Among a crowd of lawmakers from across the country at the White House on Friday, Alaska state House Majority Leader Lance Pruitt asked Interior Secretary Sally Jewell about her decision to continue to bar a potentially life-saving road through a federal wildlife refuge in Southeast Alaska.
He was shocked by her response.
“I wish that Alaskans would get over it,” Jewell said, according to Pruitt, who wrote down the quote, referring to the long-fought-for road from King Cove to Cold Bay. Pruitt said she talked about other issues that she felt were “more important” than the road, like opening up lands for oil development in Alaska’s National Petroleum Reserve, and offshore drilling in the Arctic.
“Do you know how you feel when you get punched in the gut? That’s how I felt,” Pruitt said in a phone interview on Friday. “What she basically said is that drilling is more important than saving lives.”
Other lawmakers in the room approached Pruitt after the meeting, describing Jewell’s reaction as “arrogant.” Continue reading