OPINION: Lisa Murkowski gave us the Deb Haaland disaster

There is perhaps no other state for which the identity of the Secretary of the Interior is as important as it is for Alaska. Most people in the Lower 48 can live their whole lives never being aware of who occupies that office, but in Alaska, we are deeply affected by who holds it, and we especially are today.

Our Interior Secretary is the radical environmentalist Deb Haaland, and we have Sen. Lisa Murkowski to thank for that.

Murkowski cast the tiebreaking vote in committee to advance Haaland’s nomination to final approval. And after her confirmation, Haaland wasted no time in confirming our fears that she would be an environmental radical in the job. She is spearheading Biden’s 30x30 plan, to convert 30% of America into untouchable federal lands by 2030. Her main target: Alaska.

President Joe Biden has aimed 24 executive actions directly at us, with many of them coming from Haaland’s department. On top of cutting off oil and natural gas exploration in ANWR, Biden and Haaland have been busy attacking Alaska’s energy workers just in recent weeks.

Near the end of April, Biden dispatched Haaland to Alaska to be escorted around the state by Murkowski, who has been enabling the Biden radical agenda with her votes. But once Haaland returned to D.C., she blocked energy production in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska, killing more energy jobs and taking billions of barrels of our own oil completely off the table.

In mid-May, Haaland also decided to cancel a lease sale covering over a million acres in Cook Inlet, which could have led to decades of production, thousands of jobs, and billions of dollars of investment in Alaska.

Haaland later appeared before the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, where it was revealed that she has effectively halted new oil drilling and exploration in Alaska. Even more incredibly, Haaland was unable to admit that gasoline prices are too high, despite new all-time records being set nearly every day.


If Biden truly wanted to reduce domestic energy costs, he would fire Haaland and reverse all these decisions. But he has not done that, and he won’t, because reduced domestic energy production, and the resulting increased costs of fossil fuels, are part of the plan hatched by the environmental extremists who are leading his administration.

And all of this can be laid at Lisa Murkowski’s feet.

Sure, there are some who say that Democrats would have found a way to confirm Haaland even without Murkowski’s vote, but that’s merely a weak justification for our senator’s failure to stand up for Alaska.

Instead of fighting for the best interests of Alaska, Murkowski gave Haaland her full support, even after admitting that Haaland would likely be harmful to our state.

And Murkowski didn’t stop there. She also championed the appointment of Haaland’s Deputy Secretary and was once again the tie-breaking vote to advance the confirmation of Haaland’s Solicitor, another radical Biden nominee. Our senator stacked the leadership of the Department of the Interior against us.

Murkowski calls herself a strong leader, but U.S. senators should never dodge accountability, as she has done, by claiming that her tie-breaking vote for Haaland didn’t actually matter. And Murkowski’s vote for Haaland was not simply a one-time mistake; rather, it was a colossal error in judgment that is hammering Alaska over and over again.

Everyone with a pulse saw this coming, but Murkowski feigns shock and dismay every time Haaland does exactly what we all knew she would do.

Of course, Murkowski has voted for more than 90% of Biden’s radical cabinet appointments, so none of this should surprise anyone in Alaska.

For progressives, there is a clear choice in the Senate race now that Democrat Pat Chesbro has announced her campaign. She would cast many of the same votes as Murkowski and then cheer the outcomes.

By contrast, Murkowski puts the leftist bureaucrats in place and then acts bewildered when they behave like leftist bureaucrats. It’s this tired, two-faced act that frustrates Alaskans because it reveals that no one can trust or rely on Lisa Murkowski.

We deserve a senator who will stand up for Alaska and fight for what’s important to us, and when I’m in the Senate, I can promise you there will be no doubt about where I stand. I’m For Alaska, not the radical D.C. insiders.

Clarification: Sen. Lisa Murkowski cast a tiebreaking vote in committee in favor of Interior Secretary Deb Haaland’s confirmation; however, Haaland could still have proceeded to confirmation by the full Senate if Murkowski had voted against her nomination.

The views expressed here are the writer’s and are not necessarily endorsed by the Anchorage Daily News, which welcomes a broad range of viewpoints. To submit a piece for consideration, email commentary(at)adn.com. Send submissions shorter than 200 words to letters@adn.com or click here to submit via any web browser. Read our full guidelines for letters and commentaries here.

Kelly Tshibaka

Kelly Tshibaka is a Republican candidate for U.S. Senate and former commissioner of the Alaska Department of Administration.