Economy

Energy projects in Alaska, such as gas, wind, and hydroelectric should be given high priority. We need to be open to the idea of gas pipelines running not just from north to south but from sources to need. I will support these projects because in the long run they will benefit Alaskans and the United States while reducing our national trade imbalance. We must change the way we think and the way we do business, starting with low cost LNG delivery to Fairbanks and beyond. We need to look for solutions for the transport of LNG to Hawaii and even Japan. The devastating tsunami in Japan three years ago created a market for Alaska's LNG. Alaska must be in a position to recognize emerging global markets if we are to prosper as a state. While we can never fully anticipate all environmental and geopolitical changes, a solid economic foundation and a proactive energy policy will allow us to maximize our economic footprint and respond quickly when new markets appear.

We must not overlook the Arctic. It offers new opportunities for trade, travel, tourism and exploration. At the same time, we must take care to protect the delicate environment of every Alaska waterway. We need to enact and enforce regulations that prohibit ships and exploration vessels from dumping untreated sewage and waste into Arctic waters. We must respect and heed the direction provided by our Native leaders. First Alaskans have a bond with the land dating back thousands of years. This unique tie with the land allows a perspective of what effects geophysical surveying, exploration and shipping have on marine mammals. Alaska Natives are truly the original conservationists and ecologists. It is reasonable that a larger portion of the federal revenues from drilling on the outer continental shelf in the Arctic go to those communities most affected by the drilling activities.

Alaska’s economy depends on our many military installations. Our geographical separation from the Lower 48 and the value of our oil fields necessitates a military presence. With our close proximity to East Asia, Alaska is a prime location for bases and troops. Besides which, these bases are an integral part of our state's economy.

We must protect and nurture our fisheries as if they were our own children. We cannot jeopardize our fisheries and should not risk them for non-renewable resource projects such as Pebble Mine. As a geologist I can tell you that a sulfide mine in an area with a high water table is an accident waiting to happen. We need to let science, not politics, and not emotions, lead our decision making. We must set our intuitions aside during these important decision making processes.

Most importantly, we must put the needs of Alaskans first and develop a proactive economic plan that will provide new sources of value-added products. China and India are two economies with great potential for growth of a middle class. Energy, materials and products will be produced by other countries as these emerging middle classes grow. Alaska has the brightest future when we find a way to transition from a resource-based state to one with a proactive economic plan that includes value-added products for these and other emerging markets.

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