From left to right: Rep. Adam Wool, D-Fairbanks, U.S. Sen. Dan Sullivan, R-Alaska, and Alaska State Sen. Josh Revak, R-Anchorage, in the hallway of the Alaska State Capitol following Sullivan’s address to the Legislature. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire)

From left to right: Rep. Adam Wool, D-Fairbanks, U.S. Sen. Dan Sullivan, R-Alaska, and Alaska State Sen. Josh Revak, R-Anchorage, in the hallway of the Alaska State Capitol following Sullivan’s address to the Legislature. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire)

Sullivan talks tough on jobs, China

Sullivan to lawmakers: Biden’s policies ‘war on Alaska’

In his first address to the Alaska State Legislature in two years, Sen. Dan Sullivan, R-Alaska, described a guarded relationship with the new presidential administration that he said has taken an aggressive stance toward Alaska workers and families.

But, while cautious, Sullivan said he saw areas where he could work with the Biden administration.

“I’m calling for a cease-fire in the Biden administration’s war on Alaska,” Sullivan said, standing behind a lectern encased in plexiglass at the Alaska State Capitol.

Sullivan spoke to a joint session of the Legislature, the first since the beginning of the pandemic. Gov. Mike Dunleavy gave his State of the State address virtually in late January and Sen. Lisa Murkowksi, R-Alaska, met with lawmakers but did not address the body as a whole.

Alaska’s way of life is under attack by the Biden administration, Sullivan said, asserting that the administration’s environmental policies would cost hundreds of jobs in Alaska, particularly in the energy sector. But state resources, he said, could help make the U.S. more independent in its supply chains, which have become too dependent on foreign countries, particularly China.

Throughout his speech, Sullivan warned that Biden’s environmental agenda would force jobs abroad, particularly to China, which is expanding politically and militarily. Sullivan asserted that China has some of the worst environmental policies in the world, and criticized the country’s labor practices, particularly in regard to Uyghur Muslims in the Xinjiang region.

From left to right: Rep. Adam Wool, D-Fairbanks, U.S. Sen. Dan Sullivan, R-Alaska, and Alaska State Sen. Josh Revak, R-Anchorage, in the hallway of the Alaska State Capitol following Sullivan’s address to the Legislature. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire)

From left to right: Rep. Adam Wool, D-Fairbanks, U.S. Sen. Dan Sullivan, R-Alaska, and Alaska State Sen. Josh Revak, R-Anchorage, in the hallway of the Alaska State Capitol following Sullivan’s address to the Legislature. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire)

But the COVID-19 pandemic highlighted America’s dependence of foreign countries for many resources, Sullivan said in a news conference with reporters following his speech. That caused an awakening among many of his colleagues in Washington, he said, asserting that there was increased bipartisan interest in the security of U.S. supply chains.

[Could rare earth minerals be Alaska’s edge?]

“The more we highlight that, the more I think American companies are going to come home,” Sullivan said in the news conference. “But I also think there’s an appetite in the Congress to incentivize that transformation to come back home, in a whole host of ways, and I think that’s a great bipartisan opportunity that could really benefit Alaskans.”

How to attract companies that have moved operations abroad back to the U.S. is an important question, but he’s seen increased interest in the issue on both sides of the aisle, Sullivan said. The private sector in America was becoming increasingly wary of working with China, Sullivan said, and has begun to reconsider supply chains.

“I think it’s starting to happen all over. I can’t give you an example of specific companies, but I know because I’ve cared about this issue for a long time, the (urge) for a bipartisan approach to making this happen with regard to supply chains is clearly shifted and is clearly happening,” he said.

In a handout provided to lawmakers, Sullivan laid out policy proposals he said were a more worker-oriented energy plan than the proposals put forth by the Biden administration. Sullivan’s proposals call for expanding the use of liquid natural gas, which the U.S. could export to other nations, as well as investments in infrastructure for resource projects.

One of the policy areas highlighted on the handout and mentioned by Sullivan is the permitting process for resource projects in America. The National Environmental Policy Act needs to be reformed to ensure environmental reviews are not used to unnecessarily delay projects, the handout says. That act was reformed by the Trump administration, which rolled back many of its environmental regulations.

[Dunleavy praises NEPA rollback at White House]

Increased incursions into American airspace by China and are a deep cause for concern, he said. Sullivan said in his speech that the era of great power competition was returning, and that Alaska was on the front line. Sullivan also called for additional military resources put into Alaska, saying the Arctic is an increasingly important strategic area. More cargo planes were coming to Alaska, as well as 100 advanced fighter jets, Sullivan told lawmakers, and he is advocating for more ice-breakers to be based in the state.

“Our state is becoming one of the most important centers for air combat power anywhere in the world. This is great for America’s national security but really great for Alaska’s economy,” Sullivan said, drawing applause from lawmakers.

More in News

A DNR map of navigable and non-navigable waters are seen on the Kenai Peninsula. (Screenshot)
State unveils maps in effort to ‘unlock’ Alaska waters

The maps are part of an initiative to assert control of state lands.

On Monday, the final day of the May long weekend, Harri Herter from Kamloops takes turns and gives friends thrilling jetski rides on little Shuswap Lake. - Image credit: Rick Koch photo.
Lawsuit challenges Jet Ski use in bay

Coalition of environmental groups says Fish and Game’s process to rescind JetSki ban was illegal

Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy speaks during a news conference on Wednesday, May 12, 2021, in Juneau, Alaska, with a number of state legislators around him. Dunleavy discussed a proposed constitutional amendment dealing with the Alaska Permanent Fund and the Permanent Fund dividend. (AP Photo/Becky Bohrer)
Dunleavy proposes new changes to Permanent Fund

The changes are an amendment to updates he proposed earlier this year.

A vial of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine is seen at Central Emergency Services Station 1 on Friday, Dec. 18, 2020, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Youth 12-15 years old can now get vaccinated

Borough emergency management is working to assist the Pfizer vaccine rollout efforts to the new eligible population.

Megan Pike, Kenai Watershed Forum’s education specialist and Adopt-A-Stream program coordinator, wades into Soldotna Creek to dig up creek bed samples for a group of Connections Homeschool students to parse through for macroinvertebrate sampling, on Thursday, Nov. 7, 2019, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion)
Summer camp registrations open at Kenai Watershed Forum

The forum canceled its summer events last year because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The entrance to the Kenai Courthouse in Kenai, Alaska, photographed on Feb. 26, 2019. (Peninsula Clarion file)
Identity of Alaska Court System hacker still unknown

The system was able to restore email access Tuesday.

U.S. Census Bureau Director Steven Dillingham addresses state and Alaska Native leaders Friday, Jan. 17, 2020, in Anchorage, Alaska. (AP Photo/Mark Thiessen)
State redistricting may take longer this year

State legislative districts are redrawn by a board of five people following the decennial census.

The badge for the Kenai Police Department
Man arrested in break-in at Kenai Central High School

The man, 36-year-old Christopher D. Stroh, allegedly stole miscellaneous items from the school on Sunday.

Most Read