Republican Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski came under heavy criticism from her Republican election opponent yesterday over how she is handling the Biden administration’s approach to oil and natural gas.
Kelly Tshibaka, who is seeking to unseat Murkowski this fall, criticized Murkowski’s vote to confirm Interior Secretary Deb Haaland. She pointed to the administration’s efforts to block drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and its review of Project Willow, a ConocoPhillips oil and gas development project.
“I don’t think this vote was in Alaska’s best interests,” Tshibaka said at a candidates’ forum hosted by the Alaska Oil and Gas Association. She pointed to Haaland’s actions thwarting drilling in Alaska’s National Petroleum Reserve and the Cook Inlet. “She has shown that she cannot be trusted.”
She also blamed Haaland for delays in an effort to build a road through the Izembek National Wildlife Refuge, giving residents of tiny King Cove access to an airport. The Justice Department said the effort is expected to continue amid a legal battle over it (green wireAugust 8).
Haaland could make a decision, but chose not to act or comment publicly. Tshibaka also lamented the suspension of a controversial road to a mining district (green wireFebruary 23).
“We should have gotten something else out of this deal,” Tshibaka said of confirming Haaland, who Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) also voted for, and who was then a representative. Don Young (R-Alaska) backed. “And our delegation could have done something better.”
Murkowski, who chaired the energy and natural resources committee and remains a senior member, defended her record and said what she did helped the state. Haaland would have been confirmed with or without his vote, Murkowski explained.
“The question is what kind of relationship do you want to have with the Home Secretary, who is actually our landlord,” she said. “In order to try to be able to move forward, finally, after so many years, a small connecting road to King Cove, we need to be able to speak to the secretary. Like it or not, it’s her department that oversees what we’re going to do with Willow,” she continued.
“You have to have the ability to talk to someone over there in the department.”
Tshibaka, the former commissioner of the Alaska Department of Administration, went on to criticize Murkowski’s handling of his Senate seniority.
“Seniority could be used to block credits, to make agencies stand up to fire for authorizing permission rules, area plans and lease sales – we haven’t done that,” he said. she declared.
“It could be used to block candidates or oppose candidates to trade things for Alaska. It could be used to keep ANWR open after getting ANWR … It can be used for relationships on all sides to get things done for Alaska, not DC insiders,” she continued., accusing Murkowski of waging a “vendetta” against Trump. “Seniority doesn’t help when you waste it.”
Tshibaka said it was the job of the Alaska congressional delegation “not to play on the Biden team, but to be a good goalie.”
Tshibaka then called on the Senate to “open the personnel files” of Interior Ministry employees who worked on the environmental review of ANWR’s drilling and to investigate the ministry’s handling of the Willow project. it is rejected.
Power Generation Agreement
The two candidates reached agreement on key energy policy issues, including that Alaska should produce more oil and gas and that federal permits should be changed to be more favorable to projects.
“We recognize that our environmental laws, our environmental rules, cannot be used to stop, to kill these projects that are so important to our resources and our resource opportunities,” Murkowski said.
Tshibaka has the backing of former President Donald Trump and the Alaska Republican Party in his bid to unseat Murkowski. The incumbent senator’s clashes with Trump, including last year’s vote to convict him for impeachment, have led Trump and his allies to work for his ouster.
Thanks to Alaska’s new ranked voting system, no Republicans were eliminated in last month’s primary. Instead, the top four from the nonpartisan primary — Murkowski, Tshibaka, Democrat Patricia Chesbro and Republican Buzz Kelley — will appear on the November ballot and voters will rank them. Chesbro attended the forum. Kelley was invited but did not show up.
In addition to criticism of the Biden administration, the two Republicans have clashed over last year’s bipartisan infrastructure law, which Murkowski voted for.
Murkowski noted that Alaska has already received $2 billion from the new law. “And it’s not just for roads and rails. This is for bridges, this is for ports, this is for ports, this is for water, this is for sewage, this is for broadband,” he said. she declared.
Tshibaka argued that Alaska receives only a small portion of the law’s funding and said that fuels inflation.
“It’s like the government gives us $100 and we have to fight like crazy for 50 cents,” she said. “We got a raw deal out of it and we should have done a lot better. All he has done is advance Biden’s climate change agenda.
. Murkowski challenger GOP battle on Haaland drill the roads