GUEST COMMENTARY: Ballot Measure 1 is not a family affair: Vote no
Charlie Paskvan, Alaska Journal of Commerce, September 2nd, 2020
I respect my brother Joe. Please don’t listen to him.
My family has deep roots in Fairbanks, going to back to the mining days of the early 1900s. I worked on the pipeline starting in 1975, and know what boom and bust looks like. Trust me, we Alaskans should aim for boom. My brother Joe is going for bust.
Like any family, we disagree on what is the best path forward for our state. My brother Joe is a retired legislator and attorney. He often appears in news articles talking about the need for Alaska to get more money for its oil. What he neglects to say is that he is really a “keep it in the ground” environmentalist who would like to see oil’s days in Alaska end sooner rather than later.
When that viewpoint is understood, his support of Ballot Measure 1 makes more sense, because its passage would speed up that process. It won’t be pretty, folks.
I stand with the majority of Alaskans who support our oil and gas industry and want to see it prosper and grow. And with all due respect to the oil companies and their CEOs, that support is not rooted in fondness for them, but rather their impact on us.
Alaska would not be Alaska without decades of oil industry investment and economic activity they brought to the state, and continue to bring. As a safety specialist and laborer, I have had a front row seat in seeing how Alaska changes for the better when oil is discovered and produced. While the initial pipeline boom may be history, we have more bright days ahead if we get our act together and vote no on Ballot Measure 1.
Our state is still in the grips of an economic crisis made worse by COVID-19. How anyone can think this is an ideal time to raise any industry’s taxes by 150 percent to 300 percent is crazy to me.
Oil prices are still low, and there are fewer rigs working on the North Slope that at any time in our state’s history. This is a bad place to be, because we need those jobs and investment to boost Alaskans’ employment and opportunity. Chasing away our best chance for economic recovery with a punitive new tax is quite possibly the worst thing Alaska could do at this critical moment.
The next time you see an editorial written by my brother Joe, please take it with a giant grain of salt. He committed his career to waging a strange, misguided war against the oil and gas industry, both as an attorney and legislator.
He lost his seat because if it, thankfully. Don’t let his Green New Deal, anti-ANWR view of the world make Alaska’s economic situation even worse. If you want to see Alaska pull itself out of the economic ditch, and think more oil flowing through that beautiful pipeline of ours is a good thing, join me and vote no on Ballot Measure 1.
Charlie Paskvan worked in Alaska’s oil industry for decades, including work on the Trans Alaska Pipeline and in Prudhoe Bay. He lives in Fairbanks. Family dinner conversations about oil and gas policy are part of the Paskvan tradition.
Enjoy your Labor Day weekend. Headlamp will be back on Tuesday, September 8th.