With Ballot Measure 1 defeated, drilling begins again on North Slope - Must Read Alaska
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Sunday, December 6, 2020
HomePoliticsWith Ballot Measure 1 defeated, drilling begins again on North Slope

With Ballot Measure 1 defeated, drilling begins again on North Slope


ConocoPhillips has, for the most part, shut down much of its drilling this year knowing the potential passing of Ballot Measure One would price the company out of several projects in Alaska.

On Wednesday, ConocoPhillips announced plans to restart drilling on several projects beginning in December. That’s in just a few weeks.

Since April, when COVID-19 caused oil prices to drop and we were facing a potentially large increase in oil taxes, we’ve had no rigs running in the Prudhoe Bay, Kuparuk River and Colville River Units,” said Joe Marushack, president of ConocoPhillips Alaska.

“But it’s now our plan, pending corporate budget approvals, to have three rigs total working in Kuparuk and Colville in the second half of 2021,” Marushack said.

Now that Ballot Measure One is no longer a threat, ConocoPhillips plans to commission and startup the Doyon 26 project, a new drilling rig that will go to work in the Colville River unit. Doyon 26 will begin drilling the Fiord West field from the Alpine CD2 site. Doyon 25 will drill several wells at the Alpine CD5 site. 

Each rig employs at least 100 workers and supports multiple other jobs throughout the economy. 

It’s tragic that so much of this activity has laid dormant most of this year under the threat of Ballot Measure One’s potential passing.  

The Anchorage Daily News, funded in part by outside left-wing donors, described on Wednesday Ballot Measure One as a “citizen-led effort to boost oil taxes.”

It was anything but citizen-led. Attorney Robin Brena was its main contributor funneling more than $1 million of his own cash into passage of the measure. Why would one man donate so much of his own money to promote a ballot measure?

Brena, who made millions suing oil companies, would have scored big if Ballot Measure One had passed. The measure would have opened the oil company’s books in an unprecedented way. The measure would give Brena and his former law partner and ex-governor Bill Walker a major advantage when they go to court to squeeze money from oil companies.  

Voters wisely didn’t fall for Brena’s scheme to stir up greed and envy among Alaskans, motivating them to cripple the state’s largest taxpayer with an explosion of higher taxes. Close to 200,000 Alaskans voted against Ballot Measure One.   

It’s disturbing, however, that more than 144,000 Alaskans fell for Brena’s self-enrichment scheme.

Thankfully, all those employees out of work with the pending threat of Ballot Measure One passing can now go back to earning a living. And even more jobs are now available since Ballot Measure One failed.

The anti-oil populists won’t rest with the failure of Ballot Measure One. You can expect anti-oil industry zealots like State Sen. Bill Wielechowski and others to push once again for job-killing high taxes on the oil industry to solve the state’s financial woes.

Expect to hear the promise of a full Permanent Fund dividend check as an incentive to raise taxes. What you won’t hear from many is the idea of right-sizing our bloated oversized state government. 

If Gov. Mike Dunleavy continues to lead from behind refusing to use his powerful line-item veto pen to right-size government, it will increase the possibility we’ll see new taxes on the private sector. Whether it be on the oil industry, a state sales tax, or a personal income tax on Alaskans. 

The best antidote against job-killing higher taxes is cutting the state’s bloated budget. Don’t expect the Legislature to lead the way. It all comes down to Dunleavy and his ability to go back to being the man he told us he was when he first ran. 

The bigger the government, the smaller the individual and the weaker the private sector. Alaska must reduce the size of state government.

Dan Fagan hosts the number one rated morning drive radio show in Alaska on Newsradio 650 KENI. Dan splits his time between Anchorage and New Orleans. 

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Latest comments

  • Why does the title of the article say ballot measure 2?

  • The problem we have is those undereducated Voters who voted No on 1 and Yes on 2. They only paved the way for some low IQ politician to get into the Legislature or Governor’s Office and move to tax the oil companies and spend this state into bankruptcy. Ballot Measure 1 only slows down the eventual reduction of the Oil Revenue when these Companies leave Alaska for better areas in which to invest.

  • My comments tend to disappear for some reason, but….

    ….Alaska is going down the league table with regards to whether it is a stable environment in which to invest. Great that Ballot Measure 1 was rejected but if Ballot Measure 2 is implemented, the anti-oil contingent is sure to prevail (rightly or wrongly) at the next election. The burdens on the oil industry in Alaska will only increase. For those who remember Alaska’s regular and routine flirtations with running out of money before oil, it’s pretty sad to see this come to pass.

    • You are accurate in your assessment of the problem. Ballot measure 2 is a pox on our state and will lead to an exodus from Alaska of epic proportions.

  • This governor will not allow a personal income tax! The way I see this the fact that the operating budget has not been reduced means that it should be all the easier to now -finally- cut spending. Yes, every dollar of spending has one or more lobbyists while bringing the cost of government down to what the Alaska economy can afford has no lobbyist but now it’s time has come. No question, state government is so bloated that any meaningful reduction has to include the BSA and Medicaid. However, this pandemic has shown that tele-education works, and that is one painless way to cut the BSA. Teachers tell me that tele-education is helping many students who need to get up and move around every ten minutes; students can do that at home without disrupting a class. Medicaid has to be walked back to pre-Obama levels. A personal income tax would be far worse for the economy than increasing oil taxes would have been. I’ve worked twice, 2014 and 2020 against increasing oil taxes, but if a personal income tax was enacted I would work hard to INCREASE oil taxes, and once that was accomplished I would be leaving Alaska. I paid a state income tax in Alaska, but that was when Alaska wages were far higher than wages in the Lower 48; now only state and municipal government pays wages competitive with the cost of living here and Lower 48 wages, so we do not want and cannot abide an income tax!

    • Very well stated.

  • Mike Dunleavy is a pathetic excuse for a leader. He’s not even a good RINO

  • Biden was elected and Conoco started drilling again

    silly I know

    • Silly? Nonsensical. Biden is the antithesis of Conoco or any other oil company working the slope. BTW, he hasn’t been elected yet, Jeffie.

  • There was no budget deficit with ACES. Bring it back.

  • My coffee can is empty and conoco
    started drilling again. just as logical

  • There is scant media coverage on the documented voter fraud the Trump team is putting together as well as Sidney Powell regarding the Dominion voting tabulation machines that are now verified to be designed to commit voter fraud. The name of these computers is DOMINION. Powell suggests all these devices utilize the same algorithms… Alaska is using Dominion devises per its photos on instruction to Vote Official, the photo instruction can be found in the SOA Dept of Elections.

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