🎙️Sullivan’s Biden Blast, Begich’s Bow-out Blueprint

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Today’s Key Takeaways: Sullivan to Biden “You are lawless and a liar.” Murkowski, Sullivan, and Peltola defend Donlin. Begich creates a Republican primary within ranked choice voting process by pledging to drop out if he loses to Dahlstrom in primary.


Biden ‘doesn’t have the authority’ to limit oil and gas leasing in Alaska: Dan Sullivan
Kaelan Deese, Washington Examiner, April 22, 2024

President Joe Biden “doesn’t have the authority” to restrict new oil and gas leasing on federal petroleum reserves in Alaska, Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-AK) said Sunday in response to the Democratic administration’s environmental protection plan.

“Leaders of the North Slope of Alaska were unanimous in opposition to this,” Sullivan said Sunday, adding that Biden was not being forthright about the wants of Alaska Native communities in regard to the new oil and gas leasing rule. Sullivan’s comments come days after the Biden administration finalized a rule on Friday to freeze new fossil fuel leases on nearly half of the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska.

In a statement released Friday, Biden touted the restrictions, saying that he is “proud that my Administration is taking action to conserve more than 13 million acres in the Western Arctic and to honor the culture, history, and enduring wisdom of Alaska Natives who have lived on and stewarded these lands since time immemorial.”

The reserve is more than 23 million acres of public land and is also an underground emergency oil supply for the U.S. Navy that was designated in the 1920s. It’s also become the site of the ConocoPhillips-owned Willow project, an oil drilling venture that has angered some environmental advocates.

“As I say, [it’s] national security suicide,” Sullivan said on CBS News’s Face the Nation on Sunday, calling it “a lie” for the Biden administration to claim that the indigenous population of Alaska wanted the new anti-drilling rule.

“It is a lie. Go see what the indigenous people of Alaska from my part of the state said,” Sullivan said, adding, “It’s lawless, and he doesn’t have the authority to do it.”



In Donlin lawsuit, Murkowski, Sullivan, and Peltola come to mining project’s defense
Nathaniel Herz, Northern Journal, April 24, 2024

Alaska’s congressional delegation, in documents filed in federal court late Tuesday, called the proposed Donlin mine one of the state’s “most important and necessary economic development projects.”

Alaska’s three-member, bipartisan congressional delegation is siding with boosters of the major proposed Donlin mine in an ongoing lawsuit filed by tribal governments that seeks to invalidate the Southwest Alaska project’s federal environmental approvals.

Republican U.S. Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan and Democratic U.S. Rep. Mary Peltola, in documents filed in federal court late Tuesday, called the proposed Southwest Alaska mine one of the state’s “most important and necessary economic development projects.” 

And they say that blocking the mine’s construction would stop one of the state’s largest Alaska Native-owned corporations, Calista, from “developing its natural resources in defiance of the commitment to economic self-determination” contained in the federal legislation that settled Indigenous land claims.

The lawmakers’ proposed friend-of-the-court brief aligns them with Calista, which owns the mineral rights in the location of the proposed mine and intervened in the lawsuit in defense of the environmental approvals — as did the company developing the project and Republican Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s administration.



Begich makes a pledge: He’ll drop out of Alaska’s U.S. House race if Dahlstrom bests him in primary.
Liz Ruskin, Alaska Public Media, April 23, 2024

Conservatives hoping to defeat Alaska Congresswoman Mary Peltola in November dread a replay of what happened in 2022, when Republican candidates Sarah Palin and Nick Begich III spent most of their campaign energy attacking each other, right up to the general election, and Republican voters were split between the two. 

This year, the leading Republicans are Begich, again, and Lt. Gov. Nancy Dahlstrom. Begich has a plan to avoid a similar split.

“Should I finish behind Nancy Dahlstrom in the primary, I will step out of the race,” he said in a recent phone interview with Alaska Public Media. “And I would hope that others on the right side of the aisle would do the same.” 

If other Republicans would make the same pledge to dropout, it could effectively create a Republican primary. That way, Begich said, GOP voters could line up behind a single candidate. 

Another way Republicans could avoid a split would be to make use of ranked choice voting. But Begich said his way has more appeal to Republican voters.

“For those who are not a fan of ranked choice voting — and I consider myself one of those people — we can self-impose a primary among the Republicans, if we make that commitment,” Begich said.