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Murkowski talks oil, environmental lobby and federal overreach

Posted: May 15, 2013 - 8:52pm  |  Updated: May 16, 2013 - 7:20am
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Photo by Brian Smith/Peninsula Clarion Former Gov. Frank Murkowski speaks at a joint Kenai and Soldotna chamber of commerce luncheon Wednesday. Murkowski, who also represented Alaska in the U.S. Senate from 1981 to 2002, spoke about a variety of topics, including the federal government, oil development and environmental lobbying.
Photo by Brian Smith/Peninsula Clarion Former Gov. Frank Murkowski speaks at a joint Kenai and Soldotna chamber of commerce luncheon Wednesday. Murkowski, who also represented Alaska in the U.S. Senate from 1981 to 2002, spoke about a variety of topics, including the federal government, oil development and environmental lobbying.

A movement of “wealthy, liberal environmentalists” are ignoring reality in favor of an extreme view distant from the common American’s desire to aspire to a better quality of life, said Frank Murkowski, a former Alaska governor.

In a speech titled “Who Owns Alaska,” Murkowski, a Republican who also served as a U.S. Senator for the state from 1981 to 2002, said that quality of life can’t come from the government, which environmentalists view as a charity. It can only come from the natural resources of the state and nation, he said.

In Alaska that means oil, and Murkowski contends that same group of environmentalists is shaping national policy that prohibits the state from developing untapped oil potential and providing a better quality of life for all.

“If you ask who owns Alaska, the influence is not corporations, it is not independent wealthy business people,” he said. “Who controls Alaska? These policies are set by and an elitist, environmental, powerful lobby. Make no mistake about it.”

Before touching on the bulk of his presentation, Murkowski talked about the loss of the timber industry in Southeast and the benefit of the oil and gas industry in Cook Inlet.

“How fortunate you are to be able to maintain that and to rejuvenate that compared to another part of the state where they basically lost their industry and their livelihood,” he said.

Murkowski said it is important to understand that the state is 90 percent dependant on revenues derived from the oil industry and while production decreases from aging North Slope oil fields, the federal government continues to protect a trove of untapped oil.

He said multiple attempts over decades to open those areas, such as NPR-A, the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and the Arctic’s Outer Continental Shelf were foiled by the environmental lobby.

And, those views are still prevalent as exploration in Arctic waters progresses, he said while referencing Shell’s multi-billion dollar OCS campaign and the recent grounding of the Kulluk drilling rig off of Kodiak.

“There was no damage to the environment, but it colored, if you will, the water in the minds of those who don’t want to see any development in the OCS area,” he said.

If those three undeveloped areas were tapped, it would fill the trans-Alaska oil pipeline, he said.

“We could do more than fill the pipeline over a period estimated to be about 10 to 12 years,” he said. “The significance of that speaks for itself — we’d have a pipeline full of oil.”

Murkowski asked then why the federal government is so reluctant to explore and develop on land it owns for the benefit of the nation.

“That’s where you have to question, ‘Where in the hell is the logic?’” he said. “We’ve got better technology. We do it more correctly than any place else in the world. We’ve got the market for it. Why isn’t it happening?”

After his presentation, Murkowski was asked what ordinary citizens can do to help. He said the only way to fight environmental groups was to launch a massive public relations campaign to get people to understand Alaska’s potential and possible contribution to the betterment of the nation.

He said that is a worthy investment because the state would be “investing in the truth.”

“Alaskans understand that we can do things right up here,” he said. “We have the best technology anywhere, we have the most productive labor force and why can’t we prevail in communicating the contribution that we can make positively to the economy, nation and the state? That’s a big order, but that’s the work that’s cut out for us.”

 

Brian Smith can be reached at brian.smith@peninsulaclarion.com.

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drjofak
38
Points
drjofak 05/16/13 - 08:09 am
7
0
Still a Shill

"Environmentalists control Alaska." Frank you need to take advantage of your free government health care and get an MRI of your coconut before it's too late, many tumors are treatable. The blind can see that the oil industry controls every aspect of life in Alaska. When it wants something it replaces members of the legislaure until it has the required number of votes. As one of the industry's favorite lap poodles for the last 25 years, you know this fact better than most. You helped create the "Texas oil field industry dream Alaska" of today. Please Frank, we have enough problems without having to listen you your factually crazy talking points. Who's paying you for this "all our problems are someone else's fault" speaking tour? Old sponsors like big oil, pipeline companies, Seattle fishing interests, coal exporters, Pebble Mine or the financial services companies? I don't think Bob Penny would even back you on this one.

AKNATUREGUY
295
Points
AKNATUREGUY 05/16/13 - 08:46 am
6
0
Thank You Environmentalists

Frank, please go back to your assisted living center. You have lost touch with reality.

If it were not for the "environmentalist", our natural resources in Alaska would be decimated by folks like the Parnell administration.

Thanks for the federal government and the EPA. We appreciate your help in stopping such resource destructive projects as the PEBBLE MINE and Chuitna PAC RIM coal strip mine project through a salmon stream.

Many of us live in Alaska to enjoy and protect our natural resources, not to exploit them.

I am surprised Frank didn't address the 50 foot salmon stream habitat ordinance.

Redbrdee
401
Points
Redbrdee 05/16/13 - 10:56 am
5
0
Ever heard of climate change Murkowski?

The top headline at The Guardian newspaper today is for a story detailing how 97% of science in the last 20 years has confirmed that climate change is caused by human activity. Also, there are reports that events we are seeing are ahead of the computer models so far created. In other words, it is happening much faster than predicted. How did Alaska become cursed with such ignorant and moral-less leaders? He does not know to consider how evil a future he is causing our descendants or at this rate, ourselves. As climate change worsens, we need to work to slow it down, design a new and more widely equitable economy, and make sure that democracy and education are safeguarded. Consider what will happen if people panic in the face of long-term food shortages. What will life be like for Alaska if there is no snow in winter (possibly by 2050 or earlier)? Start thinking....

Inletkeeper
15
Points
Inletkeeper 05/16/13 - 11:32 am
6
0
Repeating mistakes....

It's too bad Frank Murkowski remains so partisan and misinformed. If the grounding of the Shell drill ship doesn't raise eyebrows, something's wrong. Wonder why he didn't mention fact Cook Inlet is the ONLY coastal waterbody in the nation where the oil and gas industry can dump billions of gallons of toxic waste into our rich fisheries annually?

AK1950
36
Points
AK1950 05/16/13 - 11:51 am
5
0
Bull. Dozer

Mr. Murkowski should have been a bulldozer driver. His intellect is much more suited to dropping the blade and stripping Alaska bare than for trying to interact with the sensitive northern environment in a reasonable fashion that will allow future generations to have something recognizeable and moderately healthy.

Mariner
148
Points
Mariner 05/16/13 - 05:00 pm
5
0
Frank the bank......

I commend the previous 5 contributors who have done a very good job summarizing Alaska's current "state of affairs".

KMarx
181
Points
KMarx 05/16/13 - 06:58 pm
2
4
Governor Murkowski is Spot-On

The Governor's perspective is absolutely correct. Just four short decades ago Alaska was a place of unlimited opportunity, bounded only by the drive and dermination of its citizens. Today, we are a State under seige by a socialist federal government driven by environmental zealots.

Governor, thank you for your dedication and service to Alaska!

Redbrdee
401
Points
Redbrdee 05/17/13 - 11:00 am
4
0
KMarx

The issue is not socialism...it is the effects of climate change which will bring our survival into question. Use science to check the facts on this. Climate change is neither Republican nor Democrat or for that matter, socialist. We need to take care of the things causing climate change if we want to be around to create and maintain economies...Mr Murkowski is terrifyingly under-informed about this. It is frightening that he was ever in government because he is so uninformed. Apparently he always was...

laurasievert
60
Points
laurasievert 05/17/13 - 01:45 pm
5
0
It’s pretty funny that a

It’s pretty funny that a corrupt millionaire is lecturing us common folk about how to aspire to a better quality of life. For whom? I doubt there is anyone in their right mind who believes that the oil and other mining companies represent the interests of anyone other than their share-holders. Witness the destruction they’ve left all over the world in the name of maximum profits, their plans for Cook Inlet dumping, etc.

Frank and his cronies who still believe that the planet is there for the taking either have their heads in the sand or are just plain greedy. As for me, a ‘“wealthy, liberal environmentalist who ignores reality in favor of an extreme view distant from the common American” school teacher and mother, I think it’s time for Alaskans to quit being programmed to do whatever Big Oil tells us, and to start really thinking about what we want Alaska to be like, now and a hundred years from now.

robert white
378
Points
robert white 05/17/13 - 02:01 pm
1
5
frank m

Here'a a man who's has been in washington for a lots of years and when he offers an opinion you have every idoit who knows nothing feels obligated to give his or her assesment, based on what they smoked the night before. go figure. I'm not a FM fan but the man is not stupid!!

AKNATUREGUY
295
Points
AKNATUREGUY 05/17/13 - 02:38 pm
5
0
laurasievert

laurasievert could not have said it any better!!

Seafarer
1147
Points
Seafarer 05/17/13 - 05:38 pm
5
0
Thumbs Up for Comments

I almost can't believe what I'm reading! People who don't think oil is king on the Peninsula surprises me. And delights me. Thanks folks for standing up and out.

Frank and his ilk are sooo yesterday. Today we are trying to be good stewards of our swiftly changing planet. Those old oilies can't figure this out. Their blood is augmented with oil and their eyes only see greenbacks.

Frank and Sean in the same room? The vision that conjures is beyond my ken! Ackkk! The worst two governors in Alaska's history. And I think they're proud of it...

ak1979
112
Points
ak1979 05/18/13 - 08:01 am
0
5
To Inletkeeper

"Wonder why he didn't mention fact Cook Inlet is the ONLY coastal waterbody in the nation where the oil and gas industry can dump billions of gallons of toxic waste into our rich fisheries annually?"

Billions? Really? Sounds like Frank isn't the only one missinformed.

So, When was the last time you or someone you know refused or just didn't apply for their Dividend? Bet that is a short list, if there is a list.

If you are going to be for real, great, my hat is off to you. Park you car, your bike, your computer, smart phone, and everything that is a petroleum product. The list is too long, as I am sure you are aware. I see you Cook Inlet Keepers driving around is your vehicles, while spewing your rhetoric.

So, take the challenge and put your so called ideas and fundamentals to the ultamate test. Give up the conforts you so enjoy, and get real with your views.

AKNATUREGUY
295
Points
AKNATUREGUY 05/18/13 - 08:06 am
5
0
ak1979 Your Post is so ridiculous.............

ak1979..........Your post is so ridiculous, it is not even worth addressing. Typical conservative Alaskan post.

Mariner
148
Points
Mariner 05/19/13 - 10:08 am
4
0
Ak1979....it doesn't need to be an all or nothing issue....

This isn't an all or nothing issue. It's the responsible use of our resource.

Some of the platforms were assessed for corrosion a year or so ago in their piping to shore. Due to age, corrosion was expected. What was NOT expected was the abrasion of the exterior of the casing caused by the regular, frequent abrasion of the tidal flows across the pipelines.
They've requested waiting until a leak occurs as detected at the surface before repairing it which will be along time due to the rate of tidal flow. I believe the solution employed was to sell the infrastructure to another oil service company that may have less financial backing to cover leaks that WILL occur.
Why can we always afford to clean something up but can't afford to do it right from the beginning at a much reduced cost?

joeray
13
Points
joeray 05/20/13 - 06:53 pm
3
0
Frank and KMarks are off the wall

KMarks claims 40 years ago the land of Alaska was free for development...

40 years ago corporations were not permitted to dump waste in our oceans and rivers like they are now...
40 years ago we would never dream of destroying rivers, lakes and spawning grounds like Frank and his idiots who were in power for the last 30 years have caused to happen in Bristol Bay and Chulitna River.

Frank, I liked your idea of connecting the Canadian RR with the Alaskan RR but unfortunately, you failed to work out a deal that would have made a Railroad from Alaska to the Lower 48, a reality.

In conclusion Frank, it looks like the "right wing nut jobs" have been in power in Alaska for the last 40 years and NOT the environmental lobby as you wrongfully claim.

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