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Posted: Monday, October 15, 2012 12:00 am | Updated: 11:36 am, Mon Jan 21, 2013.

Oct. 13, 2012

To the editor:

“Trust, but verify” has special relevance in Alaska’s state legislative election. Alaskans generally can unite to promote responsible oil and gas exploration and development. Equally, there is no serious debate that tax breaks can stimulate necessary oil and gas exploration and development. Rather, the important question facing Alaskans in this election is when are tax breaks for the oil companies in Alaska’s interest?

Oil companies should only get tax breaks in exchange for verifiable efforts to explore and develop new oil and gas production. Oil companies should not receive tax breaks in exchange for vague promises and pleas that we should trust them.

In 2006, Sarah Palin defeated incumbent Gov. Frank Murkowski with a coalition of Alaskan Republicans and Democrats brought together to oppose Murkowski’s proposed oil industry giveaway. The oil industry’s effort to get unverified tax breaks, backed by the Corrupt Bastards Club, fueled the largest political corruption case in Alaska history.

To her credit, Sarah Palin worked with a bipartisan coalition of Democrats and Republicans to enact the Alaska Clear and Equitable Share, a balanced plan that optimized Alaskans’ share of benefits from oil and gas but incentivized new oil and gas development. ACES was the embodiment of Gov. Walter Hickel’s philosophy that Alaska should conduct itself as an “owner state.”

Recently, Gov. Sean Parnell has resurrected and repackaged Murkowski’s proposed oil giveaway. A bipartisan coalition, led by Sens. Stevens, R-Kodiak, and Paskvan and Thomas, both D-Fairbanks, blocked Parnell’s giveaway and demanded that the oil companies should only get tax breaks in exchange for verifiable efforts to explore and develop new oil and gas production. In response, Big Oil has targeted Fairbanks as a battleground on this issue.

Fairbanks should reject calls for partisan purity that mask a giveaway of our owner state’s wealth. The candidates standing up for Alaska in this election to support Alaska’s bipartisan approach to oil and gas development are Joe Thomas, Joe Paskvan, Click Bishop, Scott Kawasaki, Bob Miller, David Watts, David Guttenberg and Janice Golub. They deserve your support.

Michael Walleri

Fairbanks

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