Opinion: Permanent Fund Board shouldn’t divest from fossil fuels

Opinion: Permanent Fund Board shouldn’t divest from fossil fuels

It would hurt Alaska’s still-struggling economy.

Kate Troll’s Sept. 2 opinion piece, which called for the Alaska Permanent Fund to divest from fossil fuels, misses the mark.

In suggesting this, she infers that the fund’s continued investment is harming salmon. She cites the fishing industry’s $1.7 billion in wages as an indicator of its importance to Alaska.

Troll overlooks the fact that the oil and gas industry is responsible for 50% of Alaska’s overall economy, 80% of general fund revenues and one-third of all private-sector jobs in the state.

With Alaska’s economy still struggling, anything that sends a message to the industry that Alaskans don’t value them could be catastrophic to future investment, which would devastate jobs and disrupt Alaska’s future. Disinvestment in fossil fuels from the Permanent Fund Board would be just that type of action. I applaud the board for making the prudent decision to reject that request.

• Rick Whitbeck is the Alaska State Director for Power The Future, a nonprofit advocacy group that support senergy workers, while pushing back against “environmental extremism.” Power the Future was launched in February 2018 by Daniel Turner, a former Republican communications staffer and alumni of the Charles Koch Institute. My Turns and Letters to the Editor represent the view of the author, not the view of the Juneau Empire.