Sullivan Discusses American Energy, Jobs & Climate Plan on CNBC Squawk Box

WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) spoke with Joe Kernen this morningon CNBC’s Squawk Box about the American Energy, Jobs & Climate Plan, the senator’s innovative clean energy and climate strategy that has the potential to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions by up to 40 percent from today’s levels by 2050 and create thousands of jobs for hard-working Americans.

Senators Sullivan, Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.) and Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.) held a press conference on November 3rd to announce the American Energy, Jobs & Climate Plan.

Below is a full transcript of the interview.

KERNEN: Gas prices have jumped this year. There are concerns about higher heating costs this winter. Now, several Republican senators are laying out an energy plan to counter the Democrats’ climate proposals. Among other things, a GOP plan calls for expanding the use of natural gas, building out nuclear energy infrastructure, and reforming the permitting process for energy projects. The senators say they support cutting global carbon dioxide emissions by 40% by 2050.

Joining us now is one of the architects of this plan, Alaska Senator Dan Sullivan. Senator, you’ve had a lot of experience in this arena, even prior to being a senator. I guess I'd start by—one of the first things President Biden did was cancel the Keystone Pipeline. Now I'm seeing conjecture that there are environmental studies for another important pipeline in the Upper Midwest. I'm told a lot of this stuff is out of anyone's control, what's happening in the country right now. We're not quite at $4 a gallon yet, but some of it was within our control. I'll just say it.

SULLIVAN: Joe, there's no doubt. And good morning. It's good to be back on the show. From day one, the Biden administration has followed these Green New Deal policies, and you described a few of themshutting down American energy production, killing American energy infrastructure like pipelines, Keystone. Now they're looking at this Line Five in Michigan—literally going to Wall Street and the financial sector and saying don't invest in American energy, especially in places like Alaska, my great state. And now they're begging OPEC, if you can believe it, for more energy production. 

So, as you mentioned, we thought it was important to put a competing vision out to the American people that's focused on American abundance, American leadership, energy technology, natural gas, not just at home, but abroad. And we think that's a great way to empower our economy, empower American workers, but also help the environment. You're right, I was in charge of Alaska's natural resources and energy. I can tell you thiswe have the highest standards on the environment in terms of production of any place in the world. And, as you know, America has been a leader in reducing global greenhouse gas emissions since 2005, almost 15% reduction, because of the revolution in natural gas. Meanwhile, China and other countries are increasing their emissions really rapidly. We think we have a much better plan that's focused on our leadership, our abundance and not this idea that there should be scarcity and high energy prices that are really hurting American working families and American workers. I think they're doing it on purpose, the high energy prices.

KERNEN: Well that's the question, because I'm not sure what would be better—whether that's out of their control, they didn't realize it would happen, or whether inducing higher prices is part of the goal to lessen our dependence on hydrocarbons. But it's flawed thinking either way. If we were energy independent in this country, we got to that point, and now we've tried to dampen production here and going back to OPEC with hat in hand asking them to help us out. There is no logic anywhere in the known universe, maybe the metaverse, where that makes sense, unless I wanted to do it to transition more quickly. 

SULLIVAN: I couldn't agree more. It makes it makes no sense. And it's really hurting working families. We’re seeing prices 60% higher at the pump and we're actually importing twice as much oil from Russia right now than we were when we go back a year ago.

KERNEN: Can we go back or is it well past the point of no return? We haven't capped things have we, but it's much more difficult to get permits. But, if there was another administration, the elections have consequences, can we go back to energy independence?

SULLIVAN: Absolutely. We could. We did it during the Trump administration with Republican support. Back to your previous statementGina McCarthy, the climate czar, along with John Kerry, they have made statements that they think higher energy prices are beneficial to “accelerate the movement to renewables.” I mean, you can't make this stuff up in terms of what they're doing on the backs of the American people and working families. But, yes, we can definitely go back to it. Right now, you're not seeing investment in the energy sector because of these policies and we could change, but it needs change from them. I think the American people, whether you're a Democrat or a Republican, when the winter is coming, they're going to see these high energy prices. Home heating fuel is expected to climb 50 to 100%. This is going to be devastating for millions of Americans, and we need to have a much more rational policy that leverages American abundance, not scarcitywhich they're forcing on our economy. 

KERNEN: Senator, 400 private jets to Scotland, but there was not a jet carrying Putin and there was not a jet carrying Xi Jinping to this thing. I mean how can you make any concrete progress without China?

SULLIVAN: Joe, I will tell you thisI think Putin and Xi Jinping are actually benefiting the most from these Biden Green New Deal policies. Clearly Putin is. I mean think about it. The President kills pipelines in America, but he's fine with the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which is going to clearly benefit the Russians going forward with regard to European energy, which we had a lot of leverage over. Same thing with Xi. You may have seen the reports in the Washington Post. John Kerry was over there again, which always makes me very nervous, trying to get some kind of deal from the dictators in Beijing. And then he comes back to the President and says, “Hey, the Chinese say if we're going to get a deal, we need to tone down our criticism of Hong Kong or Taiwan with regard to the Communist Party in China.” That's outrageous. We should never be selling out American strategic interests for empty promises from Xi Jinping and others. That's what Kerry was pressing. And, again, I think the American people are fundamentally opposed to that approach. 

KERNEN: What do we call John Kerry at this point? At least he was part of the administration this time. He's not over there as a private citizen lobbying for­—you can't make it up, senator.

SULLIVAN: You can't make it up.

KERNEN: No, you can't. You definitely can't. Thanks. I don't know what the answer is. I think we have to power the grid with something and I don't know whether—I hope the wind keeps blowing and the sun keeps shining because people are going to get cold and in the lesser developed countries in the globe are the ones—if it's too expensive or if they don't have power. I mean all of these well intentions are going to go where a lot of them lead. And you know where good intentions lead a lot of the time. Thanks, senator. 

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