspoken in her frustration and disappointment with the Obama administration’s approach toward energy development in her state. When Shell announced that the regulatory hurdles thrown in its way made continued operation in the Arctic too expensive, she said,

“What we have here is a case in which a company’s commercial efforts could not overcome a burdensome and often contradictory regulatory environment.”

When the Department of the Interior cancelled offshore Arctic lease sales that had originally been scheduled for 2016 and 2017, she said,

“This is a stunning, short-sighted move that betrays the Interior Department’s commitments to Alaska and the best interests of our nation’s long-term energy security. Today’s decision is the latest in a destructive pattern of hostility toward energy production in our state that began the first day this administration took office, and continued ever since.”

On behalf of her constituents, she said,

“So if you’re an Alaskan and you’re reading the headlines, you have to wonder, what’s going on within Interior? Why do they have it out for us?”

But Senator Murkowski is hardly alone in her outrage toward the Obama administration’s policies that are plainly hostile to domestic energy development, particularly in the Arctic. She is joined by other elected officials in Alaska, including Governor Bill Walker (I), Senator Dan Sullivan (R-AK), Rep. Don Young (R-AK), Alaska House Majority Representative Ben Negeak (D-Barrow), Alaska Speaker of the House Mike Chenault (R-Kenai), Northwest Arctic Borough Mayor Reggie Joule. Native Alaskans, too, are deeply pained by the steps taken by the federal government to limit what many consider to be the lifeblood of their communities. With such sweeping opposition to the Obama administration’s Arctic policies, it remains an open question whom the government is listening to – certainly not the Alaskans, whose pleas continue to fall on deaf ears.