Leaders in the fossil fuel industry slammed Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s record of harming the Alaskan energy sector on Wednesday.
Speaking at the Energy Summit hosted by Alaska Republican U.S. Senate candidate Kelly Tshibaka, energy entrepreneur Harold Hamm and Matt Coday, president of the Oil & Gas Workers Association, highlighted Murkowski’s tie-breaking committee vote to advance the nomination of Interior Secretary Deb Haaland. The secretary led the Biden administration’s assault on Alaska’s energy producers.
The administration has created at least two dozen executive actions aimed at Alaska, endangering thousands of energy jobs in the process.
Before casting her vote for Haaland’s nomination, Murkowski admitted that she had “been more than a little disappointed in some of her responses” in extensive conversations between the two.
“The Biden administration picked [Haaland] because they knew that she was going to do everything that she could to shut down development, not only in Alaska, but on federal land everywhere,” Hamm said at the summit. “I can’t understand anybody who would vote for her nomination.”
Hamm is one of the greatest energy entrepreneurs in the 21st century. He built an energy startup, Continental Resources, into a top ten oil producer that is traded on the NYSE.
“We need votes we can count on, that America can count on, for energy. A lot of times you don’t know where she stands and that’s not good. You have to have a clear-cut, ‘I’m here, I believe in American energy, believe in energy independence, this is good for America,’” Hamm continued. “The vote from Alaska and from this senator should be one that you can count and count on. And that just hasn’t always been the case, unfortunately.”
Coday, who represents more than 45,000 oil and gas workers across 33 states, said Murkowski’s vote to approve Haaland was “a slap in the face to every American who works in this industry.”
“We knew before the vote that Interior Secretary Deb Haaland would be against our jobs, that she was out to get our jobs, and she hasn’t disappointed on that front,” Coday said. “And for Lisa Murkowski, for her to cast the tie-breaking vote to advance her confirmation, it’s really a slap in the face of every American who works in this industry.”
“Sen. Murkowski, we thought when you were elected that you would represent us, that you would fight for American oil and gas workers,” he added. “All of your votes since have confirmed that you’re not willing to go to D.C. and fight for us.”
Murkowski has not just voted to confirm Haaland, who has hurt the Alaskan energy sector. She also voted to confirm Attorney General Merrick Garland. The attorney general in 2021 declined to appeal a federal judge’s ruling against the massive Willow oil and gas project. The large energy project would have created thousands of jobs and brought billions of dollars in investments to “The Last Frontier,” Alaska’s nickname. Murkowski voted for the federal judge who ruled to block the Willow plan.
“She is and will continue to be a superb judge,” Murkowski said after that vote.
Tshibaka slammed Murkowski at the summit for enabling unelected and unchecked administrative state officials to damage Alaskan energy.
“We know that these federal agencies blow through the regulations, the timelines, the scope limitations and law, regularly. They’re supposed to have them done in two years – our average now is four-and-a-half years or longer,” Tshibaka stated. “Then agencies get a final record of decision, and instead, that’s not final. They have to go through the process two or three times, our companies do, and the federal government is inserting risk into the process, making it costly.”
“That’s why we see companies pulling out of Alaska and investors pulling out,” Tshibaka continued. “It’s really time that Congress lock down on that and hold agencies accountable through budget cuts and appropriations or having multiple hearings before committees.”