My Turn: Thoughts about oil and Arctic refuge

Posted: Wednesday, November 21, 2007

I am glad to hear that Gov. Sarah Palin has helped increase the taxes on the oil that we are allowing a company to come in and take from our natural resources surplus. With the corruption of our politicians, the blasting of their blinding radio, newspaper and television campaigns, it can become difficult to see what the oil executives are doing. Don't fall for it though. They're dirty, tough poker players and they're striving to pull a bluff. Where else is the oil industry going to go to for oil? The tar sands?

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As much as BP would like to convince us that they don't need our oil and they will be going someplace else for it (if we don't cater to their every whim) - the truth stands that there is not an everlasting surplus of oil to provide to the world. BP and every other oil producer support this statement when they justify the $3.39 gallons of unleaded at the pumps. If they don't want to take the higher taxes proposal, here's an idea: We can hold onto the oil and charge them more for it later on down the road. In that scenario, they gouge our pocketbooks now, we could gouge theirs later - on a much larger scale.

In supplement to this, I am saddened by the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge letter that Palin wrote to Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman urging him to change his stance on blocking oil production from occurring in the coastal plain of ANWR. We should be working toward innovating new sources of energy to tap into, not just as a state but as a nation. We are placing ourselves in the ever-tightening grip of the oil industry by allowing ourselves to rely on them. The richest, most corrupt and powerful industry in the world does not care about our education system, our social and medical issues, health costs, seniors, transportation or wilderness now - nor will they 20 years down the road.

If Palin believes that opening up ANWR to drilling is going to help the nation, she has forgotten the principle of business - supply and demand. The oil industry will continue to supply what it has to offer, but as it finds more demand, it will continue to increase the costs for the product. Given an abundance of a product to keep in surplus, why would a businessman drop the prices on his product when there is a continual demand for it? Oil constricts the nation's economy, it is our bloodline for transport, business and military. The more we allow ourselves to demand it to survive, the less control we have over our own economy's stability and success.

If we allow drilling in ANWR, we are succumbing yet again to the control of the oil industry. The land became a refuge in hopes that some things in this world should and could remain protected from "civilization." By allowing drilling, any future benefit from oil or gas would only be temporary, but the devastation would remain permanent. Oil from ANWR will not provide this nation with a secure domestic energy resource. The fact of the matter is that there's not enough of it to do so. Whether or not we decide to drill there is still a choice. We can either refocus our energy on an alternative resource or we can continue to support the richest, most corrupt, irreverent industry in the world in its efforts to tap, use, and toss away yet another resource.

I fully support Lieberman, innovation of energy resources, higher taxes on oil production, and less dependence on oil. I have maintained the hope that "New Energy" will really be, well, new energy.

• Nicole Skeek works for the Department of Labor and Workforce Development and is a past employee of the departments of Health and Social Services and Transportation and Public Facilities. She lives in Juneau.

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