I read in the Jan. 15 Empire that “ways to get more oil flowing through the trans-Alaska pipeline” will likely be the dominant legislative issue this year. This is understandable in the short term, given the nature of our economy and tax base. But what is our strategy for a longer-term future? The evidence is very strong that the more hydrocarbons we put into circulation, the more we are voting for a climate that will radically alter life, especially here in the north. These alterations are almost certain to work against the interests of our kids and grandkids. When oil and the future don’t mix, I hope we will vote for the future.
We are a rich state right now, in part because of a wise decision to save some of the boom money. We need to access that wisdom again to look beyond the immediate lure of oil and work out a new direction for our state. This will be difficult and potentially divisive; it will require us all to think out of the box. So where is the political energy for this? I ask you, Representative Kerttula, Senator Egan, Governor Parnell, and Senators Murkowski and Begich: are any of you willing to lead a conversation on what our future should look like beyond the oil days? I, and I think many others, would join you.