Consumer Interests Are Best Protected by Free Enterprises and Not Government Enterprises
Alaska’s governor has taken FULL CONTROL OVER what amounts to a ‘nationalized’ North Slope natural gas project and has attempted to make it glitter with a supportive array of “memoranda of understanding” from Asian (i.e. most recently Chinese) countries. Without political, uneconomic dealmaking, the project is infeasible at this time–even if it were more efficiently managed by the private sector. This is because, with an 800 mile pipeline to fold into the LNG project’s cost the scheme is one of the–if not THE–least economically competitive in the world.
The governor has simultaneously attempted to create a large, government-subsidized gas utility in Fairbanks (i.e. though in fairness we note that former Governor Sean Parnell planted the seed of this bad idea during his previous administration, on advice of one or more “advisors”).
Neither of these politically inspired, subsidized and controlled efforts is consumer- or taxpayer-friendly; both boondoggles are steps toward a socialized energy economy a la Venezuela, while both have used OPM (i.e. Other people’s money) to avoid the messy process of due-diligence.
And we emphasize that both are managed by temporarily elected and appointed government officials working within vast bureaucratic, political networks whose goal is not the most prudent, best and highest use of public funds.
Recently we gave our readers a thoughtful opinion piece by an anonymous Fairbanks citizen (i.e. here) criticising the logic behind Governor Bill Walker’s effort to subsidize growth of the small natural gas utility in Fairbanks.
The whole subsidy circle smells badly to ordinary citizens but benefits powerful special interests. Subsidies allowed Fairbanks Natural Gas utility owners to receive an extraordinary price for an expensive start-up utility with no real future in a low-oil price era and with no reliable, long term gas supply. (We are amazed not to see OUTRAGE reflected by both Fairbanks and Southcentral Alaska media and thought leaders — for different but compelling reasons.)
Certain Fairbanks leaders and citizens will benefit and are benefitting from this subsidized transaction. Elected leaders are looking for votes and campaign contributions. Contractors and labor unions are looking for a boom. AIDEA and IGU officials seek an outcome that doesn’t reveal their role in this risky, irrational, subsidized venture. Certain employed executives are enhancing their state government pensions. Meanwhile, who would regulate the IGU if the whole project is completed–local politicians and their appointed overseers, and not the state’s more impartial and politically insulated Regulatory Commission of Alaska?
Losers: citizens of the entire state who, at a time of fiscal crisis, see money being wasted on political projects that the private sector, after due diligence, wouldn’t touch with a 10-foot pole.
In the right column is our second anonymous opinion piece from a second Fairbanks citizen, received today. Although the writers are different the positions they present are compelling and appear to be in most if not all respects both logical and accurate. (Note: In the interest of the accuracy of our searchable archives, we urge readers who wish to provide additions or corrections to any facts presented herein, to do so.)
We urge our Alaskan readers to review these North Slope gas export and Fairbanks gas distribution issues and make their own opinions known to state leaders. We urge our Canadian and Lower 48 readers to better understand the political landscape of Alaska as it might apply now or later to their own political and economic futures.
We believe citizens will better appreciate, after reviewing the Alaska energy-socialism experiment, that Adam Smith’s invisible hand, the agile hand of free enterprise, best protects the interests of citizens–not politicians’ manipulation of economics to meet their own self-serving needs.
Interior Energy Project (IEP): We’re From The Government And We’re Here To Help
Opinion Editorial From A Citizen Of Fairbanks, Alaska