Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Black Tax Gold

Gov. Frank Murkowski imposed a state hiring freeze Wednesday because of the millions of dollars in revenue Alaska is losing as a result of the Prudhoe Bay oil field shutdown, and said he would support hearings into BP's maintenance practices.

The governor also said he would direct Alaska's attorney general to investigate whether the state could hold the oil giant fully accountable for the state's losses.

The expected loss of 400,000 barrels per day at today's oil prices means the state is losing about $6.4 million a day in royalties and taxes, Revenue Commissioner Bill Corbus said.
The state receives 89 percent of its income from oil revenue; Alaska has no state sales tax and no personal income tax. The Prudhoe Bay shutdown will cut in half Alaska's total oil production and the resulting revenue.

What an interesting theory of governance – grow government to the size of tax revenue and when the people you are stealing collecting from don’t meet your estimates – they are responsible for your poor planning.

"BP must get the entire Prudhoe Bay back up and running as soon as it is safely possible," Murkowski told a joint session of the state Legislature.

Three Democratic legislators released a letter to Murkowski calling on the governor to hold hearings and have BP officials explain under oath what they did, or failed to do, to maintain Prudhoe Bay's pipelines.

Murkowski questioned why BP abruptly shut down the entire Prudhoe Bay field after finding a leak of only four to five barrels.

"What did BP learn last Sunday that it did not know previously that would cause BP to take such precipitous action?" Murkowski asked. He complained also that the state was not consulted before the decision was made.

What an arrogant prick. The operation of the oil pipelines are not a state concern – it’s a private concern. No one other than BP knows what is the best way to handle its oil pipelines. It should not have to justify its actions to any government, especially a state government.

If BP was somehow negligent and caused environmental damage its certainly plausible to fine them for that, but holding hearings because BP wasn’t responsible enough to keep the tax oil pipeline open is simply going too far.

If only BP wasn’t interested in fixing the pipelines anyway (after all they are losing billions a day in real revenue), they could sit on it and tell Gov Murkowski to go stick it.

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