If Haaland Visits Alaska, She Owes Energy Workers a Face-to-Face Explanation

If Haaland Visits Alaska, She Owes Energy Workers a Face-to-Face Explanation

August 17, 2021

Interior Secretary Deb Haaland has promised to visit Alaska in September, following through on an answer she gave Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) over the proposed King Cove-to-Cold Bay road.  Murkowski had queried Haaland on her comments that a land swap to enable to road’s building should not go through.  Haaland said she would, if confirmed, visit with King Cove locals before formally deciding the life-saving road’s future.

Even though she hasn’t actually announced when or if she plans on visiting, rumors say it is tentatively set for September.  Haaland would be missing an incredible opportunity if she just jets in and out of the state and only visits King Cove, without touring other development opportunities.

With Interior having day-to-day management of over 62% of Alaska’s lands, and with recent decisions by the department (suspending lease sales, stopping ANWR leases from moving forward, killing timber jobs in the Tongass) hurting Alaska’s energy community, Haaland could make a good-faith effort to meet with Alaskans in those areas of the state most hard-hit by her agency’s actions.

It would be shocking if she did that, though. After all, what would she tell them? That she’d rather see jobs in energy development go to China, Russia, the Middle East, Canada and Australia?  That she doesn’t value Alaskan workers as much as she values the relationships she has with extremist environmental organizations?  That she is hell-bent on moving America toward a fossil-fuel-free energy “solution”?

She doesn’t need to say anything.  Her actions say enough.