Public Hearing Disrupted By Extremists Protesting Investment In Alaska

Public Hearing Disrupted By Extremists Protesting Investment In Alaska

February 5, 2020

Yesterday, the Regulatory Commission of Alaska (RCA) held a public hearing on the ownership of the all-important Trans-Alaska Pipeline. Before Hilcorp’s potential acquisition of BP could be discussed, the hearing was disrupted by protesters. This disruption by the eco-left only sent one message – they lack a fact-based argument and are relying on theatrics to make their case.

Power The Future’s Alaska State Director Rick Whitbeck, who testified during the hearing, warned the regulatory commissioners that there would be pressure from radical environmentalists. He implored the commissioners to stay objective and focus on their jobs, noting that the facts and real-world results are what matter when considering the best interest of Alaska.

The RCA’s five commissioners knew before the hearing that such a high-stakes acquisition – involving a $5.6 billion purchase price and an impact on 1600 employees – would draw significant interest from the public. This hearing was the first public opportunity for the “leave-it-in-the-ground” crowd to make noise, and it was an easy target for protesters to amplify their usual empty, politicized rhetoric. Two dozen protesters took advantage of the opportunity – denouncing an investment that Alaska desperately needs.

Spurred on by the Alaska Public Interest Research Group and backed by local and national eco-extremist groups, most of the protesters made comments and demands far beyond the scope the RCA can even consider. But, being reasonable and constructive is not the goal for the eco-left. Outnumbered 2:1 by rational Alaskans who urged the RCA to thoughtfully consider the many benefits of Hilcorp’s investment in Alaska, the protesters were out for blood – only hoping to create disruption in a way that would delay any decision and purchase.

Some of the protesters’ outrageous demands are worth noting:

  • Requiring Hilcorp to pay for building a light-rail system to connect locations throughout Southcentral Alaska.

Our take: When you buy a house, do you have to build garages for the entire neighborhood?

The demands continued:

  • Requiring Hilcorp to purchase carbon credits for not only its future barrels of oil that will flow through TAPS, but retroactively, covering all 17+ billions of barrels of oil that have traversed the pipeline in the past 40+ years.

Our take: When you buy a car, do you have to pay for the carbon emissions of your grandparents’ cars?

Alaska is open for business and in need of investment. Environmentalist groups like the Sierra Club are trying to make the argument that an evil, private corporation is invading Alaska. The reality of the situation couldn’t be more different – our state has been losing jobs and decreasing in population for a long time, and a business wants to invest in our future. This is the type of behavior that Alaskans need to encourage, not protest.

Power The Future recognizes the importance of this situation and the impact an acquisition could have on bringing jobs, higher wages, and more business to Alaska. We encourage the RCA to not allow ridiculous requests and protests to delay this important decision, and to allow the acquisition process to move forward – Alaska has no time to waste.