8-8-18 Will Alaskans Let A CABAL Kill Their Economy?

Killing Alaska’s Pioneering State Economy

by

Dave Harbour

Here is a grassroots program designed to kill 49th state free enterprise. 

This socialist feat is accomplished by creating an Enviro-Industrial-Governmental Cabal model with insufficient means of sustaining itself in the free market.  It reflects the same thinking that permits current Alaskan leadership to ignore prudent budgeting during a fiscal crisis while attempting to marry Alaska’s future with Chinese Communist energy and finance companies in consummating an as yet infeasible LNG project.  We don’t know whether to label such leadership “narcissistic”, “naively well intended”, “devious” or “not intelligent”.    Any way you cut it, for current Alaskans and their offspring Alaska’s current leadership policies promise nothing but poverty and failure ahead …  a-la-Venezuela.

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Governor Bill Walker. Northern Gas Pipelines photo by Dave Harbour

We have given ample evidence over the years that Alaska Governor Bill Walker’s socialist policies to punish energy companies and effectively expropriate control of natural gas transportation and distribution projects harm the economy and repel investors who seek reliable government relationships.  In a state dependent on natural resource development (i.e. oil & gas, mining, commercial fishing, tourism, etc.) attacking oil and gas adversely affects the primary natural resource wealth generator which, in turn, threatens the viability of other PRIVATE SECTOR natural resource industries that receive oil industry, tax/royalty financed services and infrastructure.

Today, we observe complementary policies that exacerbate Alaska’s economic decline.  Those policies are not unlike those leading to the horrific decline of another major socialist-controlled oil producer, Venezuela.  (Also ref. Repsol/Argentina commentary.) 

At another time we will address national and international Cabal networking support for anti-Alaskan economic activism.

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The most recent, destructive economic policies embrace 1) an anti-consumer “Alaska climate change” initiative,  2) an intellectually dishonest, preemptive initiative by the State to politically kill a mining project on State-leased land and 3) a foolish and illegal Medicaid expansion entitlement with disastrous budget deficit and long-term entitlement impacts.

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Climate Change Policy (Reference, middle column).  We do not claim scientific authority sufficient to professionally adopt a position re: the current and continuing “climate change” discussion.  We do offer opinion based on current events and, more importantly, urge readers to, “follow the money”, re: Governor Bill Walker’s “Climate Change” initiative.  Remember, we have shown that the international, climate change leadership has admitted that the purpose of that vast program is to “kill capitalism”, not improve the environment.  Furthermore, its strategy moves money from the US to the third world.  We also note that while the U.S. recently announced withdrawal from the Paris Climate Change Accord, it will not completely withdraw until 2020 even though the previous Administration entered into the “treaty” on behalf of the country without the U.S. Senate’s consent.

But Alaskan leaders (in both Administrative and Legislative branches) and some special interests embrace climate change as if they’d discovered a gold mine.  We were and are supportive of and worked for implementation of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act of 1971 (ANCSA).  We also acknowledge that the rural Alaska and environmental vote is critical to many elections.  By establishing a grass roots, Alaska climate change initiative, it is possible for “Indian Country Tribes” to work through various federal agencies — especially the Interior Department’s BIA, now led by a respected Alaska Native leader– to apply for climate-related and other support of various types, a. b. c.  d. e. f., etc.    In short, rural leaders are mostly well intended and support their constituencies.  But we urge readers to not believe that the Governor’s climate change grass roots campaign is, simply, all about the climate when there is ample evidence that it is more about votes, wealth transfer and influence — both political and economic.  We’d love to be proven wrong, and if the result of this Alaska climate initiative is to band public spirited volunteers together to solve their own problems at their own expense, we’d leave the peanut gallery and step into the applauding audience as a fan.

However, our critical reading subscribers will surely note the following free market defects within the Governor’s Climate Change Plan (CCP):

  1.  Alaska’s constitution (Article XIII) relies upon development of the state’s resources, “…by making them available for maximum use consistent with the public interest”.  Oil is one of those resources.  Oil typically pays for over 80% of the state operating budget and is responsible for growth of the Alaska Permanent Fund and its citizen dividends.  And, it supports over a third of Alaska’s economy.  Without it, there would likely be no modern education system or even matching funds for roads, bridges, ports, etc.  Without oil, commercial fishermen, tourism, mining, forestry, and other taxpayers, would pay billions to support state government, annually.  Without oil and gas, there would be little Alaskan industry and insufficient power and heat to keep most Alaskans employed, mobile and alive.  YET, THE GOVERNOR’S POLICY WANTS TO END THE STATE’S RELIANCE ON OIL AND GAS. The State’s climate change strategy promotes the social, ecological, cultural and economic well-being of our communities to achieve food security, energy security and environmental security in the face of climate change impacts. There is an economic, ecological and ethical imperative to pursue a transition away from both State and global dependence on fossil fuels.”
  2. The Governor’s CCP uses public resources to build anti-natural resource development leadership.  This approach encourages public and private sector leadership, investment and follow-through to achieve the goals, objectives and initiatives that contribute to the long-term resilience and sustainability of Alaska’s 10 communities, economies and people.”
  3. climate change must be integrated into State decisions.”  Interpret this as you wish.  To us, the specter of fewer lease sales for mining, timber and oil & gas is an obvious result, along with a tidal wave of new, restrictive regulations.  Implementing this policy would be an end of Alaska’s economy as we have known it.
  4. We hope Alaska’s more rational leaders are watching this program develop.  Just picture Alaska’s government, non-profit and tribal leaders flying around the world, “coordinating” with governments and institutions to assure a “smooth transition” from fossil fuel use in Alaska to reliance on alternative fuels and economies.  What a great job, with little accountability, that would be…perfect for a Lieutenant Governor and others to oversee!  The State will work with partners – including federal agencies, tribal and municipal governments, corporations, universities, national and global leaders – to devise needed adaptation programs, gather science, and facilitate an economic and clean energy transition.
  5. “Social Justice” is not scientific, fact based or just.  It, along with the other “values” included in the Governor’s CCP is designed to introduce much more litigation and controversy into Alaska’s economy.  It is another tactic socialists and enviro-activists  use to, “kill capitalism”.  As the State moves forward with implementing its climate change strategy, it will use values of equity, inclusion and justice, and technology, cost effectiveness, market-based solutions and public engagement.
  6. The Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act of 1971 (ANCSA) settled Alaska Native Claims in exchange for a billion dollars and 40 million acres of land distributed among Alaska Native regional and village corporations.  Since then, however, we’ve seen the rise — with very little objection — of over 200 “Indian country tribes” within Alaska, mostly seeking the benefits of sovereignty while preserving the benefits of federal/state government dependency and some dual ANCSA shareholderships.  We’ve seen representatives of some remotely located tribes show up at distant federal hearings, speaking against resource development while more responsible regional and village corporation leaders supported rational development.  We’d love to see Alaska’s commercial news media peeling back the onion layers.  We’d love to see a Pulitzer journalist discover what could be significant money flows from state and federal governments and foundations to what we hope is a minority of tribes and related individuals using that money to oppose reasonable resource development under Alaska’s already stringent federal and state regulations.  We also wonder if new tribal powers could put them at odds with profit-driven ANCSA corporations.  The Governor’s CCP affirms that its purpose is to, “Strengthen local and State governance, build State agency capacity, and “enhance collaboration and action between state agencies and with local and tribal governments.
  7. The Governor’s CCP would further complicate the costly regulatory process by, “…engag(ing) municipal and tribal governments in community risk monitoring, assessment and planning.
  8. The Governor’s CCP would add weight to arguments that taxpayers pay for movement of poorly located coastal villages (i.e. some of which have already enjoyed significant state and federal capital projects and programs), by “further implement(ing) effective, efficient systems for community adaptation and relocation.”  If such taxpayer aid is justified, it should not be used to justify the other taxpayer burdens of this CCP.
  9. The Governor’s CCP is a full employment plan for environmental activists,  “mainstreaming climate change within existing state activities, and implementation and continued evaluation of the Climate Action Plan.”
  10. The CCP offers even more new age government employment: a)Using a co-production of knowledge approach that integrates western science and Indigenous Knowledge, monitor and gather data needed to better understand the impacts of climate change on natural environment and to identify hotspots that contribute disproportionately to ecosystem resilience and health, and; b) provide other new government health and subsistence jobs by,”Adop(ting) an approach that understands ecosystem and food security health as part of human and community health,” and c) creating a fairly large number of new environmental planning, government jobs by, “Develop(ing) and implement(ing) ecosystem-scale resource management programs.
  11. The CCP would create new “entitled, enviro-companies” and convert many existing private enterprise companies into crony capitalist companies dependent on government largess.  Support and incentivize energy efficiency, renewable energy, de-carbonization and electrification across all sectors.”
  12. The CCP would force consumers to pay much higher prices for power and heat.  “Support and incentivize energy efficiency, renewable energy, de-carbonization and electrification across all sectors.”  When such policy becomes law, the Regulatory Commission of Alaska (RCA) would become much less consumer friendly.  Why?  Now, the RCA attempts to balance ratemaking by, 1) providing consumers with “just and reasonable” rates, and 2) providing utilities “the opportunity but not the guarantee to make a fair return of and on their investments”.  This policy would force the RCA to demand that utilities incorporate higher cost, less reliable energy and back-up power into their systems…at consumer expense…much as the government forced Alaska’s South Central electric utility CONSUMERS to pay for higher cost wind generation from Fire Island–on top of public subsidies to the project.  
  13. The CCP would allow the bureaucracy to appoint “winners and losers” among Alaska’s crony capitalist, subsidized companies, by “Support(ing) diversification, investment and established business expertise within the sectors addressing climate change mitigation or adaptation.
  14. The CCP would reach out to make crony capitalists of transportation and food industries as well as commercial fishing and energys sectors.  “Develop a strategic plan for growth within the ocean economy, to include transportation, commercial fisheries, energy and food, and considering incentives for value-added business development.”
  15. The CCP requires consumers to pay for, Reduc(tion of) oil, gas and mining industry greenhouse gas emissions in Alaska by 30% (over 2005 levels) by 2030.”  It goes on to require: a) an increase(ed) building efficiency in both residential and non-residential sectors by 30% (over 2010 levels) by 2030, and b) the percentage of all electricity generated from renewable resources (reduced) to 50% by 2030, and c) Increase(d) … efficiency of and reduc(tion of) carbon emissions in air, rail, road and marine operations and transportation, and promote the use of more efficient and lower-emitting fuels, and d) “Produce by 2020 a comprehensive low-carbon energy strategy and transition plan….
  16. Finally, the CCP seems to require the forced teaching of certain environmental activist themes throughout state education processes…creation of public information (propaganda?) programs for the public and for use in state training programs…low-carbon renewable energy and energy efficiency activitiesdevelopment of, pathways for carbon revenue generation and a carbon pricing mechanism, and more….

State Leases Threatened By State.  A year ago, the EPA reversed effort to PREEMPTIVELY use Section 404(c) of the Clean Water Act to block a potential gold mining activity on Alaska state land before the project had even submitted a development plan or applied for permit to develop the prospect.  The EPA’s preemptive action, in our opinion, violated due process (REF. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, etc.).   On July 2, Alaska’s Governor asked the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to suspend the Environmental Impact Statement (“EIS”) process for the mine proposed by Pebble Limited Partnership.  This action deters mining investment in the state since it puts the state in the position of an anti-mining activist rather than the constitutionally issuer of state land leases and objective arbiter of state lease and permitting due processes.

Medicaid Expansion.   Governor Walker initiated this project with an executive order after the Legislature rejected it. (i.e. remember that the executive branch can propose law but the legislative branch must actually adopt legislation before it can be signed into statute.)

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We are among those in whose hearts HOPE SPRINGS ETERNAL. 

We are hopeful that self-serving and destructive Enviro-Industrial-Governmental Cabal policies soon become forgotten nightmares of Alaska’s history.

We earnestly hope that whatever democrat or republican administration succeeds this one beginning next year, will reinvigorate free market principles in Alaska.   Those principles include the pioneering state Constitutional reliance on natural resource development…along with reasonable, prudent, sustainable government spending, tax and regulatory policies. 

Only then will Alaska’s economy and people begin to prosper again.  For Alaska will then have EARNED prosperity as the world once again begins to look upon the 49th state as a Frontier of Freedom, as an investment destination where, indeed, A DEAL IS A DEAL

 -End-

Two end notes for you:

  1.  Please note your comments below on this extremely important, pending issue!
  2.  As usual, we strive for accuracy in our extensive, searchable Archives.  If you discover a factual error, please send us an addition/correction: webmaster@northerngaspipelines.com. 

Governor Walker’s Climate Change Policy (CCP)

The Draft CCP is available at the .pdf link here

Energy In Depth: Climate activists and aligned politicians are bringing endless investigation and litigation against oil and gas companies from New York to Alaska, as we see here.


Other references:

Science Matters, Canada, Other Governors

Betting on a Catastrophically Cooling World

By Ed Hoskins 
Ice Age Now

According to ice core records, the last millennium 1000 AD – 2000 AD has been the coldest millennium of our current Holocene interglacial. This point is more fully illustrated with ice core records on a millennial basis back to the Eemian period here, on the chart:


 

More on China

(Why does this energy webpage study China issues? Because Alaska’s socialist leaning governor is desperately attempting to create a feasible LNG export project with the help of Chinese communist controlled companies.  See China reports earlier this week, here. -dh)

Today, Pete Leathard expands on his earlier comment by posting this Guardian article and the observation below:

“China has been investing America’s dollars from the trade imbalance very well, Leathard says.

“We are seeing what I would call a move to form a new empire, like the Roman, Persian, British etc. models.  We are coming full circle from Genghis Khan,” Leathard continues.
 
“The early empires were built by military aggression.  This modern one is being created by financial aggression and preying on weakness of politicians in fledgling democracies. It is also a fact of history that those enslaved initially prosper. But history also teaches us that, as the conquered finally adjust they do not find enslavement palatable and the conquer is eventually banished.
 
“This historical cycle that once lasted hundreds of years could give us insight today. But the cycle may not take as long to complete now in Pakistan.”  (Reference: Guardian article….   We would add that the cycle of conquest may be highly effective in a number of the 70 or so other countries in which China is gaining powerful, economic footholds, including our close neighbors in Latin America.  (President Carter gave America’s Panama Canal to Panamanian politicians who have now entrusted it, largely, to China.  This trend of modern Chinese aggression holds enormous implications for the “West’s free energy industries”, as the Chinese-controlled oil industry in Ecuador has demonstrated.  -dh)

One Comment

  1. John K. Norman August 9, 2018 at 9:49 pm - Reply

    Dave,

    Thanks for your insightful commentary and for sounding the alarm. Once again, you have performed a significant public service! The ill-conceived CCP you have spotlighted appears to have the potential to grow into a bureaucratic FRANKENSTEIN MONSTER. It must be killed, and the surest way to do that is at the ballot box in November.

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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, 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, the Anchorage Chamber of Commerce, the Export Council of Alaska and the Department of Commerce's District Export Council. He is a past President of the Alaska Press Club, American Bald Eagle Foundation, Consumer Energy Alliance-Alaska and Common Sense for Alaska.Harbour was instrumental in founding the American Bald Eagle Research Institute (UAS), the Alaska Support Industry Alliance, the Downtown Anchorage Business Partnership, 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.Harbour's 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.