My Turn: Our oil

The editorial in the July 9, 2012 issue of the Juneau Empire was one of the slickest jobs of word “smithing” I have ever read. Let me fill in what Rebecca Logan and Brad Keithley left out of their editorial.

As was pointed out, the oil belongs to Alaskans, not the oil companies. The oil companies have been given permission by the State of Alaska to take our resource and make money on it. The caveat is that we get paid for our resource. The oil companies have made untold billions of dollars in profits from our oil. Now they are saying that they want a portion of our money too. With the help of Governor Parnell, they almost took another $8 billion from us in tax exemptions according to Senator Hollis French and Representative Les Gara (PRESS RELEASE • July 27, 2011). French and Gara also stated that “ConocoPhillips is making over $5 million in profits every day in Alaska…” Had it not been for the bipartisan coalition in the Senate, we the people of Alaska who depend on taxes on our resources to fund our services, would be out $8 billion.

Logan and Keithley also whined about our legislators. The oil companies have access to our legislators through hearings and their lobbyists. They had 19 lobbyists by my count of the APOC (Alaska Public Offices Commission) website but could not convince the 20 senators to give them the $8 billion. They spent lots of money trying.

Here is how the oil companies spent some of their money in the first four months of 2012.

ConocoPhillips paid two lobbyists’s a total of $59,436.51 for the first four months of 2012. Koch Companies Public Sector reported two lobbyists, one with a salary of $60,000 per year and a second with a salary of $150,000 per year. That is a lot more than I spent but then I emailed the legislators for free with my opinion.

This is what I think is happening. Governor Parnell and the oil companies are going to try again this next session to get the $8 billion. It will take a lot of money on TV, radio and newspaper ads, not to mention campaign contributions, to buy what they want. Every time you hear or see one of the ads, think about the outrageous price you are paying for gas and the greed of the oil companies. Think of that also when you vote and when the legislator takes up the issue again.

• Miller is a Juneau resident.

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