AK Oil Tax Giveaway Repeal Referendum Moves; Conoco Cancels Rig Contract

 

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The organizers and sponsors of Vote Yes! Repeal the Giveaway gathered Thursday to submit their proposed referendum to Alaska Lt. Governor Mead Treadwell to verify the language, so it will be valid for signature gathering, Alex DeMarban, Alaska Dispatch reported. The organizers have 372 sponsors, which is more than three times the amount required, however, they must gather over 30,000 signatures in less than three months for the referendum to be put on the ballot on August 26, 2014. The number represents 10% of the electorate who voted in the last election.

The referendum’s principal sponsors are: “Jim Whitaker, a Republican and former Fairbanks mayor, Bella Hammond, widow of late Republican governor Jay Hammond, and Vic Fischer, a former Democratic senator.” Fischer helped draft the Alaska State Constitution over 50 years ago, and said SB-21 violates the state Constitution.

“In the ’50s, Alaskans worked to get statehood to get away from absentee control of Alaska resources,” said Fischer, referring to outside industries that dominated development.

The Constitution says the state should manage its resources for the maximum benefit of its residents. But Senate Bill 21 doesn’t do that, Fischer said, calling it an “unconstitutional” giveaway of billions of dollars benefiting BP, Exxon Mobil and ConocoPhillips, the companies that produce nearly all of Alaska’s oil.

The Bob and Mark Show referred to DeMarban’s report during their Friday morning broadcast. Bob Lester and Mark Colavecchio who host the show have been friends of the Palins for over 17 years and have been at the forefront of repelling Alaska Governor Sean Parnells’s three-years-long war on Alaska’s Clear and Equitable Share (ACES), in which he finally emerged victorious.

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Meanwhile, DeMarban reported on April 19, that ConocoPhillips cancelled a contract for an oil rig under construction in the Arctic Sea off the North Slope. Drilling was to have begun in the summer of 2014.

“While state leaders put a buoyant spin on Alaska’s future, skeptical observers can’t ignore the facts as oil production on the North Slope continues its two-decade drop…[S]ome skeptics can’t help but wonder how long before the state’s $16 billion savings account vanishes, what with Gov. Sean Parnell’s “great gamble” to lower oil production taxes in hopes the oil patch grows,” DeMarban wrote.

DeMarban cited Shell’s “pausing” of Arctic drilling to focus on repairing rigs in Asia, the stalled 800-mile pipeline which was likely just a ploy to get tax breaks, and the price of crude dropping to below $100 per barrel as the Chinese economy slows.

On April 16, the Juneau Empire published Gov. Parnell’s spiel on SB-21.

H/T Lynda Armstrong, “The Teacher’s Daughter: a Tribute to Sarah Palin” Facebook Group for story lead.

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