by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Gov. Mike Dunleavy is frustrated.
In just its first eight months, the Biden administration has halted logging plans in the state’s southeast Tongass National Forest, barred federal land releases to Native veterans, and shut down oil and gas operations on the North Slope of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) as it shops overseas for fuel. All without consulting with the governor who runs the largest state in the nation by land mass, home to 60 percent of federal lands.
“We’ve had no contact with Joe Biden, no matter how many times we’ve asked,” the Republican governor told The Federalist in an interview Wednesday. He added his office was even left in the dark on the U.S.-China summit that occurred in Anchorage five months ago. “We heard that in the press.”
The Biden administration has aggressively crusaded to bar development in the country’s greatest untapped resource in the name of environmental stewardship, as if in an effort to transform the state into a national park saved for the wealthy who can afford a visit.
“If we were able to do what we wanted to do, we’d be one of the richest states by far,” Dunleavy said about the Biden administration intervening at seemingly every opportunity to inhibit development for rural communities across the state plagued by poverty, addiction, and third-world diseases. Isolated residents in southwest Alaska’s King Cove can’t even build a life-saving 12-mile road to an all-weather airport. The Biden administration has stopped that too, pending a visit from Interior Secretary Deb Haaland next month.
Since statehood, Alaska has served as a primary battleground for elite leftist environmentalists to impede development driven by local interests to grow their economy. Progressives will often incite and then exploit native tribes to cloak their crusade against development under the moral righteousness of environmental justice.