GUEST COMMENTARY: Proposals at state, federal level would end energy independence

Thanks to President Trump, America has finally achieved energy independence and is pushing for worldwide energy dominance. Unfortunately, at the same time, the Democratic Party is pushing its radical agenda that would make America the worldwide punchline of a sad joke.

Despite these efforts to destroy a critical industry, Americans are benefitting greatly from the Trump Administration’s support of natural gas and oil. President Trump has diligently removed unnecessary, archaic restrictions that once shackled the United States’ ability to responsibly, safely and efficiently develop its abundance of natural resources.

These actions have brought overseas manufacturing jobs back to America, given the U.S. more leverage in international negotiations, and revitalized an economy that was decimated during the Obama Administration.

Looking at the policies and politics of the current Democratic presidential front-runners, it’s clear that all of this progress is at risk. Particularly for Alaska – a state coming out of a recession that still has the highest unemployment rate in the nation – the Democratic candidates’ platforms and priorities would be crushing. A few of the candidates’ far-left pledges are worth noting:

o The Green New Deal is a radical proposal that would ban fracking, severely restrict the entire oil and natural gas industry, and cost Alaskan households over $100,000 in just its first year of implementation.

o Ending fossil fuel leasing projects on federal lands, which would take away Alaska’s ability to use its natural resources from land like the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

o Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizaebth Warren both pledged to ban fracking on day one of their Presidency, whereas Joe Biden, Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Sen. Amy Klobuchar would still regulate it significantly.

o Sanders and Warren also propose banning exports of our nation’s fossil fuels.

These types of proposals might be good for California, but they certainly aren’t in the best interest of Alaskans. Any of those candidates, should they ascend to the White House, would inflict tremendous damage to Alaska’s economy. They would rather see oil, gas, minerals and rare earth materials stay in the ground in the name of unproven talking points.

With the Democratic presidential primaries intensifying and candidates competing for the national spotlight, it’s easy to lose sight of what’s happening right here at home, where there is another more immediate threat to the Alaskan way of life.

The Fair Share Act is a measure slowly making its way toward appearing on an election ballot sometime later this year. In a short-sighted effort to close the state’s deficit, this initiative would increase taxes on the oil industry by over 300 percent. This would imperil Alaska’s entire oil and gas sector and the employment of nearly one-third of all private-sector jobs in our state.

Robin Brena, a longtime attorney who has made millions of dollars suing the major producers in Alaska, is the primary sponsor of the Fair Share Act. He’s spent his career punishing the industry that has long provided Alaskans with so much, and this is just his latest attempt to restrict it, just as the potential for increased production across the North Slope is exploding.

Brena is trying to do to Alaska what the leading Democratic presidential candidates are trying to do to America: thwart investment, kill jobs, and perpetuate a development strategy that will lead to decreased investment in our leading employment.

Come election time — for both the Fair Share Act and the presidency — this agenda does not deserve to be rewarded with votes from Alaskans who actually care about our great state.

Rick Whitbeck is the Alaska State Director for Power The Future, a national non-profit advocating for energy workers, while fighting back against environmental extremism and the ideologues who fund radicalized efforts to thwart American energy dominance.

Updated: 
02/19/2020 - 10:05am