Story last updated at 3/26/2014 - 1:36 pm
Editor's Note: This is the second in a series of 10 essays that will be running weekly in the Capital City Weekly. Each year for the past 10, students at Floyd Dryden Middle School compose, edit and pick editorial essays for publication in the CCW. Essays are picked by a student editorial board, and the Capital City Weekly is pleased to donate space for these young writers. The students who served on the editorial board are Andyn Mulgrew-Truitt (Editorial Board Leader), Gabrielle Scales (Editorial Board Leader), Cassie Dzinich, Matthew Edwards, Mason Fowler, Janessa Goodman, Taia Hadfield, Dang Xue Loseby, Luis Medrano, Cierra McCain, Emily Mossberg, Gray Price, Maxie Saceda-Hurt, Abby Schmidt, Anthony Simpson, Colton Tersteeg, Jillian Tracy and Kasey Watts.
In 2007, Sarah Palin left her mark on Alaska history by creating the Alaska Clear and Equitable Share (ACES). ACES has raised millions for the state of Alaska and has benefited people while controlling oil companies.
Although Palin resigned, her law continued to clearly benefit Alaska. Now, in 2014 Governor Sean Parnell has created a law to override ACES and grant oil companies considerable tax cuts.
The Alaska Clear and Equitable Share was a program that increased oil tax on each barrel and on how much companies could drill.
Although this law continued to create money for the state of Alaska, hoping to create a path for more oil companies to drill here, Parnell made a law cutting the oil companies' tax nearly in half.
This new addition to our laws not only belittles Alaska's already shrinking bank account but is already affecting the hard-working people of Alaska. This state needs to repeal the oil tax bill.
The new law will destroy Alaska's funds and future. Parnell hopes lowering taxes on oil drilling will lure more companies to Alaska's oil, creating more money in the long run. The governor's plan exploits Alaska's oil as fossil fuel that the U.S relies heavily on.
Lowering the amount of money Alaska raises through oil drilling by letting more companies drill, and hoping it will pay itself off is not worth it.
With oil being drilled at faster rates, Alaska's main resource will be used into obscurity, leaving the state with nothing but what other places can provide fuel-wise.
Furthermore, it is highly unfair that some oil companies with hundreds of millions of dollars saved are funding the campaign process to make sure the bill is not repealed.
The companies know what the end result of excess drilling will be, yet they are willing to throw it all away to have cheaper oil for only a short time.
In general, Alaska's oil production has been steadily dropping since 1988. As much as the state tries to fund schools, school activities, and sport, it can not get the funding they need.
If the state gives tax cuts to rich oil companies, the schools would be put into more debt as well as the state.
Not only will the new law impact funds, but it will also impact the lives and jobs of Alaskans. Due to the ACES policy, Alaska's treasury stabilized and begun to swell.
But this past year without ACES, teachers were refused contracts and some even lost jobs.
Coaching of athletic teams has also been jeopardised with the current changes. The newly admitted law is forcing Alaska to carve into state funds, putting off opportunities for hopeful Alaskans.
If Alaska goes through with the new law for oil taxes, in the many years to come the state might not be able to support itself.
Along with the above issues, reforming the oil tax law will have repercussions on the land.
With more drilling the chances of oil spills will be raised. Oil is a very toxic chemical and has a history of ruining surrounding landscapes and even affecting places thousands of miles away. Oceans have been especially impacted by oil spills.
Because Alaska has a world renown and rare fishing industry, an oil spill could threaten those fisheries. Not only would the fishing companies be extremely impacted, but so would the fishing.
With those issues in mind, oil companies could also buy more acres of land. Alaska's land is another one of the points it prides itself on. The beautiful forests and amazing rivers accompanied by oceans could all be put at risk of being the victims of oil production.
Parnell has great ideas to raise the standards for oil, but Alaska already needs to build up funds, and digging into them to try to increase oil production is pointless.
To add to the facts, oil producers have guaranteed continuously that there will not be a production increase in oil drilled per year. In the long run, this bill would take years to repay itself and make a profit.
One cannot deny that Parnell's goal of bringing more competition into Alaska's industry will be fulfilled with this bill, but does the state really want the oil business to be overrun with large companies?
There are multiple problems that could take place. There are solid points on both sides of this issue but all in all the oil tax bill will hinder more than help.
The people of Alaska need to repeal the oil tax bill. Repealing this bill will save the state millions of dollars, precious land, and essential jobs.
Alaska as a community has the ultimate power to stop this injustice from ruining the unique and productive place that is Alaska.
Would you put your families present and future generations at risk just to drill oil without such a high cost?
Save this beauty millions of people call home, and repeal the oil tax bill.