Sullivan: Alaskans Dream Big, Breathe Air ‘Bathed in Promise’

In his first Senate speech, U.S. Sen. Dan Sullivan today spoke in support of the Keystone Pipeline. He likened it to the tie vote in the Senate over the Trans-Alaska Pipeline in 1973.

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“Then, like now, opponents howled. They said TAPS would be an environmental disaster. They said bird and caribou populations would be decimated. But none of that happened,” he said.

Sullivan is the first member of Congress from Alaska to discuss that pivotal moment in state history who did not live through it, or not as an Alaskan anyway. His sweeping address went on to discuss the American dream, and what he describes as the Obama Administration’s threat to it. Sullivan says the dream is still alive in Alaska.

“In Alaska, the very air you breathe is bathed in promise,” Sullivan said. “The people still speak the language of bold ideas, and rugged adventure.”

He made a pitch for more access to federal land, for ending bureaucratic delay, and for curbing the growth of regulation.

“According to the President’s own Small Business Administration, federal regulations impose an annual burden on our economy of close to $2 trillion dollars,” Sullivan said. “That’s roughly $15,000 dollars per year, per American family.”

Other Congress members have cited that per-family figure, too. The Washington Post’s Fact Checker this month awarded the claim two Pinocchios, saying it’s misleading because it leaves out the savings. The Post cited the example of fuel-efficiency standards: They raise the cost of a car but save gas money over time.

Sullivan, in his speech to the Senate, also argued for his amendment to disarm the EPA.

“In a classic case of federal government power creep, 200 armed EPA, close to 200, armed EPA agents, are roaming our country,” he said.

Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois soon came to the floor and argued against arming the EPA, making it Sullivan’s first official Senate clash.

“Sen. Sullivan wants them to enforce the laws but he doesn’t want them to carry a firearm. That to me is ridiculous. In fact, it’s dangerous,” Durbin said, citing instances where he says EPA agents had to confront armed suspects.

But Republican colleagues, from Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky to Sen. Dan Coats of Indiana, publicly congratulated Sullivan after the speech. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, according to a statement issued by Sullivan’s office, particularly liked the emphasis on “Alaska-sized dreams.”