For those of you who don't know I live in Alaska. (I know that most of you live here as well, but it needs to be said from time to time) It is the largest state in the union and almost without contest the most dicked over state in the union. The only other state that could give us a run for our money on "F-U factor" from the other 49 would be Hawaii.
In the news right now is a controversial issue called ANWR. Well, ok, ANWR isn't controversial, well, yes it is, but what I am speaking about is drilling for oil in ANWR. That is the controversy of which I am speaking, not the controversy of how ANWR came to be. Well, that is not entirely true either. Let me start with some simple facts for you. I like pictures.
As you can see, Alaska is big. Gee whiz, what do we do with all that land you ask? What a mighty good question. Let's start by seeing who owns Alaska.
In all of Alaska there is 375,000,000 acres. Of that:
State owned 106,000,000 28%
Privately owned 1,000,000 0.
Owned by the Native Corporation 46,000,000 12%
Owned by the Federal Government 215,000,000 60%
As you can see, the lions share of Alaska is owned by Uncle Sam. The tiny-weeney 0.3% is all there is of Alaska for us Alaskan's to develop. But wait, it gets better. Let's compare this land to some well known land in the lower 48:
Total of all land in California 100,000,000
Total of all land in Texas 176,000,000
King Ranch in Texas is over 1,000,000
State Parks in Alaska 3,500,000
Federal Parks in Alaska 105,000,000
King Ranch in Texas is larger than all of the privately owned land in the entire state of Alaska. Do you think this might hamper our economy a little bit? You can bet your sweet hiney it does.
But here comes the kickerS:
Alaska cannot refine its own crude oil. It must be sent to the lower 48 on a US FLAG SHIP to either be refined. Alaska only recently won the right to ship its own to foreign states. Prior to this, ALL Alaskan oil had to go to the lower 48 on a US FLAG SHIP before it could be refined or sold to a foreign state.
Much of Alaska is considered by Federal Law to be under the designation of wetlands. Never mind the fact that this wet land is frozen. In order for Alaska to utilize any of this land, it must, under the zero net loss law, recover an equal number of acres it uses. The only way this is possible is to convince a state in the lower 48 to recover some of their wetlands so we can use some of our frozen wetlands. BOHICA.
Alaska cannot import commodities on a NON-US FLAG SHIP. Yeppers, all commodities from foreign countries must sail past Alaska, dock in the lower 48, be transferred to a US FLAG SHIP, and then shipped back up to Alaska. You think this little kicker doesn't hurt our economy?
This is just a primer of how the lower 48 for decades has been kicking Alaska in the teeth, stealing our resources, and depriving Alaskans of the full status as an equal state in the United States of America.
For those of you who think that the lower 48 has the right to tell Alaska not to drill for oil in ANWR, you are technically right...for the moment. But as you can see, we are not particularly keen on being told what we can and cannot do in our own state. If you do not live here, then go look at the environmental cesspool that is your own neck of the woods and leave us alone. Quit stealing our resources for your state's benefit. Our oil, coal, copper, and lumber have given the lower 48 untold wealth and jobs over the years. All we ask is that we be able to keep some of that wealth here where it belongs.