Sullivan Decries Senate Democrats’ Efforts to Block ANWR Development

16 Senate Democrats Send Letter to Leaders of Nation’s 15 Largest Banks

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska), a member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, rebuked 16 of his Democratic colleagues in a committee hearing yesterday for signing onto a letter to the heads of the nation’s 15 largest banks that called on the banks to refrain from investing in Alaska’s North Slope, particularly impending energy development within the non-wilderness 1002 Area of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR). 

“I'm going to be a little partisan here, because it's always coming from the Democrats [who] seem to always want to tell me and my state how to manage Alaska's environment,” said Senator Sullivan. “And then you take the train [up the East Coast corridor] and you're like, ‘Holy crap!’ You're telling me how to manage my environment? Look at this environmental wasteland.”

“Over one-third of the Democrats in the Senate sent a letter to some of the top bankers in America to further impoverish my constituents. Unprecedented,” Sullivan added. 

In 1980, Congress set aside the 1.57-million acre 1002 Area of ANWR for potential future development. For 37 years, the members of Alaska’s congressional delegation have championed legislation to open this area to responsible energy development.  

In December of 2017, President Donald Trump signed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which included a title authored by Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) to authorize energy development in a small portion of the non-wilderness 1002 area of ANWR. The title mandates that the U.S. Department of the Interior undertake two lease sales in the following ten years. In December of 2018, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) released the draft environmental impact statement (EIS) for the oil and gas leasing program.

Surface development authorized under the law is limited to 2,000 federal acres, just one ten-thousandth of all of ANWR, and is estimated to have the potential of bringing billions of barrels of oil to market.

Last September, Sullivan penned an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal with Senator Murkowski and Congressman Don Young (R-Alaska) condemning a vote by members of the House of Representatives to repeal the ANWR provision secured by the delegation in 2017. 

Click here for the letter sent to the nation’s top banks by Senate Democrats. Click here for the Wall Street Journal op-ed penned by Alaska North Slope Borough Mayor Harry Brower Jr., referenced by Senator Sullivan in the hearing.

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