Home Agenda Biden’s “Chief Enabling Officer” Murkowski Diary: Kelly Tshibaka

Biden’s “Chief Enabling Officer” Murkowski Diary: Kelly Tshibaka

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Kelly Tshibaka, Republican candidate for Senator Lisa MurkowskiTrump-endorsed (R-Alaska) seat claimed Murkowski’s vote confirming Deb Haaland as interior secretary weakened Alaska, contributing to skyrocketing gas prices and dependency by impeding the production of oil, gas, rare earthand other vital products.

“Who is leading this assault on us? Joe Biden. Who is the CEO of all this? Lisa Murkowski,” Tshibaka said.

Tshibaka made the comments in an exclusive interview with The Epoch Times at the Alaska Sustainable Energy Conference, a three-day meeting on geothermal, nuclear, solar, wind, hydroelectric, and other alternative energy technologies.

A crucial challenge in any green transition is potential dependence on China.

This country and its state-owned companies dominate the mining and processing of rare earths and other materials used in solar panels, wind turbines and electric vehicles (EVs).

Even in the United States, green energy may be particularly vulnerable to Chinese pressure. MP Materials, owner of the only rare earth mine in the United States, is itself partly owned by a Chinese company, Shenghe Resources.

MP Materials recently received a $35 million grant from the Department of Defense for its new rare earth separation facility.

In March of this year, Murkowski described herself as “worried” about partial Chinese ownership of MP Materials.

“We shouldn’t be subsidizing things that we could be doing in America benefiting Chinese workers, Chinese fathers and Chinese mothers when we put Americans out of work,” Tshibaka said, adding that the rare earth reserves of the Alaska are a crucial asset for the United States.

“When you depend on a foreign enemy for an energy solution in the United States, you have created a national security problem,” she added.

She claimed that the Biden administration’s actions on Alaska oil and gas, including the cancellation of the sale of the Cook Inlet lease and the suspension of leases in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, contributed fueling the current global energy crisis and jeopardizing the well-being of everyday Alaskans. .

“Moms can’t feed their kids and workers literally can’t fill their cars with gas because our president has declared an all-out assault on this state, and especially on our fossil fuel industry, which is the thorn backbone of our economy,” Tshibaka said.

About a quarter of Alaska’s jobs and half of its total economy ultimately come from the oil industry, according to an analysis by the Alaska Resource Development Council.

In particular, oil has always provided an inordinate share of state general fund revenue.

Installation of BP’s Prudoe Bay oil field in Alaska. (BP via Getty Images)

The Alaska Department of Revenue projects oil will be responsible for 50.6% of Alaska’s general fund revenue this fiscal year, up from 25.4% the previous year.

Statistics from the Energy Information Administration (EIA) show that oil from the North Slope of Alaska averaged $84.94 per barrel in February 2022, compared to $52.37 in February 2021.

Statistics provided to The Epoch Times by Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s office show North Slope oil was trading at $119.71 on May 26.

It’s the highest price since 2008. Plus, with the West Coast under pressure and OPEC refusing to increase production, North Slope crude is one of the most expensive oils in the world.

Alaska state statistics show that North Slope produces 495,225 barrels per day. Although this is an increase from the start of 2022, it is still well below the region’s production just ten years ago.

Even though Alaska benefits from its hydrocarbon exports, many of the state’s most isolated and rural communities are hampered by their reliance on diesel to power the generators that provide electricity. When the temperature drops, the demand for this energy only intensifies.

AAA reports that diesel is selling for an average of $5.307 per gallon, up significantly from an average of $3.085 per gallon in the same period last year.

In one village, Noatak, diesel recently hit $16 a gallon, as reported by the daily news from Anchorage.

Tshibaka said the Biden administration’s executive orders and other actions have helped create a situation where people in these localities are “choosing between feeding their families and heating their homes.”

Conference speakers and suppliers presented potential solutions for these communities, which already suffer from vulnerabilities and power shortages during the best of times.

Nuclear energy companies have demonstrated new microreactors, which they say improve the safety of earlier designs while minimizing maintenance.

One exhibitor, industry stalwart Westingnhouse, claimed his Model eVinci could operate for eight or more years before refueling.

Microreactors like eVinci could provide one megawatt to tens of megawatts of electrical power, enough for several small villages.

Nuclear power companies at the conference said they expect their microreactor reactors to debut in four to six years, depending in part on the pace of approval from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC).

Tshibaka told The Epoch Times that she wants to reduce red tape for this industry. It also wants to offer it incentives like those that benefit wind, solar, biofuels and other energy categories.

“They’re asking for the same kind of tax breaks other energy industries are asking for,” she said.

Yet even as the conference highlighted opportunities ranging from tidal power to geothermal, Tshibaka stressed the importance of traditional energy to Alaska, at least in the short term.

“How many green energy jobs do you see here at this point? Yes, we would like to move into the future. That future is not our present,” she said.

Alaska’s population has declined over the past five years. The United States Census Bureau valued the state’s population was 732,673 as of July 1, 2021, down up from an estimated 737,625 in 2015. The state’s population grew slightly between 2020 and 2021, but not enough to offset the recent decline.

“There is a mass exodus out of state right now,” Tshibaka said.

Epoch Times Photo
A view of Anchorage, Alaska. (David Mark/Pixabay)

Tshibaka, who served in the office of director of national intelligence under Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, said she wants to build additional national security assets and infrastructure in Alaska. She cited its strategic location near Russia, North Korea and China.

The state already has a number of military installations, including Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Anchorage.

A April report of the Department of Defense’s inspector general has warned that US bases in the Arctic are not taking the necessary steps to assess and improve their resilience to climate change.

According to Tshibaka, as Arctic temperatures rise and previously frozen seas thaw, Alaska could take advantage of its proximity to Asian markets to ship goods that are now mostly shipped from the West Coast.

“When we no longer need to use icebreakers, because there will be no ice, you can ship 365 days a year,” she said.

Tshibaka also wants to help the tech industry gain a foothold in the final frontier.

She told The Epoch Times that she has spoken with IT companies about setting up data centers in Alaska instead of the lower 48.

The reason? These data centers must be kept at relatively low temperatures, colder than most of California in the summer anyway.

Alaska’s naturally cold climate could meet this need without using as much energy, saving money while reducing emissions.

Tshibaka declined to name the companies she said she spoke with.

The Epoch Times reached out to Amazon, widely considered the world’s biggest spender on data centers, for comment on the potential placement of data centers in such an environment.

The Epoch Times also contacted Murkowski.

The Interior Ministry declined to comment.

Nathan Worcester

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