Peltola, nearing one year in office, touts her support for Willow and other energy projects

U.S. Rep. Mary Peltola in the Alaska Public Media studio on April 4, 2023 (Matt Faubion/AKPM)

Congresswoman Mary Peltola emphasized her support for Arctic drilling and other Alaska energy projects in a call-in forum with constituents last week.

“I’ve worked with our senators, Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan, our labor unions and Alaskans from every region to get the Willow project approved,” she said, referring to ConocoPhillips’ new project in the National Petroleum Reserve. “This is the largest North Slope oilfield investment in decades, which will bring 2,000 jobs and billions of dollars of revenue for Alaska.”

Next week marks Peltola’s one-year anniversary in Congress. As a Democrat running for re-election in an oil-producing state, she’s setting herself apart from the mainstream of her party on energy. While Republicans, including opponent Nick Begich, aim to tie Peltola to high gas prices and conservation policies of the Biden administration, she used the largely scripted forum, billed as a tele-town hall, to highlight her pro-development views. 

In addition to lauding Willow, Peltola also spoke of her support for Alaska’s Liquified Natural Gas export plan and smaller renewable energy projects for Alaska communities. Peltola said climate change is hitting Alaskans particularly hard, but she called out climate advocates who engage in what she views as hypocrisy.

“I take umbrage with some of these extreme environmental groups,” she said. “Because I don’t feel like they — many of the people in that movement — are willing to curtail any of their energy uses, whether it’s on their computer or in their car or plane trips, but they expect us to stop producing.”

Peltola’s office described the tele-townhall as the congresswoman’s first use of this format. Among the callers was Peltola’s ninth grade English teacher, now living in Colorado, who talked about the importance of leadership.

Liz Ruskin is the Washington, D.C., correspondent at Alaska Public Media. Reach her at Read more about Liz here.

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