This upcoming Tuesday, Aug. 19, is a very important election day for Alaska voters. On this date Alaskans will vote on whether to reject, or not, the diverting of over $1 billion annually of oil royalties from the State of Alaska treasury to BigOil shareholders. For some, this appears to be a “complex issue”; I would suggest otherwise. Based on the following, I would offer the following three (3) points.
First, is BigOil really our “friend”; that is, should it be trusted? Let’s see. In 1989 there was the Exxon-Valdez oil spill. Next, there was a 1994 jury decision to award $5 billion in damages to victims of the spill. Subsequently BigOil appealed the decision; and at the end of the appeals process in 2008, BigOil agreed to pay $381 million plus interest of the original $5 billion jury award, or 7.5 percent. Q.E.D., BigOil is not the “friend” of anyone but itself – it’s a self-serving, business organization that will run over anybody and anything to gratify its own immediate, self-centered interests … at least judging from the history of the Exxon-Valdez incident, above.
Secondly, so far this year, Alaskans have lost over $1 billion in revenue to BigOil shareholders. And, referring to the official State of Alaska ballot measure pamphlet, Page 21, the Alaska Department of Revenue has determined that, “If SB 21 [the measure allowing BigOil to divert funds and that is now in effect] had been in effect since 2007, Alaskans would have lost $8.5 billion”: the words of Alaska’s Department of Revenue, not mine.
Third point: nobody really cares what you or I “think”. What counts is that we get ourselves down to the polls this Tuesday and vote “Yes” to repeal this legislation that allows BigOil to rob Alaskans of Alaska oil revenues. Or, if going to the polls is too much effort, be prepared to lose or accept less state-funded services and/or to pay more in local taxes. Actions, or the lack thereof, do have consequences. In the end, frankly, it is all just that simple.