Friday, November 16, 2007

Oil Corruption In Alaska Forces Reforms

It took a major corruption scandal in Alaska to bring about some reform in the way oil companies compensate Alaskans for the depletion of that resource.

The oil companies' routine whining and lobbying failed to stop the much-needed reforms because the Alaskan public discerned that their public officials and special interests were too closely linked.

And rebelled.

This should be a lesson for Wisconsin politicos as they inch towards greenlighting Murphy Oil's six-fold expansion onto 400-500 acres of wetlands in Superior, near Lake Superior and thereby bring massive new refining and pipeline infrastructure to the Lake Superior watershed.

Sometimes it hurts politically to be too close to Big Oil, which in Wisconsin, with its sole existing, but small refinery 35,000 barrel-per-day, means Murphy.

Raising the capacity to 235,000 barrels a day, in that sensitive location, could be a political tipping point in Wisconsin for residents fed up with the energy lobby, including the road-builders, directing state policy-making.

A related item about blockbuster, budget-breaking highway expansion in the face of Wisconsin initiatives to combat global warming, is here.

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