September 5, 2016
Governor Walker said recently, as reported in two articles in Alaska Dispatch News, Alaska will know in a year if markets will support a state-led natural gas pipeline project. Naysayers are out in force but alternative ideas are scarce to non-existent.
A state-led gasline is visionary and it can be done. Experts can figure out how to finance, build, and market the project, but vision is the impetus needed to move the state forward. The positive socio-economic impacts affordable energy will bring to all local economies cannot be measured yet – but one can safely say the good impacts will be remarkable.
The project’s positive points are well articulated by Governor Walker in his article: http://www.adn.com/opinions/2016/09/03/alaska-needs-to-take-the-lead-on-gas-line-project/
The way I see it, the immediate barriers to moving forward on this badly needed economic project are political. The current mess, both fiscally and project-wise, was created by the GOP (Rs) supermajority in the State House and Senate. They had the votes to pass anything they wanted, and did.
- Not long ago, the supermajority, under the leadership of industry-friendly Governor Parnell, used their status and sold the state down the river.
- They passed SB21. Legislation that took a low bow to the Oil Industry by creating much too generous tax incentives.
- They didn’t stop there. Thinking they had it made in the political shade, they went on to pass SB138. Legislation that created a ridiculous State/Oil partnership doomed for failure.
Public policy should be written and passed into law for the good of the whole, not private industry. Corporate policy is squarely focused, and rightly so, on its bottom line. These very different cultures are not designed to partner up in anything the scale of a gasline as in SB138.
- All the while, the same majority of bullies was growing an unsustainable government every year with no regard to the revenue versus expenditure equation.
In short, the left hand didn’t know what the right hand was doing. This created the mess that exists today.
The good news is it is an election year. If challengers can successfully get out the vote, the supermajority will go away. Most House representatives are running for re-election. Voters, please ask them what they would have done differently in the same situation. Ask the hard questions on statewide issues such as fiscal stability, the gasline project, and a right-sized government just to name a few.
The bad news is very few on the Senate side are up for re-election in 2016. However, two incumbents, both part of supermajority that created this mess, are running. The two are Senators Coghill (District B) and Giessel (District N). Both races will be hard fought and the outcome will ultimately be up to the voters in these districts. Let’s hope and help their challengers for the good of the state.
Encourage votes for candidates that will remember who they serve, and who can demonstrate they will do the work of the people. Disregard party affiliation this time around. The future depends on it.
LeadDog © A Vision for Alaska
LeadDog is an independent perspective with no political party affiliation. LeadDog is a public service blog, self-financed and written by Tara Jollie, long time state employee – retired. Opinions here are based upon years of experience with the State of Alaska and are strictly the author’s own.