Oil? Bloated. You? Shrinkage.
The numbers have been crunched. The “Big Five” oil companies – BP, Exxon-Mobil, ConocoPhillips, Shell, and Chevron saw a combined profit of $93 billion last year.
Profit. Billion with a B. That’s $177,000 every single minute, of every day last year.
Outrageous! The poor babies… Despite what any reasonable person might think about the money pouring in to the most profitable companies ever to have existed on the face of the earth, they would still like to keep their tax breaks, please.
And in Alaska, their best buddy in the governor’s office would like Alaskans to keep subsidizing this profit, and their other projects all around the world so Conoco, BP, and Exxon can keep swimming in the green stuff. You can afford it, right? I mean we had all that money for schools, and roads, and public safety that we weren’t using anyway. And it is actually our money as citizens. It’s not some theoretical, philosophical, “if you look at it like this” kind of thing. It’s in the Constitution. You OWN the oil. And Sean Parnell, as your asshat money manager, is taking your money and giving it away to people who have more money than anyone else on the face of the earth.
This August, Alaskans will have the chance to repeal Governor Parnell’s recent giveaway (SB21) to these poor impoverished oil companies by voting YES on ballot measure 1. If we don’t, next year, these glutted multinationals can add a couple more billion to their bulging bank accounts right out of Alaska’s treasury. And the year after that, a couple more billion. We’ll be broke soon, but at least they won’t. Phew…
And remember, they get this cool $2 billion a year infusion of your money for doing… nothing. No promises of anything. No increased production, no new jobs, no new exploration. Nothing. The governor has made some big statements, though. Giving your money away must be done, because… it must! It’s “vital” to increasing production! Nevermind that Alaska has more than once tried the 0% tax for oil companies plan, and it failed miserably.
The last guy to try this kind of nonsense was former Gov. Frank Murkowski who got run out on a rail when Alaskans got wise. Well it’s time to get wise again.
This time, former oil company lobbyist Gov. Sean Parnell swears, it will all be different.
Sens. Bill Wielechowski and Hollis French have been in the trenches, fighting this battle for Alaskans for many years. They’re not former lobbyists. They don’t have some cushy consulting job waiting for them. They have no incentive to lie to you. They’re not trying to keep massive campaign donations from oil companies and their management from evaporating, because they don’t get them. So that really only leaves one reason – they actually care about this state, about your money, and about the future we will leave to our children who are already seeing massive cuts to education in the name of balancing the books.
Wielechowski and French have written a letter to the governor in light of some recent news that makes all of his bluster, and fear-mongering ring hollow. If you can believe it, things aren’t turning out the way he predicted now that the fat cats have gotten another $2 billion trip to the trough.
I’m shocked. Shocked, I say.
February 12, 2014
Dear Governor Parnell:
It is time to come clean with Alaskans. In 2011, you announced amidst great fanfare that your Administration had adopted “a new goal for Alaska of one million barrels of oil production per day through the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System (TAPS) within ten years.” You said your bill to reduce oil taxes was “vital to arresting the production decline and achieving the new throughput goal.”
You reiterated this goal in your State of the State address in 2012, imploring legislators to ‘join me in refilling Alaska’s pipeline to prosperity.” You said, “We must act, and we must act now. Let’s meet my goal of one million barrels a day.”
A month later, when addressing the Juneau Chamber of Commerce, you emphasized that the goal of your oil tax bill was to “make Alaska competitive again” and bring in “hundreds of thousands of barrels of new production.”
Your commissioners reiterated this theme many times in testimony before the legislature. They presented numerous slides showing oil production declines in others states, with the bold and promising headline that “OTHER BASINS HAVE TURNED DECLINE AROUND.” They assured legislators that “tax reform” was responsible for these production increases.
In answer to specific questions about how Alaskans would know that your bill was working, DNR Commissioner Sullivan said an increase in “throughput” would be the measure (2/11/13, Senate Resources). He opined that if Alaska got to”only 700,000 barrels a day within 10 years, he wouldn’t consider that a failure.”
In light of these repeated promises that Alaska could turn its production decline around and the one- million-barrel goal you touted as attainable for the state, we are deeply troubled by the Administration’s new forecasts which show that under SB 21 oil production in Alaska will plummet by 38% over the next nine years from 508,000 barrels a day in 2014 to 313,000 barrels per day in 2023.
The public and legislators relied on your word and the clear testimony of your commissioners that SB 21 would indeed “refill Alaska’s pipeline to prosperity.” We relied on the fiscal notes for SB 21, which presented three promising scenarios for increased production under this bill. None of these now appear to be on the horizon. Instead, we are looking at massive deficits, the loss of our savings, and production declines as far as the eye can see.
We call on you to explain this debacle to Alaskans. Were facts misrepresented? Was an overly rosy picture presented to the legislature and public to sell a bill that now falls far short of what was promised? Do you now repudiate your goal of one million barrels a day of production by 2021?
Alaskans deserve the truth as we face substantial cuts to critical state services and the public weighs whether or not to repeal SB 21. It is time for a full accounting. As owners of our natural resource wealth, Alaskans deserve no less.
Senator Bill Wielechowski
Senator Hollis French
You’re not going to see a giant expensive ad campaign for Yes on 1. You’re going to see a giant, expensive ad campaign for No on 1. The fact that the oil companies can afford to do this, and you cannot should tell you all you need to know.