Letter: Alaska doesn't own oil companies

When a fellow Alaskan writes in about Alaska’s Clear and Equitable Share (ACES) being bad, we don’t know if it’s a product of them believing the massive corporate ad campaign or because they’re a member of the political party seemingly under that corporate wing.

ACES was a miracle created by members of both parties working together (when that could happen), and signed by a Republican governor (one who hadn’t lobbied for Big Oil). ACES was producing more jobs that created more wealth for Alaskans, which aided our economy across the board.

Gov. Sean Parnell bragged about the financial state of Alaska in his 2013 State of the State address, before he and the legislature dismantled ACES shamelessly, with some legislators who worked for oil interests refusing to recuse themselves from voting. They had to ram Parnell’s alternative through before the new oil fields coming on line would put the lie to their “lack of incentive” story. Those fields were going to come on line because ACES had generous incentives.

If we can negotiate a higher royalty share at higher prices, like anyone can, ACES’ sliding scale made perfect common sense. It’s hard to remember it’s greatness, immersed as we are in the current lopsided “David vs. Corporate Goliath” onslaught these days surrounding Proposition 1, where the corporate side dominates the advertising media.

Let’s not forget the oil industry isn’t like mining. It is a “straw in the ground”, to quote a line from the movie “There will be blood.” And extraction expenses drop off in a hurry.

I’ll be voting for Proposition 1 this August along with many Alaskans of all political stripes. It will be an uphill fight — going against big oil money, who probably figure their dollars are money well spent. Millions spent for billions in return.

One of their main tag lines is a subtle deceit. They are not “Alaska’s oil and gas company.” That little, possessive apostrophe is quite a trick. Alaska doesn’t own a single oil company, though at times it may seem like they own us. And they aren’t based in Alaska, either. Nor should we fall for the ingratiating ads of their scholarship benevolence. It comes at a price. Let’s seize our dignity back.

Tony Tengs

Juneau

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