Letters to the Editor

Letter: Biden’s oil gaffe

The oil and gas industry and the state of Alaska have had a long, mutually-beneficial relationship. Oil exploration has provided approximately 90% of all business revenue to the state most years, and still – even after the restructuring of how Permanent Fund allocations are made to cover state costs – account for nearly 66% of all non-Fund sources. Since 2014, the industry has paid $19.1 billion in taxes and royalties to the state.

Approximately one-quarter of all private-sector employment is directly or indirectly tied to and supported by the industry. Including all direct, indirect, and induced employment and wages, oil and gas industry spending in Alaska accounted for 41,800 jobs and $3.1 billion in total wages in Alaska in 2018. This included 5,800 Alaska resident jobs in the oil and gas support services sector and 31,900 indirect and induced jobs in other private and public sectors.

So when Joe Biden was asked directly during the Oct. 22 debate if he would close down the oil industry, his answer was flabbergasting. He said, “I would transition from the oil industry, yes.” That’s a job-killing, “just-transition”-inducing, economy-threatening and higher-cost-of-energy-creating statement. That was a shot across the bow of every energy worker’s family in Alaska and elsewhere across the country. If Americans are paying attention, that statement will cost Biden hundreds of thousands of votes in swing states where jobs in oil and gas form a foundation for their states' economies.

As much as Biden is scrambling to do so in the aftermath of that statement, he can’t walk that declaration back. His words are clear. His intentions known. Joe Biden wants oil and gas jobs gone. The sooner the better. That’s not good for American energy independence. That’s not good for Alaska.

Rick Whitbeck

Alaska State Director, Power the Future

Anchorage

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