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Letter to the Editor

The oil money giveaway

To the editor: I have been heartened to see how Alaskans are taking care of each other in these hard times. I live alone, and as a scientific field worker can’t work from home. But these difficulties have been lightened by seeing strangers smiling and waving, neighbors offering a hand, and families staying home to protect the vulnerable.

That said, while community members are standing together, our leaders have failed us. This crisis has revealed the sharp inequities in our country. If so many working families cannot afford health care or reliably feed their children from day to day, something is deeply wrong.

In the months before this crisis, as the governor defunded public education, senior services, public health care, community transportation, food security programs and more, using the argument that the state was broke, oil companies posted billions in profits from Alaska oil. Conoco alone posted a $368 million profit from North Slope operations for the fourth quarter of 2019. Alaska oil accounted for 29% of its profit margin, though only 16% of its global production. In other words, our weak oil taxation laws give Conoco profits here that are almost double its global average. Across the board, per-barrel profit margins are higher for oil companies in Alaska than literally anywhere else in the world.

Why are we letting Conoco, BP, et al defraud us of our assets? Why can’t our leaders summon the courage to tax these companies fairly? With profits like these, they are not pulling out. Selling our oil for a fair price is plain good business. If I ran a hamburger stand the way Dunleavy runs Alaska, I’d wind up in jail.

I’ve had enough of government run by the rich, for the rich. Vote ’em out. All of ’em. Support the gubernatorial recall, support oil tax reform and vote for new state representatives who will give a darn about their constituents. This is no time for corporate tax welfare at the cost of our communities.


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