New year will be pivotal

Posted: Tuesday, January 03, 2006

2006 will be a pivotal year for Alaska. Rising oil prices have created a surplus that is igniting a feeding frenzy. ANWR will not open to drilling. Local officials and businesses are in a gold fever mode pushing the opening of the Pebble Mine prospect without researching the disaster unregulated open pit gold mining is causing in Nevada.

Gov. Frank Murkowski will have to give away the keys to the vault to get the Big 3 to agree to a gas pipeline this year to help himself get re-elected. There are growing signs of a national recession. 2006 is a year our elected officials should deal with reality rather than their campaign hoopla aimed at the next election. 2006 will be a very important year.

Every group at the state trough is whining for ever more funding. If granted, this will cause all these state entities and state-funded entities to grow and demand even more money in the future. Where will the money come from?

ANWR is dead unless the rest of the world cuts off the supply of oil to the USA.

While oil prices are high, Alaska oil production is declining. The state is giving away its rightful share of new fields in response to give the industry more of the pie. As long as Republicans control the state government and the industry lobbyists own the party, this will not change. This means state income will shortly peak than decline even if prices remain high.

We’re expanding government spending based on expected income from a gas pipeline. It is not in big oil’s financial interests to get Alaska gas to market ahead of its other lower production cost fields in the USA, Canada, Russia and elsewhere. The governor is promising to spend money from a pipeline deal he will not get unless, of course, he gives Alaska’s share away.

The USA’s trade imbalance with the rest of the world is dragging the country toward recession. Ask Alan Greenspan. And the darkest cloud on the horizon: What happens if and when the countries supplying our energy, food, clothes and hard goods realize the USA may never be able to pay the IOUs we’re giving them in return?

The bad news is I fully expect the “conservative” legislators and the governor to spend the short-term income boost to make the feeders happy. Forget the future, I need to be re-elected this year! Wishful thinking about ANWR, gas pipelines and gold mines clouds their minds. Future needs will be ignored for short-term gain. I don’t make reality. I merely accept it and comment on it.

William J. Phillips

Kenai



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