The Green New Deal’s Effects on Alaska – Part 2 – Transportation

The Green New Deal’s Effects on Alaska – Part 2 – Transportation

March 6, 2019

Much has been made of The Green New Deal (GND), House Resolution 109 introduced by first-term Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and veteran Senator Ed Markey (D-MA). Hundreds of essays have been written, thousands of letters to the editor have been penned, almost every TV and online pundit has chimed in with comments for and against the ideas expressed in the resolution itself and the (now-deleted) FAQ that Ocasio-Cortez’s office distributed prior to the GND’s release.

Taking the resolution at its face, with nothing but the words of the resolution itself to fall back on, a question can be asked:  What would the GND mean for Alaskans?

This series will take a look at the GND and how it would impact the Alaska way of life. Our first entry focused on migration from fossil fuels to renewable energy. Today, we’ll focus on transportation changes.

Starting with page nine, line four, the GND would require “overhauling transportation systems in the United States to remove pollution and greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector as much as is technologically feasible, including through investment in (i) zero-emission vehicle infrastructure and manufacturing; (ii) clean, affordable and accessible public transit; and (iii) high-speed rail.”

Let’s think about how that statement fits into Alaska’s lifestyle for a second. Alaska:

  • Has more private pilot licenses per capita than any other state, and with nearly 500 airports and airstrips of record, has one of the busiest private aircraft usage per hour for private pilots in the nation.
  • Has the #2 cargo airport in America (and #5 in the world) – the Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport – with nearly 500 wide-body cargo landings per week. The same airport also sees over 50,000 passenger landings and over 5.4 million passengers arrive at that single airport each year.
  • Is connected to the rest of the US by a 1,390-mile long road from Dawson Creek, British
    Columbia, to Delta Junction, Alaska, via Whitehorse, Yukon, known as the Alaska Highway. Unlike the continental United States, with state and federal highway systems, the Alaska Highway is the only multi-lane, drivable way in and out of Alaska.
  • Utilizes a series of eleven long-range and short-trip ferries to connect 35 coastal communities – most of which are inaccessible by road – over a span exceeding 3500 miles (approximately the length between New York City and London).
  • Has over 65,000 registered snow machines, another 64,000 registered motorized boats, and over 20,000 motorized ATVs and track vehicles that are used for recreation, subsistence, personal use and commercial hunting and fishing, and getting to and from locations across the state.

The key thing to remember about each of these points? They nearly all use fossil fuels in their operation. There isn’t a way to travel to, from or within the state reliably with renewable energy-propelled transportation.

Power The Future will continue to be a diligent voice for reasonable ways to protect the grandeur of Alaska, without jeopardizing Alaskan jobs, Alaskan opportunity, and the Alaskan way of life. The Green New Deal would be disastrous for our economy, crushing to our ability to develop our expansive resource base, and downright devastating to our ability to travel.