Thankful in Alaska

Thankful in Alaska

November 27, 2019

I’ve been lucky enough to spend the majority of my life in Alaska, and every Thanksgiving I’m sure to appreciate the kind of home it has always been to me. But, as I reflect on the past year, I find myself feeling particularly thankful.

It’s been nearly a year since Power The Future launched its Alaska efforts, and this is the first Thanksgiving since we began our mission of fighting for energy workers and their industry. As we have made progress in that mission, I’ve come to find a deeper appreciation for the kind of life that Alaska’s land allows us to live.

I’m thankful that Alaska is where God chose to place such immense natural beauty.  From Denali and our many majestic mountains, to the Yukon and all of our mighty rivers, to the thousands of lakes and ponds that dot our landscape, to the meadows and forests teeming with flora and fauna, to the abundant wildlife that can be seen both in cities and in the vast wilderness, and to the open skies that radiate the sun’s warmth in the summer and show off the brilliance of the Aurora Borealis in the winter, our state has incredible splendor like no other.

And in the past year, I’ve come to appreciate so much more than just the beauty of these lands. I’m thankful that underneath all of this beauty, vast reservoirs of oil and gas exist, as do coal, gold, copper and numerous other minerals and rare earth materials.

I’m thankful that these lands led to an industry that accounts for one-third of Alaska jobs and about half of our overall economy. Last year alone, this industry generated $2.4 billion, which was about 80% of the state’s revenue. This year, it’s projected to be even more.

I’m thankful for Alaska’s energy workers, who are the engine of our economic growth. They toil across this state to bring Alaska’s natural bounties to market through responsible, safe and scientifically sustainable efforts.  Their efforts, often carried out in harsh conditions, largely go unnoticed by the general population for much of the time.

On behalf of those Alaskans who don’t recognize the work that you do: thank you for allowing us to heat our homes in the chill of winter, to cool our homes in the short bursts of summer heat, to power our cars, our cabins, our RVs and our planes, boats and other “toys”.  You allow us to flip a switch and enjoy light any time of the day or night.

I’m thankful for the thousands of Alaskans I’ve met this year who believe, as I do, that Alaska’s best days are ahead of us. These are those Alaskans who understand our state’s history of balancing environmental stewardship with responsible development and join us in the fight against those outside organizations and voices who believe they know what’s best for Alaska and its people.  I’m grateful that these eco-extremists give our state reasons to stand and fight together to preserve our resource-driven economy, and the jobs and livelihoods of the tens of thousands of men and women who work in the energy industry and deserve to be celebrated, appreciated and advocated for.

Lastly, I’m thankful for Power The Future, and our mission to be the voice of energy workers across America. We are proud to push back against the ideologues who promote those anti-job, anti-development, anti-American efforts. 

Here’s to a blessed holiday season and an incredible end to 2019.  Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

Rick Whitbeck

Alaska State Director