SEACC provides counterweight

Posted: Thursday, February 25, 2010

Thank you to Ray Metcalfe for his recent My Turn analysis of just how spectacularly profitable the oil industry is in Alaska under the Alaska Clear and Equitable Share.

In the same issue was a news piece about Southeast Conservation Council's recent ad campaign featuring members of its organization. This sets up an inevitable comparison with the oil industry's recent 'Faces of ACES' campaign.

SEACC's campaign is funded in part by Lower 48 organizations involved in environmental issues. 'Faces of ACES' ads are ultimately funded in their entirety by oil companies headquartered in Texas or England. SEACC's ads feature the faces of real, long-time, local Alaskans genuinely involved with SEACC. The 'Faces of ACES' ads feature short term oil industry workers (all the long-term employees are too busy working to have their pictures taken, since oil industry employment in Alaska is near a historic high), and oil company executives.

The Empire also ran an article about efforts by the oil industry to change ACES, by which Alaskans get to keep a few dollars of their oil wealth. This effort is led by Republican Sen. Lesil McGuire and Republican Rep. Craig Johnson, the poster children for going back to simply giving away Alaska's oil wealth. They are walking, talking examples of just how far a few dollars in campaign contributions can go.

There is certainly nothing wrong with companies making money, but that is their only concern. Cruise industry executives want to dump garbage into our waters because it is cheaper and so makes their companies more profitable. Oil industry executives want as much of Alaska's oil as they can get their hands on because it is immensely profitable. The timber industry would happily clear-cut the entire Tongass National Forest because it is more profitable.

So, while I'm not a member of SEACC (and not interested in joining, SEACC, so don't call), I'm glad they provide a counterweight to the companies that simply want to profit off Alaska, and shill groups such as First Things First.

If folks are still fooled by the oil industry's self-serving nonsense after reading Metcalfe's analysis, then it's their own fault, and attributable only to partisanship, shilling for the industry or a less than stellar capacity for analytical thought.

Donald R. Douglas


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