Washington (State) Takes Aim at Alaska in the Name of Climate Change

Washington (State) Takes Aim at Alaska in the Name of Climate Change

February 23, 2022

A political game of chicken has erupted between the state legislatures of Washington and Alaska.  The vehicle of choice?  Oil.

A bill to impose a six-cent-a-gallon surcharge on Alaskan oil that ultimately is refined in Washington passed the Washington State Senate and is being fast-tracked through the House by lawmakers seemingly more interested in climate than common sense.

Rep. Jake Fey (D-Tacoma) summed up their thinking this way: “This is really related to being fair with respect to climate impacts…I think it’s only appropriate since we produce the fuels for (other states’) use that they support our climate activities…”

While Oregon and Idaho political leaders are upset with Washington’s actions, they haven’t taken the steps Alaska’s Rep. Kevin McCabe (R-Big Lake) did, announcing that he was introducing legislation this week designed to play the same game as Washington is.

One measure would create a six-cents-per-pound tax on fish exports and a six-cent-per-foot fee for any vessels that anchor or moor in Alaska harbors. Alaskans could apply for a tax credit. Another measure would impose a $15-per-barrel surcharge on Alaska crude oil going to refineries in Washington.

“Frankly, I’m tired of being thought of as a Washington colony,” Rep. McCabe is reported to have said on the House floor last week. “I’m tired of them depending on us and taxing us for their needs and ignoring ours.”

Similar legislative skirmishes have taken place between the two states over the years, and usually result in little more than grandstanding.

While Power The Future generally doesn’t champion efforts that ultimately lead to increased energy costs to consumers, we feel this time, it is appropriate to speak out in support of Alaska standing up for its energy community.  With Washington using senseless legislation to grow its coffers, using “climate change” as the bogeyman to do so, Alaska not only should – but must – retaliate, as McCabe has done.