4-1-17 IT’S APRIL FOOL’S DAY! But the comment below is real.

Alaska Governor Wants Trump to Back LNG Pipeline

“Socialism is the philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy.” —Perth, Scotland, 28 May 1948, in Churchill, Europe Unite: Speeches 1947 & 1948 (London: Cassell, 1950), 347.

Our commentary:
 
As an Alaska citizen and federal taxpayer this writer resents and opposes the suggestion by Alaska’s governor that public dollars be wasted on his government-owned, socialist LNG pipedream project: in the form of grants, loans or loan guarantees.  
 
Conservatives and liberals alike should be able to agree that when you have an economically infeasible $40-60 billion energy project scheme that private industry believes is poorly timed, and for which there are no firm customers, and that attracts little to no private investment, good federal dollars should not be thrown in on top off misspent state dollars.
 
We have in these pages commented in more detail on the enormous risks of a socialized, multi-billion-dollar energy project:
  • Run by temporarily elected and appointed politicians and administrators whose job incentives are corruptible and fleeting
  • Risk of many kinds of bribery, intimidation, graft and general corruption accompanies public ownership
  • Risk of non completion falls on taxpayers
  • Risk of take-or-pay contract failure falls on taxpayers
  • Risk of force majeure falls on taxpayers
  • Risk of volatile commodity pricing on throughput falls on taxpayers
  • Risk of market volatility falls on taxpayers
  • Risk of more efficiently produced energy falls on taxpayers
  • Risk of government insolvency, since Alaska is in the midst of a fiscal crisis that is all but ignored by a governor whose main focus is attracted to an uncompetitive energy project.

Finally, would not U.S. taxpayers everywhere take issue with President Trump for providing financial support in any form to such a scheme in Alaska where the Permanent Fund pays citizens at least $1 thousand/year for being alive?

-dh

Our comment on the NYT story below:

Russia sold Alaska to the U.S. for $.02/acre in 1867 because it needed the money and feared Alaska’s annexation by another country.  Russian occupation had almost decimated otter fur and walrus tusk resources.  The earlier Napoleonic invasion followed by the Crimean war had strained Russia’s treasury.  Surrounded by enemies, Russia had a fairly pleasant relationship with the United States.  The stars aligned for the “win-win” transaction and the treaty was signed…despite movements in both countries against the sale.  

Perhaps the current generation of Russians is experiencing the real estate phenomenon known as “buyer’s remorse”.   Socialist-leaning governments are typically unfamiliar with capitalism and free trade.    But in free societies once a sale has occurred one need not waste time and resource regretting that decision.  For example, the U.S. could, but doesn’t waste time and resources, regretting its own 19th Century opportunity to annex the Galapagos Islands!

But CAUTION: Russia’s current leaders are nationalistic and imperialistic.  It would behoove the U.S. government to be placing more focus on developing Alaska’s Arctic ports, ice-breaking capabilities and military assets — in partnership with Canada/NORAD — to confront Mr. Putin’s massive military and oil-gas development on their side of the Arctic pond.  -dh

 From our friend Rich Berkowitz

150 Years After Sale of Alaska, Some Russians Have Second Thoughts

NEW YORK TIMES, BY EVAN GERSHKOVICH

Some hard-line nationalists regret the 1867 deal. For Alaskans, the anniversary is a time for reflection.

Leave A Comment

About the Author:

Dave Harbour, publisher of Northern Gas Pipelines, is a former Chairman of the Regulatory Commission of Alaska, a Commissioner Emeritus of NARUC, NARUC's Official Representative to IOGCC and Vice Chairman of NARUC's Gas Committee. He served as Gas Committee Chairman of the Western Conference of Public Service Commissioners. He also served as commissioner of the Anchorage Bicentennial Commission and the Anchorage Heritage Land Bank Commission. He earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree: English, at Colorado State University,p a Master of Science Degree: Communications-Journalism at Murray State University and graduated from Utility Regulatory School for Commissioners at Michigan State University. He served as a Vice President for Communications and Public Affairs at Alaska Pacific University, taught bank marketing classes at the University of Alaska and was an English teacher at Los Alamos High School. Harbour served in ranks of Private - Captain during a 4-year assignment with the Army in Korea, Idaho, Georgia and Fort Meade and received the Meritorious Service Medal among other commendations. Harbour is also a past Chairman of the Alaska Council on Economic Education, the Alaska Oil & Gas Association Government Affairs Committee and the Anchorage Chamber of Commerce. He is a past President of the American Bald Eagle Foundation, Consumer Energy Alliance-Alaska and Common Sense for Alaska. He was instrumental in founding the American Bald Eagle Research Foundation, the Alaska Support Industry Alliance, the Downtown Anchorage Association, and Arctic Power. He also served as CEO of several small Alaska organizations, including the Anchorage Parking Authority and Action Security, Inc. Harbour is also Chairman Emeritus of the Alaska Oil & Gas Congress and past President of the Alaska Press Club. His wife, Nancy, is a professional, performing arts administrator and his three boys, Todd, Benjamin and William work in the fields of environmental management, energy marketing and medicine.