Tell Alaska to Choose the Environment, Not Drilling

alaska-oil-drilling-minerals-management-service

Target: Alaska Governor Bill Walker

Goal: Opt out of damaging and disruptive Arctic drilling and find other sources of revenue.

Alaska’s governor is poised to pick up where Shell left off when they pulled out of oil drilling in the Arctic. Climate change in Alaska is happening twice as fast there compared to the rest of the country, leading to a huge loss in sea ice and permafrost and threatening many of Alaska’s native villages. When Shell ceased drilling operations in the area, climate activists breathed a collective sigh of relief–but now, Governor Bill Walker says Alaska needs the drilling.

In a recent interview, Governor Walker told the BBC that Alaska needs the funds from drilling efforts to pay for the impacts of climate change. This paradoxical viewpoint is exacerbated by Alaska’s lack of income or sales tax. Alaska receives 90 percent of its revenue from levies on the production of oil and gas.

Sadly, the damage that’s already been done to Alaska as a result of climate change and fossil fuels is threatening  many native areas. Projections indicate that at least twelve villages will need to be evacuated at an approximate cost of $100 million dollars per village. While this cost is steep, there must be other ways to raise the money. Further drilling in the Arctic will only serve to compound the climate change problem.

Alaska, and the global community of which it is a part, cannot afford to choose the short-term solution for a financial problem over solving the long-term issues of climate change. Ask Alaska to find other sources of revenue and opt out of drilling.

PETITON LETTER:

Dear Governor Walker,

In a recent interview with the BBC, you stated that it’s “an absolute urgency” for Alaska that Arctic drilling resume. It is admirable that the revenue money from drilling would be used to relocate endangered native villages, but it is also shortsighted to believe that continuing to encourage fossil fuel use will prevent such measures from being needed in the future.

Climate change is happening twice as fast in Alaska as it is in the rest of the country. The associated damage to wildlife, nature, and the overall wildness of the state means that Alaska should be at the forefront of reducing atmospheric carbon and changing to renewable energy sources. Instead of seeking revenue by adding to the damage with drilling, Alaska should be seeking ways to obtain revenue from other sources. We, the undersigned, ask that you investigate and support alternative revenue sources for Alaska and keep fossil fuels in the ground where they belong.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Minerals Management Service

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