Alaskan lawmakers are praising the Biden administration’s decision to approve a controversial oil project. Democratic climate hawks are blasting the move.
Sen. Ed Markey called it a “disastrous decision.”
What’s happening: Democratic climate hawks are lambasting President Joe Biden’s decision to move forward with the controversial Willow oil project in Alaska, arguing the move undermines his aggressive agenda to move away from fossil fuels. Alaska’s bipartisan congressional delegation, on the other hand, is commending the act as an economic boon to the region.
Republican Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan, along with Democrat Rep. Mary Peltola called Biden’s decision “monumental” in a joint statement.
“I thank the administration for listening to Alaskans, rejecting false claims meant to sink this project, and having the courage to make the right decision,” Murkowski said.
Sullivan promised to help defend the decision from “frivolous” lawsuits while criticizing the Biden administration’s separate move – intended to appease environmentalists – to declare the entire U.S. Arctic Ocean off limits to new oil and gas leasing.
Peltola, on a press call with Murkowski and Sullivan, refuted climate-related criticisms of the Willow Project, nodding to the global nature of oil and gas markets.
“I have been very frustrated by the environmentalists seeking to lock up Alaska,” she said. “This is a global problem, and looking to other places on the globe [to produce oil] seems counterintuitive to me. I am very much supportive of transitioning from fossil fuels. That transition won’t happen in a snap.”
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