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OPINION

Beware of Far-Left Energy Policies Coming For Red States

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.
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The anti-energy radical left is getting arrogant. Following its implementation of successful radical initiatives in liberal states like California, New York, and Washington, which have cost tens of thousands of jobs and driven up the costs of home heating oil and gasoline, its members are starting to turn their sites to red states. And now they are seeking to reshape the American energy landscape in all 50 states — even energy-producing ones like Alaska.

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Rather than call for an outright ban as they did in California, these anti-energy advocates are trying to convince Republican members of the state legislature in Juneau to jeopardize hundreds of thousands of blue-collar jobs and their state’s most reliable energy sources. With the state facing fiscal challenges, they are presenting this self-destructive policy as necessary to raise needed revenue. 

They neglect to mention one of the most reliable laws of basic economics: the more you tax something, the less you get of it. Oil and gas generates over $19 billion of the state’s annual GDP (and over two-thirds of its tax revenue). That’s the highest percentage of economic contributions from oil and gas in the nation. Alaska takes drilling so seriously that every year, each of its residents receives a dividend check for the state’s oil and gas profits. But if the radical left gets its way, this resounding economic success story will be put at risk.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that the Biden administration’s war on energy has helped leave Alaska with a massive fiscal crisis. So how is the radical left seeking to fix this problem? They’re of course not advocating President Biden stop his war on energy and help restore American energy independence. And they’re surely not advocating for the removal of job-killing state regulations. Instead, they’re trying to push Republican Gov. Mike Dunleavy to impose new taxes and costly fees that will only make the problem worse.

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There is no place in America more synonymous with the old refrain “drill baby drill!” than the Last Frontier State. Though that mantra has served them well in good times and bad, the left is determined to see oil and gas disappear for good. However, this time they are cleverly dressing their goals in free-market talking points. 

It’s unlikely that Dunleavy will take their bait. He’s a strong fiscal conservative who has previously pledged to protect the energy industry and not raise taxes. If he does, however, it can signal the beginning of a dangerous nationwide trend — a red wave of far-left energy policies gaining nationwide steam.

Some leftists are saying that it doesn’t matter because the Alaska energy industry is a dying industry. This is the furthest thing from the truth. As Steve Moore put it, “Some analysts say that the days of wine and roses in Alaska from the state’s oil and gas bonanza are long gone. Nonsense. Alaska has only skimmed the surface of its vast pools of energy. Oil drilling projects Willow and Pikka on the North Slope have bountiful resources and are critical for Alaska’s economy and America’s energy security. Half of the nation’s coal reserves are also way up north.”

Even President Biden administration seems to recognize the folly of the far-left’s anti-Alaska energy crusade. Earlier this year, it approved the Willow Project in northern Alaska — one of the largest U.S. oil drilling projects in decades. 

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Alaska isn’t the only red state the far left is trying to squeeze with this “free market” anti-energy playbook. Alabama, Missouri, Texas, and a consortium of other right-leaning ones have all faced similar proposals cloaked in free-market talking points. What will it mean if Alaska, one of the most energy-critical red states in the nation, bucks to pressure and moves forward with this leftist anti-energy proposal? Nothing good, that’s for sure. 

The goal of the far-left is not to be fiscally responsible but to end all oil and gas production in the entire United States. Alaska cannot be the first red domino to fall. 

Saying no to this reckless, job-destroying assault on Alaska’s energy production should be a no-brainer. For the sake of Alaska and the nation, let’s hope it is.

Ashley Herzog writes for the Heartland Institute, one of the world’s leading free-market think tanks. 

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