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June 13, 2021


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.



10 Responses to “Oil Companies Deceive and Divide Us”
  1. Mike D. says:

    Given the amount of fear instilled regarding job and business loss to the state, the oil companies are sitting in the proverbial catbird seat. Their millions of dollars campaign to suggest that if things don’t go their way could force them to leave the state has worked to perfection. In fact they have been so successful, what could stop them from trying it again in a few years? A vote yes is not about crippling the state or driving big oil out of the state, it’s about accountability. We are continually told that providing corporations with lower taxes, tax breaks, and incentives results in job creation, only the results have been marginal at best. As companies make more money, they find leaner ways to operate. It is not wrong for Alaskans to ask for performance guarantees. If am the one holding the purse strings, then I need something more than a statement of good intentions that my money will produce results.

  2. Zyxomma says:

    YES on One, Alaskans! Vote for your state, for your family, for yourself, for your neighbors, for your future.

  3. Millie says:

    I have already voted ‘yes’ on this issue. Mainly due to seeing all the money the various oil companies have put into advertising asking Alaskans to vote ‘no’! Makes them very, very circumspect to say the least!

    And, w/Parnell having a work history w/Conoco and w/two Alaska legislators working for oil companies that did not abstain from the vote last session (on this issue) just seems corrupt to me!

  4. No Name says:

    Alaska Oil Company is one of curiosity…started in 1977…and how old was the ‘birthright’ owner of that money?
    I smell a ‘racket’ of sorts with ‘that’ trust fund…sounds to me like the portfolio is in the State of Alaska Trust…
    Ouch that will hurt in court…when the scam is revealed and roaches race from that sunlight of evidences…
    It already got Palin to resign and Parnell to play ‘scamming schemes’ with the portfolio before the court date…
    May be the feds will indite Palin and Parnell instead…I hear business is betting who will be in court first…lol…

  5. mike from iowa says:

    You say there is no reason
    When the truth is plain to see
    They were lying through their teeth now
    and would change history
    set upon the yearning masses
    means more profit for the few
    that the oil found in Alaska
    does not belong to you

    and as they lied to citizens
    their lack of conscience kicking in
    foreign registers keep ringing
    shareholders cashing in
    state’s resource fund is empty
    drained w/o a fight
    when reality gobsmacked us
    we ralized Shannyn Moore was right

  6. Tallimat says:

    Hi AKM,
    Wonderful writing.
    One correction –> 1989 instead of 1980.

  7. dr. sparemachinery says:

    and we should believe the oil companies and what they have to say ?

    for decades they have lied, cheated and stolen from the people of alaska. one might reasonably start with the falsified pipe welds during the construction of the trans- alaska oil pipeline, then move onto their assurances that an oil spill in prince william sound was extremely unlikely, but that in any event they would fully fund all the essential gear and people needed to deal with a spill – only to watch them cut budgets, equipment and personnel over the years to the point that when the exxon valdez ran aground they were totally impotent in their attempt to deal with the spill… oh and didn’t they also promise they would make everyone whole in the wake of the incident and then spend hundreds of millions of dollars – with the aid of future “governor god” fight to reduce the size of the settlement.

    not to mention the cutting of maintenance on the slope which resulted in some good sized spills as well as how they have consistently low balled the value of the pipeline in order to cut their tax liability – which alaska courts have repeatedly ruled against those valuations to get the state its fair value tax revenue.

    and then there are the shenanigans of non production at point thompson for so many years despite repeated assurances of timely development, or we could also mention veco and the corrupt bastards club and the way the oil companies bought our state legislature to do their bidding.

    those are just a few of their transgressions, there are many more which could be cited, but unfortunately my memory can’t retain them all

    alaskan voters need to realize that these multi-national corporations are not our friends, they have no altruistic interest in our well being whatsoever, all they care about is making money and maximizing their profits by any and all means necessary…. and always at our expense.

    they are neither to be believed nor trusted, nor is their lapdog sean parnell. given his history it is not at all difficult to believe that he works for their best interests , not ours. where do you imagine he will go back to work when his terms as governor come to an end.

    we have 50 billion dollars in our permanent fund account – perhaps it is time the state start exploring for and developing our own oil resources and free ourselves from the thrall oil companies.

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