NEWS: Gara to Oil Companies: Pull False Radio, TV Ads

Representative Calls On Industry To Remove False Statements From Ads

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 22, 2014

Anchorage – Today, Representative Les Gara (D, Anchorage) called on four major oil companies to stop misleading Alaska voters. “When you spend over $8 million to dishonor voters by blitzing them with false information, it’s a reflection you have a weak case,” Gara said of the television and radio ads paid for by BP, ExxonMobil, Spanish company Repsol, and ConocoPhillips.  Gara wrote each company today to call for them to withdraw their misleading claims.

“When you’re pushing a flawed bill that is producing a 45% oil production decline, you get desperate,” Gara said.  “And desperate people sometimes mislead voters.  That needs to stop.”

The state forecasts long-term oil production twice a year under a methodology creating forecasts it has presented to legislators as the most accurate possible.  However, oil company ads falsely call the state’s forecast of a 45% decline in North Slope oil production under SB 21 over the next ten years “more production.”  A chart of state data clearly shows a production decline under SB 21.

In their commercials defending SB 21, the major oil companies use the “more oil” line, as in a radio ad, stating, “…more oil’s a good thing, it’s just good for businesses…  …Top contributors are BP Anchorage, Alaska, ExxonMobil, Anchorage, Alaska, and ConocoPhillips, Anchorage Alaska.”

“Corporate shareholders have an understandable interest in lowering Alaska’s share for our oil and increasing their profits, but that leaves us with deficits that jeopardize our schools and public services like road maintenance,” Gara said.  “My interest is protecting my shareholders, the Alaska public.”

The State of Alaska’s April 2014 Revenue Sources Book – Alaska’s oil and revenue forecast – predicts North Slope oil production under SB 21 will fall 40%, from 521,800 barrels in 2014 to 315,000 in 2023. The state’s Office of Management and Budget further predicts production will fall another 30,000 barrels a day to 285,000 barrels by 2024.

Using the same forecasting methodology, the state also predicted more oil under ACES, the law SB 21 replaced in 2013.  Under its last forecast under ACES in the Spring 2013 Revenue Sources Book (before SB 21 passed), more oil was expected in 2014. In that report’s furthest year ahead, 2022, more oil was forecast under ACES than under SB 21.

“I hope we can write a smarter law – one that requires companies to invest in Alaska to earn tax incentives instead of letting companies take their tax breaks and spend them Outside,” Gara said.  “We can do better than give away our future, and hand over Alaska’s sovereignty to big corporations.”