Alaskans can’t count on 21-year incumbent Sen. Lisa Murkowski to be a dependable vote for energy resource workers and the state’s economy as a whole. That’s the conclusion of an Energy Summit hosted by Alaska Republican U.S. Senate candidate Kelly Tshibaka on her Facebook page. Tshibaka was joined by legendary energy entrepreneur Harold Hamm and Matt Coday, president of the Oil & Gas Workers Association.
Hamm is one of the leading energy entrepreneurs in the world, having started working in the oil fields as a teenager and establishing Continental Resources at the age of 21 in 1967. He built a grassroots startup into an NYSE-traded, Top 10 oil producer. As a voice for America’s oil and natural gas industry and as the leader of one of America’s top companies, he helped to make America energy independent – an achievement that has since been squandered by Joe Biden.
Coday’s organization represents more than 45,000 oil and gas workers across 33 states, including Alaska.
The two guests highlighted Murkowski’s tie-breaking committee vote to advance the nomination of Interior Secretary Deb Haaland, who has led President Joe Biden’s assault on Alaska’s energy producers. The administration has launched at least two dozen executive actions directly targeting Alaska, harming thousands of workers in the process. Even while casting her vote in support of Haaland, Murkowski herself said she feared that Haaland’s radical environmental policies would harm Alaska.
“The Biden administration picked [Haaland] because they knew that she was going to do everything that she could to shut down development, not only in Alaska, but on federal land everywhere,” Hamm said. “I can’t understand anybody who would vote for her nomination.”
And Hamm laid the blame squarely at Murkowski’s feet.
“We need votes we can count on, that America can count on, for energy. A lot of times you don’t know where she stands and that’s not good. You have to have a clear cut, ‘I’m here, I believe in American energy, believe in energy independence, this is good for America,’” Hamm said. “The vote from Alaska and from this senator should be one that you can count and count on. And that just hasn’t always been the case, unfortunately.”
Coday characterized Murkowski’s vote for Haaland as a direct assault on the people who support their families through oil and gas jobs.
“What a slap in the face to every American who works in this industry. We knew before the vote that Interior Secretary Deb Haaland would be against our jobs, that she was out to get our jobs, and she hasn’t disappointed on that front,” Coday said. “And for Lisa Murkowski, for her to cast the tie-breaking vote to advance her confirmation, it’s really a slap in the face of every American who works in this industry.”
Coday also addressed Murkowski directly.
“Sen. Murkowski, we thought when you were elected that you would represent us, that you would fight for American oil and gas workers,” he said. “All of your votes since have confirmed that you’re not willing to go to D.C. and fight for us.”
Murkowski also voted to confirm Biden Attorney General Merrick Garland, who declined to appeal a federal judge’s ruling against the massive Willow oil and gas project, which would have meant thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in investments in Alaska. Naturally, Murkowski had also voted to confirm the federal judge, Sharon Gleason, who issued the ruling blocking the Willow plan in the first place.
Murkowski’s record shows that she is enabling the Biden administration’s goal of shutting down domestic production, with Alaska as one of their prime targets.
Hamm said the situation must get turned around.
“We’ve gone from an era of abundance in energy for America to a scarcity. And it happened in 20 months,” Hamm said. “You have to use all your leverage as a senator, basically, to fight for what you believe in. You’ve got to be there and be counted and fighting hard. There are ways to make it happen.”
Tshibaka agreed, laying out the problems with unelected bureaucrats and what a strong senator would do to protect Alaska.
“We know that these federal agencies blow through the regulations, the timelines, the scope limitations and law, regularly. They’re supposed to have them done in two years – our average now is four-and-a-half years or longer,” Tshibaka said. “Then agencies get a final record of decision, and instead, that’s not final. They have to go through the process two or three times, our companies do, and the federal government is inserting risk into the process, making it costly.”
“That’s why we see companies pulling out of Alaska and investors pulling out," Tshibaka continued. “It’s really time that Congress lock down on that and hold agencies accountable through budget cuts and appropriations or having multiple hearings before committees.”
And Tshibaka made clear that, as senator, she would always stand up for Alaska energy workers.
“My parents were homeless before I was born and my mom had a high school degree and got a job up at Prudhoe Bay, an oil job. And it changed everything for them,” she said. “We owe everything in our life to Alaska and those opportunities that were presented by the oil industry.”