Saturday, July 01, 2006

Murky's smiling face

Well, yesterday in the mail Hans and I received a lovely little glossy green brochure addressed to "ALASKAN HOUSEHOLD" and labeled "The ALASKA Gas Pipeline", featuring the governor's cheerful face (from about 20-30 years ago) and lots of little factoids about how great his neato-keeno gas contract is. Plus, there was a note about how the brochure only cost 17 cents each (paid for by the Department of Revenue for public outreach). Not including postage, and time and benefits for the people who designed it. Being in the publishing biz, I know that in order to get the print cost down to 17 cents each, they had to order a LOT of these things, which adds up to quite a bit. Too bad it didn't include a rundown of the other proposals out there, like the Alaska Gasline Port Authority, so we could actually make an informed choice. No, this is just a little piece of pretty gubenatorial propaganda, full of very suspicious statements and missing a heck of a lot of important information:

"National leaders, including President George W. Bush and House Speaker Dennis Hastert, have made clear their support for this project"

Now, this wouldn't be the same George W. who has unstintingly and consistently supported large corporations' profits and welfare over that of the public, would it? And it wouldn't be the same Dennis Hastert who's been implicated in the Abramof scandal and hastily dumped $70,000 to charity to get rid of certain possibly tainted campaign contributions, would it? The same Hastert whose #4 campaign donations come from the oil & gas industry?

The flyer does mention oil:
New money to the state doesn't just start with the gas pipeline, it starts with oil tax reforms that will kick in now, giving Alaska its fair share of oil revenue.
But of course, it doesn't mention that oil is a separate issue from gas, and that there is no reason whatsoever to connect the two in a gas contract, and that right now the contract is illegally attempting to change taxes contrary to the Stranded Gas Act, and to backdate a change to justify this atrocious contract.

Here's what Dermot Cole had to say about this:
Under the Stranded Gas Development Act, the Murkowski administration does not have the legal authority to negotiate a gas line contract that would significantly alter tax rates on existing oil and gas production.

In fact, the law specifically prohibits negotiations that would change taxes on existing oil production.

The governor has proposed to solve this problem by amending the law to allow the inclusion of oil negotiations, making it retroactive to Jan. 1, 2004.

This brochure also doesn't happen to mention that we would be locked in to this decision for decades, with no possibility of changing it if we find out we get a raw deal...

But never fear, legislators like Ben Stevens say we don't have an option but to pass it now, because of the upcoming elections. Nice to know that these bozos are thinking of our welfare, rather than whether they'll get their job in Juneau, huh?

Richard Fineberg has some useful things to say about oil and gas and this particular contract.

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