Alaska Native and Union Leaders join delegation to urge re-approval of willow project

    Photo provided by Murkowski Press Office

    Washington, D.C. (KINY) - Wednesday, Senators Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) and Representative Mary Peltola (D-Alaska) participated in an event outside the U.S. Capitol calling on the Biden administration to re-approve the Willow Project on Alaska’s North Slope.

    The delegation was joined by Alaska State Representative Josiah Patkotak (I-Utqiaġvik); Nagruk Harcharek, President of Voice of the Arctic Iñupiat; Joelle Hall, President of AFL-CIO Alaska; Doreen Leavitt, Director of Natural Resources for the Inupiat Community of the Arctic Slope; representatives of additional Alaska Native groups; state and national union leaders; and many fellow Alaskans showing their unequivocal support for the meticulously-planned, socially-just, and environmentally-sound Willow Project.

    “We have whaling captains, we have young people, we have elders, and we have unions behind us, standing with us, in agreement.," Senator Lisa Murkowski said. "Why are we all here in support of the Willow Development Project? What is it all about? It can be summed up in one word: security. It is energy security—yes. Because we are developing a resource that not only this country needs, but certainly the world still needs it.”

    “It is also economic security, as you’ve just heard Representative Patkotak say what it means to them to have an economy in their region, resources that can come to them so that they can take care of themselves. This is about empowerment for Alaska Native people.”

    “I am so honored that we got this joint bipartisan resolution from the Alaska Legislature," Senator Dan Sullivan said. Every elected leader in our state has signed on: Democrat, Republican, Independent, many of them are here. This is why it’s so important [for them] to hear our voices. Hear our voices, Mr. President. Hear our voices, Secretary Haaland…”

    “We have challenges all over the world. One of the strongest instruments of American power is American energy. And, yet, this administration has gone out of their way to shut down American energy, making it harder to produce, harder to move, harder to finance. And when the resulting implication of those policies is higher energy prices on working families, they go to Saudi Arabia on bended knee to beg them for oil. They go to Venezuela and say we’re going to lift sanctions on Maduro so he can produce more oil. Mr. President, don’t beg Saudi Arabia. Don’t beg Venezuela. Get it from Alaska!”

    “We have a lot of people here who are Inupiaq, from the North Slope region," Representative Mary Peltola said. "This is their region. This is their land. This is about their sovereignty and their autonomy to go forward with their economic development, which will help the state of Alaska…”

    “I’m Yupik. We have Athabascans in this audience, we have Tlingits, we have Eyaks. Across the board, Alaska Natives are standing in support with Inupiaqs…across America there is no issue that has 100% unanimous support but clearly there is the preponderance of Inupiaqs who are in support of this. The majority of Alaska Natives, and the majority of Alaskans are in support of this.”



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