Resource Development & Alaska’s Economy
Alaska is blessed with an abundance of natural resources, including oil and gas, fish, timber, minerals, and our Great Land’s natural beauty itself. Our economy depends heavily on natural resource development, which provides an abundance of jobs, and funds a large share of State government. To attract investment and maintain a vibrant economy, we must strive to: 1) promote resource development, 2) diversify our economy, and 3) ensure that our State presents a fair, competitive and positive business environment. As Eagle River's State House Representative, I will continue to promote pro-business and free market principles and responsible resource development.
Our fish and timber resources need to be managed to ensure sustainable harvest and balance with environmental impact, personal use, and tourism. These industries are a vital part of Alaska’s heritage and a way of life for many Alaskans, and must be managed in a fair, balanced, and responsible way.
Our mining industry and its economic impact on the State are growing. This trend is important to the diversification of our economy, and we must be vigilant to ensure that mining activity is done responsibly, productively, and with minimal environmental impact. I believe that current State and Federal laws create this balance.
Today, the oil and gas industry dominates resource development activity and drives the Alaskan economy. Quite simply, Alaska would not be what it is today without this vital industry. Since completion of Trans Alaska Pipeline System (TAPS) in 1977, Oil and Gas revenues have contributed more than 85% of the State’s unrestricted revenue, and the industry provides more than 40,000 direct and indirect jobs.
With North Slope oil production on decline, and approaching 30% of peak capacity, Alaska faces an uncertain and challenging future. The State must take positive steps to expand oil and gas development on the North Slope, reverse production decline and secure a brighter future for Alaska.
In the 28th Legislative Session, I voted in support of SB21 (More Alaska Production Act), which lowered the tax on oil and gas production in the State of Alaska to a more reasonable level. Quite simply, consultants hired by the State Legislature and the Parnell administration, showed clearly that Alaska’s tax structure was uncompetitive in the global market, and as a result was driving away business, impacting jobs, and threatening Alaska’s economic future. The modest changes made by SB21 provide the right balance, and already have begun attracting investment and new jobs to the State of Alaska. Looking towards the future, development of Alaska’s vast North Slope gas resources will become a reality, but it will require a partnership between the State and the industry. The industry will bring the technology and experience to deliver this complex and costly project, but the State must provide a competitive business climate. The markets have changed, and the experts agree that an LNG export project is the most likely scenario. During the 28th legislature I co-sponsored HB 4 that promotes construction of an in-state Alaska gas pipeline. Construction of the gas pipeline and LNG facilities will create an economic boom for Alaska, and long term jobs and revenue to fund critical State projects. The project will also provide a long term, low cost, and secure energy source to fuel Alaska’s economy for decades to come. As your legislator, I will work tirelessly to ensure development of Alaska’s gas resource becomes a reality!
Here’s the Bottom Line: A favorable business climate will bring investment, development, production, jobs and revenue to fuel the economy of the State of Alaska for decades to come. Let’s build a bright future for Alaska, and let’s do it responsibly!