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Vol. 26, No.24 Week of June 13, 2021
Providing coverage of Alaska and northern Canada's oil and gas industry

Oil patch insider: Sullivan #1 on conservative score card; Arctic studies center; more

Kay Cashman

Petroleum News

The 50th annual ratings of Congress by the American Conservative Union Foundation show that the voting records of Alaska’s Republican delegation put Sen. Dan Sullivan voting with conservatives 79.42% of the time, Rep. Don Young 72.50% and Sen. Lisa Murkowski 56.45%.

Those are lifetime ratings through the end of 2020, so 6 years for Sullivan, 48 years for Young and 18 years for Murkowski, who was initially appointed to the Senate in 2002 when her father, Sen. Frank Murkowski, relinquished his seat to become governor of Alaska. (His 22-year lifetime rating was 83%.)

In 2020, Sullivan’s rate was 74%, Young and Murkowski tied at 52% that year; Young’s voting record down 17 points from 2019 and Murkowski’s up 6 points from 2019.

ACUF also grades on issues of importance to Americans.

Fossil fuels, a sub-category of Energy and Environment, includes oil, natural gas and coal. The three members of Alaska’s delegation are rated as voting 100% of the time with conservatives on matters involving fossil fuels.

Strongest, weakest issues

Sullivan’s strongest conservative issues are listed as:

* Government Integrity and Transparency

* Regulations

His weakest issues (just one):

* Taxes, Budget and Spending

That said, his conservative voting record on second amendment, human dignity (includes abortion) and election issues are all 100%.

Young’s strongest issues on a conservative scorecard are:

* Human Dignity (includes abortion)

* National Security

* 2nd Amendment

* Personal Liberty

* Property Rights

His weakest issues are the following, meaning he frequently votes across the aisle with Democrats on these matters:

* Education

* Welfare and Poverty

* Government Integrity and Transparency

* Taxes, Budget and Spending

* Labor

Murkowski is listed as strongest on only one issue:

* 2nd Amendment

Her weakest issues in which she frequently votes with Democrats are:

* Education

* Regulations

* Labor

* Human Dignity (includes abortion)

Of Alaska’s congressional delegation, Murkowski is the most criticized by conservatives and the only one of the three Alaska delegates to be labelled a RINO, or Republican in name only.

Both she and Young are up for re-election in 2022. Murkowski faces a strong conservative Republican opponent in that race - Kelly Tshibaka, most recently the state commissioner of administration.

Unlike Murkowski, a vocal critic of Donald Trump whom the former president has vowed to oppose in the 2022 elections, Tshibaka supports Trump’s America First agenda.

More on Murkowski and Young contenders in next week’s Oil Patch Insider.

State by state ratings

The Center for Legislative Accountability is an initiative of the American Conservative Union Foundation. It produces the scorecard, which is the longest-running conservative congressional voting tally in America.

By 2015 all state legislatures and lawmakers were also rated.

Alaska is number 17 on its list of states, with an all-time rating of 60%.

Number 1 on the list - the most conservative state - is Tennessee with an all-time rating of 74%, followed by Florida at 67% and North Carolina at 66%.

Other oil and gas producing states with higher conservative ratings than Alaska are Wyoming, Texas, Oklahoma and Ohio.

Surprisingly, Louisiana is number 22 and has an all-time rating of 57%.

- Compiled by Kay Cashman

Arctic studies center established

On June 9, U.S. Sen. Dan Sullivan and Rep. Don Young (both R-Alaska) released a statement applauding the Department of Defense’s decision to establish the Ted Stevens Center for Arctic Security Studies, an initiative that the Alaska delegation has worked to both authorize and appropriate funding for.

The 2021 National Defense Authorization Act, or NDAA, that passed in December 2020 included an amendment to establish a new regional DoD center - the first DoD regional center in the Arctic and the first new DoD regional center established since 2000.

According to Sullivan and Young, the center, named after the late Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, will support defense strategy objectives and policy priorities through a unique academic forum, while also fostering strong international networks of security leaders.

“In the 2021 NDAA, my team and I were able to include provisions for historic investments in the Arctic, including new icebreakers, space-based communications, critical military infrastructure, and new initiatives for remote locations,” Sullivan said.

“Today, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin announced that another provision I was able to include as a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee - the Ted Stevens Center for Arctic Security Studies - will come to fruition. Alaska is the reason that the United States is an Arctic nation, which is why we are fighting for the center to be based in our state. This would be instrumental in cultivating the Arctic policy expertise that is desperately needed in the Department of Defense,” Sullivan said.

“In order to address the rise of great power competition in the Arctic, the Ted Stevens Center will serve as a new focal point for strategic thinking as it combines Alaska’s extensive reserve of Arctic expertise with the best and brightest minds from around the world,” he said, thanking Austin for his focus on “this critically-important geostrategic area of the world,” U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, for initially conceiving of the idea and working to appropriate funds for the center, and Young for “carrying it across the finish line in the House.”

Young said he was “very pleased” to see the center get one step closer toward its establishment.

“My friend, our late Senator Ted Stevens, was not only a steadfast advocate for Alaska, but he also fully recognized the strategic importance of the Arctic to America's national security,” Young said.

“America is an Arctic nation because of Alaska. As the region changes, it becomes even more important for us to secure peace and stability through American leadership. America's national security is not a partisan issue. Naming the Arctic Center for Security Studies after a consensus builder like Senator Stevens is an incredible testament to his legacy of patriotism and multilateralism. I know that he would be proud to know that the state he loved will soon be home to a critical diplomatic hub,” Young said.

- Compiled by Kay Cashman

Most against break with fossil fuels

On May 26, the Pew Research Center released new national survey results showing that while most Americans support an array of measures to address climate change, they stop short of a full break with fossil fuels.

Sixty-four percent said the U.S. should use a mix of energy sources going forward - including oil, coal and natural gas, along with renewables. Only 33% of Americans support phasing out fossil fuels entirely.

And the public is closely divided over the idea of phasing out the production of gas-powered vehicles by 2035, a report attached to the poll said.

“Partisan gaps in views of climate change remain vast - from the salience of the issue to the role for government addressing it. And divisions over renewable energy and stricter environmental regulations are wider today than they were under Donald Trump’s administration, due to increased opposition among Republicans,” Pew said.

The survey also found that 60% of Americans said that increasing job and economic growth is a very important consideration to them when it comes to proposals to reduce the effects of climate change.

The national poll was conducted April 20 to 29 among 13,749 U.S. adults.

The Washington, D.C.-based Pew Research Center is a nonpartisan fact tank that informs the public about the issues, attitudes and trends shaping the world. A nonprofit, tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization, it is a subsidiary of The Pew Charitable Trusts, its primary funder.

See the full survey at

- Compiled by Kay Cashman

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