A representative of oil giant ConocoPhillips voiced opposition to Ballot Measure 1 at a Juneau Chamber of Commerce luncheon on Thursday.
Ballot Measure 1, known as Stand for Salmon, would alter how managers permit development on certain fish habitat in Alaska.
ConocoPhillips has donated $1 million to opposition group Stand for Alaska, plus more than $34,000 in non-monetary contributions, according to the Alaska Public Offices Commission. The company is one of the largest contributors to Stand for Alaska, which has amassed more than $11 million to prevent the change to permitting law.
The Chamber made anti-measure yard signs available in the back of the Moose’s Lodge on Thursday as Conoco’s Scott Jepsen, vice president of external affairs and transportation, spoke. The ballot measure will slow down Alaska’s economy by allowing environmental groups “another bite at the apple” to litigate permitting, Jepsen said.
“When we take a look at this particular initiative, what we see is a way to slow down, stop or potentially halt resource development,” Jepsen said.
Proponents have taken issue with the idea that Ballot Measure 1 would halt resource extraction, calling the idea a scare tactic and a misreading of the measure’s language. More than 43,000 Alaskans have provided signatures to bring the measure to a vote.
Oil production on the North Slope currently enjoys what Jepsen called a production “renaissance,” and Conoco, Alaska’s largest oil producer, recently added to its daily production. Oil started flowing from Greater Mooses Tooth 1 on Oct. 5, Jepsen said, in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska. It should add about 30,000 barrels of oil per day to Conoco’s production.
The Trump administration handed ConocoPhillips another key approval for oil development in Greater Mooses Tooth 2, which should add another 40,000 barrels per day, Jepsen said.
Jepsen is the latest in a series of Chamber speakers to argue against Ballot Measure 1 in the run up to the Nov. 6 election. A representative of the Pebble Mine project gave similar comments at last week’s Chamber lunch.
A frequently asked questions document about Ballot Measure 1 can be read at https://aws.state.ak.us/OnlinePublicNotices/Notices/Attachment.aspx?id=114005. The ballot itself can be found at http://www.elections.alaska.gov/petitions/17FSH2/17FHS2%20Bill%20Revised%20by%20AK%20Supreme%20Court.pdf
• Contact reporter Kevin Gullufsen at 523-2228 and firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @KevinGullufsen.