The terms tossed about on the gasline issues show the awkward and unworkable partnership created in recent past under sb138. A fundamental flaw created by this legislation is that oil corporations are legally beholding to their shareholders and the state must do what is best for all Alaskans; two extremely different missions. The entire partnership should be dissolved.
The state needs to always retain its sovereign position as the taxing entity in all instances of resource and public infrastructure development. As a minor partner, its sovereign role is compromised. The state leaves itself open to the arm-twisting of its majority partners. This is a weak negotiating position for the state and it is a reflection of former governor Parnell’s fearful personality.
Another problematic term that needs to be re-defined is economic viability. The private sector must build a project when it determines the project will make a profit. The state needs to get out of that square box and think of economic viability in terms of a break even publicly owned project aimed at quality of life issues – much like safe running water, indoor toilets, and affordable warm housing. The state needs to be clear on the application and use of this term.
If we don’t abandon the crazy partnership with the oil giants, I support the idea of a gas tax. I recall, not that long ago, Exxon had to be sued to develop Point Thompson. If corporate gas is worth more in the ground for oil production than it is in a gasline, I expect they would fight to the finish to keep it in the ground. Why would they do anything else?
Also, I look forward to hearing what the Oil and Gas Commission determines on the oil corporation’s application to even sell natural gas. No gas, no need for a line. This determination is a deal breaker for all parties.
I expect this session to be very interesting. Stay involved, and stay tuned. I remain optimistic.
LeadDog Alaska/cc /2015