Sens. Manchin and Murkowski comment on Russia’s absence at Arctic Encounter Symposium
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - The second day of the Arctic Encounter Symposium wrapped up Friday in Anchorage at the Dena’ina Center, with discussions ranging from climate change to inflation, and supply chain issues. However, the big talk Friday was about the one Arctic nation missing from the meeting: Russia.
Arctic Encounter Founder and Executive Director Rachel Kallander said the Russian Ambassador to the United States Anatoly Antonov was invited many months prior to the event but withdrew about a week before the Ukraine invasion took place.
U.S Sens. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Joe Manchin of West Virginia was joined at the symposium on Friday by ambassadors from other Arctic nations. Murkowski called Russia’s absence “the big elephant in the room.” She added that Russia cannot engage in “atrocities that we are seeing play out on a daily basis” and still have a cooperative, diplomatic dialogue. The work of the Arctic has to continue, she said.
“The partnering that we have engaged in for so long has to continue, and that’s why the gatherings like we are at today at the Arctic Encounter Symposium is so incredibly important, to allow us to cement further these relationships,” Murkowski said. “To allow us to advance these initiatives.”
Russia is one of the biggest energy producers in the world. Manchin added that the Russian people have no idea what Russian President Vladamir Putin has gotten them into, and said that he has weaponized energy. He added the only way the U.S. can offset that is to make sure the U.S., North America, and the free Arctic nations have sound energy policies.
“We put a piece of legislation together immediately which stopped every flow of dollar purchasing anything that we possibly could stop from being purchased, especially petroleum and energy from Russia,” Manchin said. “So they wouldn’t have one dollar coming from the U.S. economy that would support their war against Ukraine. And finally, we passed the bill now 100 to nothing, unanimous. It doesn’t happen that often.”
At the meeting, Manchin addressed his recent opposition to the Climate Disclosure Rule. The Securities and Exchange Commission announced the proposed rules on March 21, which state that companies would be required to report on greenhouse gas emissions, climate-related targets, and goals, as well as how climate risks impacting their business. Manchin feels the proposal would unfairly target fossil fuel companies and stunt energy independence.
“Stay in your lane. Do your job,” Manchin said of the SEC. “We’ve got Interior, we’ve got EPA. we’ve got (the Army) Corps of Engineers. We have all of this. How much more do you want to smother people with? We do it better than anyone else. We produce energy cleaner and better than anyone else.”
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