Delegation Responds to Misguided Letter Seeking to Undermine Investment in Alaska

February 13, 2020

U.S. Sens. Lisa Murkowski, Dan Sullivan, and Rep. Don Young, all R-Alaska, sent a letter this week to the chief executives of 11 major banks in response to a misguided letter that a number of their Democratic colleagues sent in late January. The delegation’s letter calls out mischaracterizations being made as part of an effort to deter investment in responsible energy production in a small part of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

Below is an excerpt from the letter:

“Unfortunately, but not surprisingly, the arguments laid out in [our colleagues’] letter are willfully ignorant of the reasonable program we enacted to guide safe production in the 1002 Area, Alaska’s strong environmental record, and the preferences of the Alaska Natives who actually live in ANWR.

“Our colleagues completely ignored the voices of the Alaska Natives who actually live on the North Slope. Reading their letter, you would have no idea that the Inupiat people exist, or that many live within ANWR in the community of Kaktovik. Most Inupiat support responsible development in the 1002 Area, yet they are not even acknowledged by those who claim that indigenous concerns should prevail in this discussion.”

The delegation also quoted North Slope Borough Mayor Harry Brower, Jr., who wrote in a recent Wall Street Journal op-ed, “The way we see it, caring about the land and wildlife should also mean caring about the indigenous people who inhabit the land. We aren’t hungry for oil, we are hungry for progress and understanding from those on the east coast and beyond. We don’t need your protection or judgment. We need your respect.”

The President signed H.R. 1, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, into law in December 2017. The second title of the Act authorized responsible energy development on up to 2,000 federal acres within the non-wilderness Coastal Plain, which could bring an estimated 10.4 billion barrels of oil to market. New production from the 1002 Area will help refill the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System while also creating high-paying jobs, generating billions of dollars in revenues for the state and federal treasuries, keeping energy prices affordable for families and businesses, and strengthening national energy security.