This photo composite shows Alaska’s congressional delegation, from left to right, Sen. Dan Sullivan, Sen. Lisa Murkowski, Rep. Don Young, all Republicans. Following President Joe Biden's State of the Union address Alaska's delegation called for increased U.S. energy development. (Michael Penn / Juneau Empire file)

Delegation urges energy production following State of the Union

Alaska’s lawmakers say energy is unused weapon

Following President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address Alaska’s congressional delegation again urged the president to allow more energy production in the U.S.

Alaska’s national lawmakers have called for additional resource production in the U.S. as a way to counter rising fuel prices and secure the nation’s supply chains and Tuesday reiterated those arguments.

“The President has chosen to not engage, to not engage literally with energy as a means of sanctions,” said U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, in a statement.

Murkowski said Biden’s decision to release millions of barrels of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserves would only temporarily alleviate gas prices.

“But, this is inconsistent and, in my view, almost hypocritical that we would allow Russia to be able to provide this country with oil while we provide dollars to Russia to help them finance this war against Ukraine,” Murkowski said.

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Ahead of Biden’s address Tuesday, U.S. Sen. Dan Sullivan was one of 23 Republican Senators to sign a letter to the president urging more development of petroleum and mineral projects. The letter — also signed by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky — listed 12 actions for the Biden administration to take to support American energy.

“You recently told the American people in a press conference that your Administration was using ‘every tool at our disposal to protect American families and businesses from rising prices at the gas pump’ and ‘taking active steps to bring down the cost.’ Mr. President, respectfully, that is not true and the facts show it,” the letter stated.

Some of the recommendations put forward by the senators include restarting and fast-tracking the Keystone XL pipeline and other similar project; commit to fast-tracking energy production on federal lands including the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, the National Petroleum Reserve of Alaska and the Gulf of Mexico and reinstate a proposed 2021 rule preventing U.S. financial institutions from refusing invest in energy projects.

The letter also suggested the president terminate the White House positions of Climate Czar and Special Presidential Envoy for Climate.

Sullivan said on social media Monday the left was engaged in a “holy war” against American energy.

Republican senators also urged the president to greatly increase spending on the military and to urge NATO allies to meet their own goals for defense spending.

“You must put forward a robust, real increase in defense spending focused on the current and future readiness and lethality of our force,” senators said.

Alaska’s lone U.S. Rep. Don Young, R-Alaska, said in a statement Biden’s address, “didn’t have a lot of success to cover.”

Young called rising inflation a “cruel tax on the poor” and said the president should be getting America’s fiscal house in order.

“President Biden doubled down on failed tax and spend policies that got us here in the first place. On energy, the President wasn’t any better,” Young said.

While Alaska’s lawmakers did praise the president for his tone on Russia and the Ukraine invasion but said the administration’s energy policies were beneficial to Russia and America’s adversaries.

“I certainly appreciate what has been put in place with financial sanctions, but we see how Putin has used energy as a weapon, as a tool in this effort in Ukraine and clearly with Europe,” Murkowski said.

President Joe Biden greets people after his first State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress at the Capitol, Tuesday, March 1, 2022, in Washington. (Sarahbeth Maney/The New York Times via AP, Pool)

• Contact reporter Peter Segall at psegall@juneauempire.com. Follow him on Twitter at @SegallJnuEmpire.

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