Oil Companies Deceive and Divide Us
I listened to a public radio story this week about Anchorage neighbors and their sign war. They are friends who trade snow plowing for boat storage space, but can’t talk about the most important vote for Alaskans in my lifetime. Instead they keep making their signs taller and bigger.
Another woman had her “Yes on One” sign burned in her yard and a “No” one put beside it. I have friends who are on their fifth “Yes” sign because they keep disappearing.
That’s what millions of dollars have bought, and brought to our state. Sign wars – millions of dollars worth of printed ammo for neighbors to spar with. We’ve lost revenue as an owner state, and now we’ve lost the ability to discuss a topic vital to our communities.
People Outside don’t get political signs the way we do. They also don’t understand how folks from all sides show up at a place called “Election Central” downtown on election night. Part of that experience is to show we’re ready to work together and harder next time.
You can tell the oil companies are getting desperate in their attempts to keep Alaska a colonial state because the attacks on those who stand up for us are getting personal. The President of the Anchorage Chamber of Commerce took to Facebook to claim he’d “clean and gut” his opponent in a debate. What is this, the third grade? (Imagine him gutting a fish, and try not to crack up.) The only thing cleaned and gutted in this debate have been the facts.
How do these guys sleep at night? (Hint: On pillows of money.)
It’s the classic case of the people versus the powerful – David versus Goliath. They spend millions upon millions trying to convince us that black is white. I can’t really blame them. It’s all they can really do with the facts so overwhelmingly against them. The only way they can win is to try to confuse Alaskans.
I could spend a lot of words trying to correct the broken misinformation record of the No on One crowd. It’s pretty easy. And there are others who have, like Sean Parnell’s former oil and gas commissioner, Kevin Banks, who has laid out the economic realities, and is voting Yes on One.
My question is, who do you believe? Who do you trust? This decision shouldn’t be a faith-based one, and yet the oil companies are hoping you’ll just trust them, and not look at the facts.
Who is incentivised to tell you what is really better for the future of Alaska – those who have been here for the long haul like Vic Fischer who wrote our Constitution, or corporations run from Houston and London?
When was the last time a corporation spent million of dollars just to help you out at their own expense without a court order?
In 1989, Exxon spilled millions of gallons of oil in Prince William Sound. Exxon’s mouthpiece, Don Cornett, showed up in Cordova to tell us, “You have had some good luck, and you don’t realize it. You have Exxon, and we do business straight. We will consider whatever it takes to keep you whole.” Well, if fighting Alaskans in court for decades and then paying them 10 cents on the dollar is some “good luck,” I’d hate to see what bad luck looks like.
The oil companies promised us for 30 years that some of the lowest oil taxes in the world would lead to more production. We listened, and we lost tens of billions of dollars, and oil production plummeted.
At one point, a judge actually found our legislature guilty of “inexcusable trustfulness.” Why? Because they let the pipeline tariff rates get illegally jacked up by the oil companies so they could pay Alaska tens of billions less.
Who remembers the oil industry promises of “no decline after 99?” That was over 500,000 barrels ago. In 2006, the oil industry spent millions opposing a gas reserves tax. They said, if you want a gas line, vote NO. We trusted them. We voted NO. Eight years later, we are no closer to a gas line. Six months ago, a FERC judge found the oil companies guilty of “cavalier” waste – for again trying to overcharge on tariffs.
Come Tuesday we’ll know if the millions invested in an ad campaign to confuse Alaskans into voting away their birthright as citizens of an Owner State worked or not. The divisiveness the oil companies put on their own tab shouldn’t be tolerated – we need each other – winter is coming. Vote Yes on 1.