Alaskans fighting the Pebble mine have largely focused their ire on Senator Lisa Murkowski, because she’s the more moderate politician and someone who might actually do something. Dan Sullivan, on the other hand, has largely escaped scrutiny, because Alaskans know he’s a shameless toady for the billionaire Koch dynasty and deep in the pocket of the biggest oil, gas and mining companies on the planet. Alaskans gave up on Dan helping us a long time ago.
But Dan deserves our attention, because as we confront the chaos of the coronavirus pandemic, he’s once again paying lip service to everyday Alaskans, while pressing hard for billion-dollar bail-outs for his fat cat donors.
If You’re a Big Oil Company, Dan’s There for You
As jobless claims skyrocket, and Alaskans confront the fear and dislocations of an unprecedented pandemic, Dan Sullivan is fighting hard for the richest corporations in human history.
Case in point: Dan recently joined a letter to the Secretary of Interior requesting what would amount to billions of dollars in “royalty relief” for oil and gas corporations, then he applauded the Saudi Regime for production cuts that would increase prices at the pump for average Alaskans.
Why? Because Dan Sullivan has raked in more than $650,000 from big oil and gas donors.
Dan’s Standing By as the Army Corps Moves Ahead on Pebble
Dan Sullivan is letting the Army Corps of Engineers proceed full steam ahead to rubber stamp permits for the Pebble Mine by this summer. Bristol Bay villages remember all too well the ravages of the 1918 pandemic, and local Tribes, governments and fishing groups have urged the Corps to sideline Pebble permitting as the coronavirus unfolds.
Yet at a time when the Corps should be focusing 100% of its resources on protecting Alaskans and our critical infrastructure, Dan’s mouthing some good words but he’s not actually doing anything to back them up.
If Dan really believed the Corps should focus on the safety of Alaskans instead of Canadian mining interests, he would demand a response from the Corps. Or hold a press conference. Or arrange a virtual town hall with Alaskans to put the Corps on the spot. Instead, Alaskans get some small talk, but no action.
Inside the DC beltway, they call that politics as usual. Here in Alaska, we just call it downright phony.
Greenwashing for Big Oil
In response to concerns he’s simply a pawn for large, polluting corporations, Dan Sullivan co-sponsored the Save Our Seas Act 2.0, to elevate his environmental bona fides and – ostensibly – to address plastics in our oceans.
While plastics pollution is of course a massive issue, there’s one glaring problem with Dan’s legislation: it does absolutely zero to address the problem by holding plastics producers – i.e., the oil and gas industry – accountable. Instead, it throws our tax dollars into more studies and clean-ups – the very band-aid solutions Dan’s oil and gas donors demand.
Here’s the clincher: Frontline recently produced an eye-popping documentary that reveals the oil and gas industry has known all along that plastics recycling is a farce – yet the industry promoted it anyway so they could produce more plastic and make more money.
These are the people Dan Sullivan serves, and this is how he protects their profits.
And Finally, Dan in Alaska
As part of his carefully-choreographed path from silver-spooned son of rich Ohioans to U.S. Senator for Alaska, Dan Sullivan dutifully served his corporate sponsors as the Commissioner of the Alaska Department of Natural Resources. While Dan’s track record at DNR is mired in a variety of pro-business, anti-democracy decisions, two issues paint an accurate portrait of Dan’s anti-Alaskan perspective.
First, Dan sided with a couple of Texas billionaires who wanted to mine coal directly through the bottom of a wild salmon stream in Cook Inlet. Similar to the double-talk we hear from Dan on Pebble, he pretended to be neutral and to “support the permitting process” on the project. But when confronted with overwhelming science that showed it was impossible to restore the salmon stream, Dan still deemed it “suitable” for coal strip mining. As a result, Dan Sullivan proudly earned the title as the first DNR Commissioner in Alaska history to affirmatively decide to destroy a salmon stream for a large mining project.
Next, Dan authored one of the most controversial pieces of legislation in Alaska in the past 40 years – the “Silencing Alaskans Act” aka HB 77. The bill was remarkable in that it was literally a Christmas tree studded with gifts for the oil, gas and mining industries. But like Dan, the legislation was remarkably tone deaf, because it granted vast powers to the state while cutting Alaskans out of basic public notice requirements and decision making. Dan took a shellacking on HB 77, but it hasn’t stopped his pro-corporate juggernaut ever since.
Stick a Fork in Us – We’re Done!
Dan’s defense of the oil & gas industry and the Pebble mine is unacceptable when Alaskans across the state are suffering.
If you think Dan should actually stand-up and represent Alaskans by telling the Corps to put the Pebble mine on the back burner, take 2 minutes to submit a quick note to him here:
And whatever you do – please be safe and healthy out there.