Alaska Energy: The Battle Continues (but we cannot grow weary)
It is indisputable that for the last two-and-a-half years the Federal government has undertaken a campaign of economic sabotage against Alaska.
The Trans Alaska Pipeline System (TAPS) is 2/3 empty and declining at a 6% annual rate while billions of barrels of oil lie untapped on federal lands nearby, causing America to import hundreds of billions of dollars worth of oil while exporting tens of thousands of American jobs to foreign jurisdictions.
The Obama Administration will have killed Alaska’s economy and set back America’s economic recovery if TAPS ceases operation for lack of readily available but off-limits federal oil.
Normal Americans throughout Alaska and the entire country have responded again and again to repeated salvos of regulatory ordinance calculated to descimate Alaska’s if not the entire country’s economy. It appears to be a conscious attempt to bring chaos, unemployment and poverty to a great nation and the state with resources that could be resurrecting the entire U.S. economy.
The attacks are well coordinated offenses led by federal agencies, accompanied by the happy warriors of the extreme environmental and social left. Every week or two we hear of a new ‘opportunity to comment’ on a new initiative that could pound another nail into the chest of a gasping economy. We have “commented” so many times that our fellow citizens are now saying, “Geeze, I don’t have time to do this every week; they’re wearing me down.”
For over two years we have exposed this ‘death by a thousand cuts’ to America’s economy, the cumulative effect on a great nation of continuous barrages of regulatory schrapnel that are descimating natural resource industries and hundreds of thousands of current and potential jobs: delaying and outright blocking projects. The delays and blocking of projects often violate established ‘due process’ causing ‘harmed’ states or companies to sue for relief — years away and too late if it comes at all. Alaska’s Governor Sean Parnell has sued the federal government for overreaching its authority.
Examples of the federal onslaught include:
Alaska is among the lowest populated states of America. But the state hosts about 3/4 of America’s coastline, most of America’s potential energy reservoirs, most of America’s potential reserves of industrial metals and strategic minerals. It is over twice the size of Texas, 20% the size of America. So it is no wonder the environmentalists wishing to change America’s way of life are targeting the great giant Alaska with help from a complicit federal administration whose proven style is, “Act now without transparency to stop development and let environmentalists defend us in court, if we are sued.” Meanwhile the ardor of developers will have evaporated and investment dollars will have been outsourced with jobs to foreign producing areas.
So, here we are: citizens faced with a deadline for comment today on the Interior Department’s latest duplicatave and unnecessary comment period (http://tinyurl.com/62aog87). The social and environmental activists — for many of whom community organizing and comment periods are part of the job — are hard at work filling the record with their comments: “We don’t need oil,” they say; “just give more subsidies to windmills and tidal generators”. We fear that if we do not comment, Obama’s minions will say, “the weight of the record falls in support of not developing our resources”.
With that in mind, our energies are renewed. We once again scramble to encourage our friends throughout Alaska and America to wake up to this threatening reality and to comment–this time on the July 11 deadline for comment on the Chukchi Sea SEIS.
And lest we forget the sacrifices of those who paid the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom by fighting tyranny on foreign shores, we recognize that we have an obligation to defend against domestic tyranny: the overreaching, arbitrary and capricious efforts of the current elected and appointed leaders of America to erode the economic ground on which Lady Liberty stands.
Like soldiers, we must face comment period after comment period and hold the line. We cannot retreat for if we do we know the hoards will overrun our positions and ransack the economy — and there will be nothing left for our children who now hope as we once did for a chance to grasp the American dream.
(Dave Harbour is a Commissioner Emeritus of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners and former Chairman of the Regulatory Commission of Alaska, the Alaska Council on Economic Education and the Anchorage Chamber of Commerce. His energy webpage is followed by thousands throughout North America, www.northerngaspipelines.com.)