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September 20, 2021

The Silver Lining on Prop 1

Congratulations, Alaska! Thirty-one percent of registered voters decided for 100 percent of us what is “best for Alaska” in an election this week. Last week I knew we were in trouble when employees of oil companies were bussed to the early polls. Buses with gift baskets and snacks. Must be nice. The election worker balked when I asked for a Republican ballot. I smiled. I voted. Voting early on Tuesday, I drove into town and kept seeing signs made of bed sheets on the overpasses. One in particular got to me. It was the eight gold stars with “Vote Yes”…

Corporate Greed vs. Bedsheets

We’ve been and will be advocating really hard through today for what is a very Alaska specific issue, albeit one which illustrates the larger, nationwide problem of unrestrained corporate power exerting itself at the expense of school children, retirees, a decent infrastructure, and the basic services on which people in a civilized society depend. We‘ve been heavily outspent, with Exxon, BP, Conoco and their lobbyists dropping $15mil on a very small population. The two deciding votes in our legislature for the corporate welfare bill known as SB21 are both on the payroll of—as in employed by—Conoco Phillips. Our governor is an…

The Oily Facts on Prop 1

By Peter Blanas Alaskans understand that oil is the economic cornerstone of our state. Alaskans are right to be concerned, that we have a healthy and productive oil and support industry. It’s also understood that the extraction of oil in the Arctic, is very difficult and expensive, and should come with a good return on investment. We want the industry to earn a healthy profit, along with Alaska, the resource owner. First, a look backward: Oil began flowing down the pipeline from the North Slope in 1977. Daily production peaked in 1988, at just over 2 million barrels a day,…

Alaskans! Run!

The recent boondoggle with the Anchorage legislative office remodel is appalling enough by itself. However it also represents a much greater issue with this legislature. Members of that body are elected and sworn to act in the best interests of Alaska. Currently, they don’t. In negotiating a disastrous lease, they have Alaskans paying for an extensive remodel to a building we don’t own, and then a fivefold increase in rent, and finally locking us into a decade-long lease. This is a bad deal all the way around for the state, and a dreadful misappropriation of funds. Meanwhile, the lessor, a heavy campaign…

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. Profit. 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…

WE DID IT, ALASKA! Oil Giveaway on the Ballot.

  Moments ago, the Alaska Division of Elections announced that they had received enough valid voter signatures to put the question of repealing SB21, the massive giveaway of state money to oil companies, on the primary ballot in August of 2014. After achieving his stated goal of a Republican majority in the State House and Senate (albeit using redistricting lines later found to be unconstitutional), Governor Sean Parnell got the vote he wanted in the 2013 legislative session. The vote in the Senate was made possible by two legislators who are literally employed by ConocoPhillips. Last month, Parnell signed into…

Why Big Oil Fears This Man (EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW)

More than 50,000 signatures were gathered in the effort to put the question of repealing SB21 on the ballot in August of 2014. The massive no-strings-attached giveaway to big oil companies will drain Alaska’s coffers into the bank accounts of the wealthiest multinational corporations in the history of the world. Alaska gets nothing – no commitment to exploration, production increases, or jobs. We do get to sacrifice the future of education, infrastructure projects, parks, public safety, and other critical needs. It’s not much of a deal. And yet, the Parnell administration and most Republicans in the legislature voted for it,…

1 Simple Act You Can Do to Save Alaska

On this day when even the most ardent curmudgeon can’t help but feel a little patriotic stirring, even if it’s only for what has been… or what might yet be, you have something to do, Alaskans. Santa says. And so does this guy.   Yes, I am talking to YOU. NOW. This is the last week to sign the petition to repeal the most devastating legislation Alaska has ever seen – Senate Bill 21 (SB21). You don’t have to think of him as Uncle Sam. He can be Uncle Jay (Hammond), or Uncle Wally (Hickel), or Uncle Bob (Bartlett), or…

Shills Get Physical

If you wait long enough you’ll have agreed and disagreed with just about everyone. I’m no different. I’ve found myself defending people I wouldn’t walk across the street to slap on a good day when it came to certain issues. It’s just what happens. This time, I’m walking across the street. The same Alaska GOP that subverted the will of Alaskans through an illegal gerrymandering of the state Legislature and brazen attempts to prevent Alaska Natives from voting apparently now has a new tack for undermining the public will: paid hacks are verbally and physically interfering with Alaskans who are…

Parnell Signs SB21 While Protesters Gather

Inside, former ConocoPhillips lobbyist and current Gov.  Sean Parnell was signing away billions of dollars of Alaska’s oil wealth to BP, Exxon, and ConocoPhillips. He was handing them new roads and road improvements, he handed them schools, he handed them public safety officers, and bridges. And in return, we get nothing. Outside, a crowd gathered during their lunch hour to protest the action. The Republicans who backed the Governor’s giveaway either tried to rush through the crowd without making eye contact , or they entered the lobby of the Dena’ina Center from the other side. It was a parade –…