There are two things that irk native Alaskans; the summer mosquito, and pesky environmental cartels who tout centralized management, aka Washington DC, and constrained vision in determining how best to suck the life blood out of our state’s solvency.
While the preceding entities are hard to tell apart, there is only one Arctic National Wildlife Refuge; over 30,000 square miles of primordial majesty, but in whose crude oil substratum lies Alaska’s commercial and industrial subsistence.
It’s been twelve-thousand years since the use of flint rather than metal for energy generation, but Barack Obama’s plodding Interior Department recently mandated ANWR remain undeveloped to petroleum exploration and recovery. A modern-day decree from an administration who previously knew ANWR to be the first name of the former Egyptian leader. Different spelling, same lack of vision.
With a Democrat majority gone, and knowing there was no stopping Keystone XL’s passage in the Senate, Defenders of Wildlife and The Sierra Club clawed and mauled their way for a donor dollar return on Obama campaign contributions. Their frenetic lobbying in turn offset billions of future barrels of ANWR oil from the reach of energy companies.
As skilled as this administration is at percolating America rife with discord, Alaskans are mindfully aware that issuing further restrictions on the state’s oil and gas industry, including the coastal plain in the state’s northeast corner, which taps into 90% of the states revenue, is one big bad idea. One that Senator Lisa Murkowski, Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chair labeled “a one, two, three, kick to the gut of Alaska’s economy.”
Obama slightly backtracked after the ANWR decision, infuriating ivory dome environmentalists by announcing a pervasive five-year project of oil and gas drilling off a southeast stretch of the Atlantic seaboard extending along the Gulf of Mexico. Apples-to-orange logistics though, are no comfort in nullifying Alaska’s petroleum exploration, where sundry employment prospects are not readily found as those in the Eastern United States.
With zero chance of Congress approving closing off ANWR, Republican Senator and former Alaskan State Department of Natural Resources commissioner, Dan Sullivan fears the worst, labeling it “a classic Obama tactic,” in the same vein as unconstitutional illegal amnesty. Sullivan, only a month on the job in DC said, Obama uses “executive action to do what no Congress would do.”
Which make Sullivan’s words so resounding, for it isn’t solely an Alaskan issue, but a national one. Few outside the state will ever know or appreciate the solitude of a place like ANWR, but everyone benefits from Alaskan crude oil production. Royalties and taxes from that industry fund the state’s public health care system, while also providing Alaskans jobs as ship captains, oil field and fishery workers. Those monies have translated into a vital education tool in academic curriculums, where information gathering field trips provide a broader understanding and observation of the landscape.
Inuit residents, who for generations have inhabited regions bordering the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas, thriving on local fish, wildlife, cultivating the native flora and fauna, have seen their communities prosper with the discovery of oil and the inflow of oil-related money. As profits from Prudhoe Bay production wane and TAPS operating at less than 25% of rated capacity, the benefits accrued them—as well as all Alaskan citizens through the royalty and taxes placed in Alaska’s Permanent Fund, are receding. Oil production is in fact why Alaska is the only state without a personal income or sales tax.
As America sees a significant drop in gas prices and domestic oil production, it shouldn’t be seen as an omen for the future. Obama’s move was merely short-sided incrementalism and pandering to the panic-button left, who gloss over the benefits of smaller sized footprints left by directional drilling. But perhaps more damning than their placards and protestations, is the left’s willful blindness to the strict regulations, care for the land, native subsistence and protections already in place in the state for all 45 species of animals inhabiting ANWR. Not to mention the painstaking care to ensure birthing and calving junctures, as well as monitoring that whale migration seasons remain uninterrupted.
As Murkowski said, the administration “has taken a look at Alaska and decided it’s a nice little snow globe up there, and we’re going to keep it that way.”
I have to wonder if Obama knows the earth isn’t flat. Or, the Viennese snow globe presented his daughter Malia from the original Perzy manufacturers of Austria, was made from liquid petroleum gas.