The Regulatory Commission of Alaska and the governor have failed the people in the matter of financial disclosure by Hilcorp, the private company acquiring BP’s assets in Alaska.
Unlike BP, Hilcorp is not required to disclose financial matters in public filings. In Alaska, however, the public interest demands disclosure, because our unique “owner state” relationship to our resources requires it. Unlike Texas, where Hilcorp is headquartered, in Alaska, all the people own our oil and gas, not just a lucky few.
The Alaska Constitution requires, at Article VIII Sections 1 and 2, that resource policy must “meet the public interest” and “maximize the benefit” to the people.
The public’s interest and benefit cannot be determined without financial disclosures regarding the return to the public from the activities by Hilcorp on our lands and with our resources.
The RCA and the Dunleavy administration have a history of regulatory favoritism toward Hilcorp and are therefore untrustworthy guardians of the public’s interest.
The governor received a $25,000 donation from Hilcorp after he terminated Commissioner Hollis French. Two Hilcorp-friendly commissioners led the attack on French after he questioned the RCA’s permissive findings in connection to a spill by the company due to negligence. It is imperative that the RCA become the stewards of the public interest before they advance the interests of the corporations they are required to regulate.
Ideally, there will be a convergence of those two interests, but the burden of proof of that nexus lies with the industry, and financial disclosure is a key part of that proof.
— Elstun W. Lauesen
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