U.S. Senator Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) delivered the following remarks yesterday on the Senate floor regarding the Biden administration’s actions that continue to harm American energy production.

Three Examples of the Biden Administration Shutting Down American Energy From the Past Three Weeks: 

“. . .Let me give you three examples, just in the past few weeks, that demonstrate this 100 percent that their goal continues to be to shut down energy production and still make it hard as heck to produce and build energy infrastructure. Two are very close to home for me, unfortunately.

“Last week, the Federal Government, the Biden administration, at the last minute, canceled a lease sale for oil and gas leases in a place we call Cook Inlet in Alaska. I was actually on the Kenai Peninsula, where Cook Inlet is, last weekend. The people were furious. They were furious. This is a lease sale. We have State leases, Federal leases. And Cook Inlet, this is the original major hydrocarbon basin in Alaska, still producing oil and gas. We had a Federal lease sale canceled. None of this is controversial. We have them all the time. The Biden administration canceled it. So much for wanting to increase production— canceling the lease sales. 

“Let me give you another one, Mr. President. The National Petroleum Reserve of Alaska, set aside by Congress decades ago, probably the most prolific basin in the world right now for oil and gas—when you explore there, explorers are finding billion-barrel fields. Not controversial—it has been set aside, like I said, for decades for oil and gas production.

“Three weeks ago, the Biden administration announced in an Executive order they were going to take half of that massive petroleum reserve off the table for any exploration and development—just 3 weeks ago. That is the biggest oil and gas reserve in the country by far, the most prolific producing energy basin, probably in the world, and they took half of it off the table. And they claim they are trying to increase production, increase supply? Not true.

“And the third one, again, just in the last 3 weeks, Mr. President: The Council on Environmental Quality at the White House issued new rules on how to implement NEPA, the permitting that goes into any infrastructure project. By every measure—by every measure, these new rules are meant to delay the building of American infrastructure, especially oil and gas infrastructure. . .”

On the Hypocrisy of New Mexico’s Oil and Gas Expansion:

“. . .I will admit there are few places in the world, if you are lucky enough to live there, that the Biden administration actually is doing all it can to increase the production and supply of energy—two places, as far as I can tell. Let me talk about those two places. The first is New Mexico, the State of New Mexico. Close to half the oil and gas permits issued by the Federal Government last year went to one State. 

“Every State in the country like mine is trying to get permits. Guess which State got 2,286 oil and gas permits in 2021. New Mexico. Alaska is being crushed: no lease sales in Cook Inlet, NPRA, half of it off the table, probably about the size of New Mexico, and New Mexico is getting special treatment. Hmm. Interesting. A couple of reasons why that is interesting.

“Let’s see. Who is from New Mexico? Oh, my goodness, the Secretary of Interior is from New Mexico. Isn’t that interesting? I think that is interesting. I wish the media thought that was interesting. Could you imagine if that was a Republican Secretary of the Interior favoring his State over every other State in the country for more oil and gas production? The New York Times and the Washington Post would have a field day. 

“If this was Ryan Zinke, there would be a front-page story once a day but not if it is a Democratic Secretary of the Interior. Almost half the oil and gas permits in America issued by the Federal Government last year went to one State, New Mexico. Hmm. Who else is from New Mexico? Well, the senior Senator from New Mexico is obviously from New Mexico. In December, I gave a speech about all that he is doing—that I am still very riled up about—to shut down oil and gas production in Alaska.

“The senior Senator from New Mexico spent a lot of his time writing letters to banks, writing letters to insurance companies, writing letters to his fellow New Mexican, Deb Haaland, on how to shut down oil and gas development in Alaska. Now, why would he care about Alaska? I don’t really know. But in his letters, he said we need to shut down, no investment in Alaska banks, insurance companies to ‘‘achieve America’s climate goals.’’ That is one Senator trying to crush my State to ‘‘achieve America’s climate goals.’’ Hmm. I am still not sure why that Senator cares so much about crushing my State. But like his New Mexico colleague, the Secretary of the Interior, they are doing a pretty good job of hurting my State, especially the Native communities.

“Today in the ENR Committee, the senior Senator from New Mexico, with Secretary Haaland testifying, had the audacity to brag that New Mexico’s oil and gas production is up 400 percent in the last decade. Now, look, I think this is good for the country. I think it is good for New Mexico’s oil and gas workers—400 percent. He was bragging about that while still writing letters to shut down oil and gas production in Alaska. . .”

On the Biden Administration Loosening Venezuelan Sanctions:

“. . .What is the other place that the Biden administration is trying to really help in terms of increasing oil and gas production? It is foreign countries controlled by dictators who don’t like us. You heard the story several months ago about the Biden administration reaching out to Iran—the biggest state sponsor of terrorism in the world—trying to lift sanctions so they can produce more oil for the world. 

“Let’s shut down oil in Alaska, but let’s go to the Iranian terrorists and get them to produce more oil. Well, this week—this past week—there was another story that happens to be true that the Biden administration is now loosening sanctions on another one of those wonderful leaders, the dictator in Venezuela so they can produce more oil. Let’s help the dictators who hate our country produce more, and then we will go shut down Alaska where great Americans are trying to produce energy.

“Oh, by the way, Senator Barrasso did a great job in the ENR hearing today saying guess who has the most dirty, polluting oil in the world in terms of production and carbon footprint, 18 times more dirty and polluting than oil production in America. Guess. Venezuela. So we are going to get terrorists who don’t like us, who are the dirtiest polluters of energy when they produce it and get them to produce more, and we are going to shut down oil and gas production in the great State of Alaska that has the highest environmental standards on the planet. . .”

Full Transcript:

“Mr. President, to the fans of the Alaskan of the Week series, I regret to say this is not going to be an Alaskan of the Week speech. Stay tuned. We will have more. Sorry to the pages. I know this is their favorite speech of the week.

“Actually, unfortunately, regrettably, Mr. President, this is what I am referring to as an anti-Alaskan of the Week speech, and you are going to understand why here in a minute because I want to talk right now in the Senate about what everybody else in America is talking about when you actually leave the bubble of the beltway and you go home. I was home last weekend. I try to get home almost every weekend. 

“What are people talking about? They are talking about inflation; they are talking about the high cost of everything; they are talking about the formula; and, of course, Mr. President, they are really talking about the high cost of energy that is crushing working families in our Nation—certainly in my State but all over the country.

“A few stats on that: We have now had 10 days in a row of record-high gas prices. In Alaska, we hit $5 a gallon for the first time ever at the pump. Remember, at the end of the Trump administration, gas was $2.39 a gallon. During the Biden years—not even a year and a half—it is up 91 percent—91 percent. The price of natural gas in America doubled last year. This is having a devastating impact on Americans across the board but particularly working families, middle-class families, and people with fixed incomes.

“Now, the President keeps saying that he doing all he can to address this problem of high energy costs in America. The Secretary of Energy today testified in front of the Armed Services Committee. She said that this administration is doing all it can to increase supplies of oil and gas in America.

“Respectfully, to the President, the Secretary of Energy, the Secretary of the Interior: None of this is true. It is not even close, and I see it on a daily basis back home in Alaska. And here is the thing: The American people know it is not true. The American people know it is not true.

“This wasn’t last weekend when I was home; this was about 4 weekends ago. I was filling up my truck. Actually, it was three-quarters empty. So my truck was on one-quarter full, an F–150. It cost me almost $110 to fill that up. Had the truck been empty, it would have been $142 to fill that up. By the way, now that we have had these increases at the pump since 4 or 5 weeks ago, the estimate—if you own an F–150 and it is 5 bucks a gallon, it is about $150 to fill up your truck. Now, Mr. President, this is the meter that I filled my truck up with, and you see this little sticker. That is Joe Biden, and it says, ‘‘I did that.’’ I did that, America; I made these prices really high. 

“These stickers are spontaneously showing up everywhere in America. Every State in the country, when you go to gas stations, has that ‘‘I did that.’’ For anybody watching on TV, I encourage you to keep doing that because the American people are wise, Mr. President.

“The Secretary of Energy, Joe Biden, they keep claiming: We are doing all we can to make sure you don’t get crushed by energy increases. And it is not true, and this just shows it. People get it. Joe Biden did that, and we know it. The American people know it. So we all know this.

‘Day one of the Biden administration, there was a focus on shutting down oil and gas production—certainly in my State but across the country—limiting the ability to actually transport energy—Keystone XL—but oil and gas pipelines; going to financial institutions, strong-arming them not to invest in the American energy sector. All those things happened and have been happening since the beginning of this administration. 

“So now that you are seeing that the whole country knows that the responsibility of these high energy prices are from this administration and this President—‘‘I did that’’; there you go— you might be thinking: All right, people are really hurting. This is driving up inflation. The Biden administration is probably saying: Hey, let’s do a course correction. Let’s try to really increase the supply of energy, not strong-arm financial institutions to get rid of energy or to make it harder to invest in. So has there been a course correction?

“Is the Secretary of Energy, as she testified today—and the President—We are doing all we can to increase production—well, the answer is no. The answer is no. 

“Let me give you three examples, just in the past few weeks, that demonstrate this 100 percent that their goal continues to be to shut down energy production and still make it hard as heck to produce and build energy infrastructure. Two are very close to home for me, unfortunately.

“Last week, the Federal Government, the Biden administration, at the last minute, canceled a lease sale for oil and gas leases in a place we call Cook Inlet in Alaska. I was actually on the Kenai Peninsula, where Cook Inlet is, last weekend. The people were furious. They were furious. This is a lease sale. We have State leases, Federal leases. And Cook Inlet, this is the original major hydrocarbon basin in Alaska, still producing oil and gas. We had a Federal lease sale canceled. None of this is controversial. We have them all the time. The Biden administration canceled it. So much for wanting to increase production— canceling the lease sales. 

“Let me give you another one, Mr. President. The National Petroleum Reserve of Alaska, set aside by Congress decades ago, probably the most prolific basin in the world right now for oil and gas—when you explore there, explorers are finding billion-barrel fields. Not controversial—it has been set aside, like I said, for decades for oil and gas production.

“Three weeks ago, the Biden administration announced in an Executive order they were going to take half of that massive petroleum reserve off the table for any exploration and development—just 3 weeks ago. That is the biggest oil and gas reserve in the country by far, the most prolific producing energy basin, probably in the world, and they took half of it off the table. And they claim they are trying to increase production, increase supply? Not true.

“And the third one, again, just in the last 3 weeks, Mr. President: The Council on Environmental Quality at the White House issued new rules on how to implement NEPA, the permitting that goes into any infrastructure project. By every measure—by every measure, these new rules are meant to delay the building of American infrastructure, especially oil and gas infrastructure. Mr. President, I have here two editorials from the Wall Street Journal that I ask unanimous consent to have printed in the RECORD. One is called ‘‘How to Kill American Infrastructure on the Sly: The White House revises NEPA rules that will scuttle new roads, bridges and oil and gas pipelines.’’ And the other is called ‘A bipartisan energy deal? Overriding Biden’s new NEPA rules blockade is essential for fossil fuels and solar and wind power development.”

“The Laborers’ International, led by a great American, Terry O’Sullivan, they came out—these are the largest building trades—the largest construction union in the country. These are the men and women who build things in our country. They came out fully against these new NEPA rules saying directly that they would delay the building of American infrastructure, particularly energy projects: wind, solar, oil, gas. The Biden administration issued that 3 weeks ago. 

“So those are just three examples, but it is not just they are still very focused on shutting down the production of energy—and the people of our great country know it; they know Joe Biden did that—but they are doing it in a way that is not transparent and, to be perfectly blunt, is dishonest.  Let me give you two  examples—again, unfortunately, directly impacting my State, my constituents. When the Biden administration leaked to the press—by Gina McCarthy, by the way, someone who is really hostile to Alaska and really hostile to energy development. When they leaked to the press last week that they were going to cancel the Cook Inlet lease sale, they scrambled to come up with a reason. 

“Look, the reason is they hate oil and gas development, especially in my State, but they tried to come up with something. So they later put out and said, well, there was no industry interest in the lease sale. They were actually basing that on interest almost 2 years ago.

“But I know—Senator Murkowski mentioned it in a hearing today with Deb Haaland—that we know for a fact there was interest in this lease sale; there was industry interest in the Cook Inlet lease sale. So the administration was spinning a falsehood.

“Here is the other thing, Mr. President. I used to be the DNR commissioner in Alaska. We did all kinds of oil and gas lease sales on state land. The fact of the matter is, you almost never know who is interested until you actually have the sale. Companies don’t say: Oh, yeah, we are coming. They keep that really closely held for competitive reasons. And it wouldn’t cost the Federal Government a dime to hold the lease sale. You find out if there is interest by actually holding the lease sale, but the Biden administration was spinning it that there was no interest. That is a falsehood; we know that.

“Let me give you another one, Mr. President. When the administration, 3 weeks ago, took half of the National Petroleum Reserve of Alaska off the table—which, by the way, should disturb every American, as that was set aside by Congress for oil and gas development—the Secretary of the Interior was actually in Alaska. She was holding a listening session with the Native leaders in the North Slope Borough where the NPRA actually is. And every single one of these leaders, with the exception of one, said to Secretaryy Haaland: Madam Secretary, please, no more restrictions on the development of our natural resources up here. It undermines economic opportunity. It takes away from development that we need in our Native communities—that most Americans take for granted: roads, bridges, schools, clinics, flush toilets. Please, Madam Secretary, no more restrictions.

“The Secretary comes back from Alaska, and 72 hours after her visit to the State, she and her Department issue a 100-page record of decision saying, We are going to take half of the NPRA off the table, the very place she was with the Native leaders who said: Don’t do it. And the real audacity is there is a section in the record of decision which was clearly written before her visit to Alaska, her listening session. It wasn’t a listening session at all because she had a predetermined outcome that she did not let the people of Alaska know about or the Native leaders of Alaska know about, and there was a section in that record of decision that said: We are doing this in part because the Native people want it to protect subsistence. The Native leaders just told her the opposite. Like I said, dishonest, non-transparent, not truthful.

“I will admit there are few places in the world, if you are lucky enough to live there, that the Biden administration actually is doing all it can to increase the production and supply of energy—two places, as far as I can tell. Let me talk about those two places. The first is New Mexico, the State of New Mexico. Close to half the oil and gas permits issued by the Federal Government last year went to one State. 

“Every State in the country like mine is trying to get permits. Guess which State got 2,286 oil and gas permits in 2021. New Mexico. Alaska is being crushed: no lease sales in Cook Inlet, NPRA, half of it off the table, probably about the size of New Mexico, and New Mexico is getting special treatment. Hmm. Interesting. A couple of reasons why that is interesting. 

“Let’s see. Who is from New Mexico? Oh, my goodness, the Secretary of Interior is from New Mexico. Isn’t that interesting? I think that is interesting. I wish the media thought that was interesting. Could you imagine if that was a Republican Secretary of the Interior favoring his State over every other State in the country for more oil and gas production? The New York Times and the Washington Post would have a field day. 

“If this was Ryan Zinke, there would be a front-page story once a day but not if it is a Democratic Secretary of the Interior. Almost half the oil and gas permits in America issued by the Federal Government last year went to one State, New Mexico. Hmm. Who else is from New Mexico? Well, the senior Senator from New Mexico is obviously from New Mexico. In December, I gave a speech about all that he is doing—that I am still very riled up about—to shut down oil and gas production in Alaska.

“The senior Senator from New Mexico spent a lot of his time writing letters to banks, writing letters to insurance companies, writing letters to his fellow New Mexican, Deb Haaland, on how to shut down oil and gas development in Alaska. Now, why would he care about Alaska? I don’t really know. But in his letters, he said we need to shut down, no investment in Alaska banks, insurance companies to ‘‘achieve America’s climate goals.’’ That is one Senator trying to crush my State to ‘‘achieve America’s climate goals.’’ Hmm. I am still not sure why that Senator cares so much about crushing my State. But like his New Mexico colleague, the Secretary of the Interior, they are doing a pretty good job of hurting my State, especially the Native communities.

“Today in the ENR Committee, the senior Senator from New Mexico, with Secretary Haaland testifying, had the audacity to brag that New Mexico’s oil and gas production is up 400 percent in the last decade. Now, look, I think this is good for the country. I think it is good for New Mexico’s oil and gas workers—400 percent. He was bragging about that while still writing letters to shut down oil and gas production in Alaska. By the way, that is not how the Senate operates.

“Could you imagine if we all attacked each other’s States? It wouldn’t work really well here. Here is the other thing about this. New Mexico’s production has gone up more than Alaska’s now, and guess what else has gone up. My goodness, their carbon emissions are through the roof—through the roof. Where is the concern about ‘‘achieving America’s climate goals’’ in New Mexico, from New Mexico—from the senior Senator from New Mexico or Secretary Haaland?

“Here is the bottom line on that. You want to shut down Alaska to ‘‘achieve America’s climate goals,’’ but you are good to go with cranking it up in your State and not mentioning climate change or climate goals at all? In most parts of America, we just call this frank hypocrisy—but I guess not so in New Mexico. And it is wrong. We all know it is wrong. Heck, even the senior Senator from New Mexico knows it is wrong, and it is harmful to my constituents.

“New Mexico is the place that the Biden administration and Secretary Haaland are clearly trying to dramatically increase oil production. I guess they are lucky. They are increasing carbon emissions a lot too. They don’t talk about that.

“What is the other place that the Biden administration is trying to really help in terms of increasing oil and gas production? It is foreign countries controlled by dictators who don’t like us. You heard the story several months ago about the Biden administration reaching out to Iran—the biggest state sponsor of terrorism in the world—trying to lift sanctions so they can produce more oil for the world. 

“Let’s shut down oil in Alaska, but let’s go to the Iranian terrorists and get them to produce more oil. Well, this week—this past week—there was another story that happens to be true that the Biden administration is now loosening sanctions on another one of those wonderful leaders, the dictator in Venezuela so they can produce more oil. Let’s help the dictators who hate our country produce more, and then we will go shut down Alaska where great Americans are trying to produce energy.

“Oh, by the way, Senator Barrasso did a great job in the ENR hearing today saying guess who has the most dirty, polluting oil in the world in terms of production and carbon footprint, 18 times more dirty and polluting than oil production in America. Guess. Venezuela. So we are going to get terrorists who don’t like us, who are the dirtiest polluters of energy when they produce it and get them to produce more, and we are going to shut down oil and gas production in the great State of Alaska that has the highest environmental standards on the planet.

“In conclusion, President Biden is not doing nearly enough to address the energy crisis in our country. To the contrary, he is still undertaking policies meant to limit supply, limit infrastructure, and make it harder to build—that transports energy—and shut down production in America. I just gave three examples. The American people know these prices are this guy’s fault.

“But there is the Biden exception. There is the Biden exception. If you produce in New Mexico— maybe because the Secretary of the Interior is from there, maybe because the senior Senator from New Mexico is from there or you are a dictator who really hates this country and really pollutes a lot when you produce energy—the Biden administration wants you to produce more. 

“This has to change. The American people know exactly what is going on. They know exactly what is going on, and these policies are hurting working families. They are making it so energy workers in my State get pink slips. They are doing nothing for the environment, and they are empowering dictators.

“And that is why the American people know the blame is right there. And until there is a course correction, unfortunately, the suffering that we are seeing all across this great Nation, in terms of high energy prices and inflation everywhere, is going to continue. I yield the floor.”

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