…to finance hardcore stupidity, profiteering and public disinformation in Alaska:
Sent: Tuesday, October 10, 2006 5:14 PM
From: Robert Corbisier firstname.lastname@example.org
To: undisclosed-recipients (i.e. a round-robin email)
Subject: Chavez offer of fuel oil to Native Alaskan villages
Thank you for contacting the Office of the Governor regarding Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez’ offer to provide home heating oil to villages in Alaska. The Governor asked me to respond on his behalf.
President Chavez offered to have his government controlled oil company, CITGO, provide free fuel directly to consumers in rural Alaskan villages which have a certain percentage of Native households.
Neither President Chavez nor CITGO approached the State of Alaska for consultation, consent, or assistance in providing this fuel. In reacting to villages rejecting this fuel, Governor Murkowski stated, “While the high cost of fuel is something that is heavily impacting rural Alaskans, President Chavez’ use of Alaska as a pawn in his international game to forward his dictatorship’s agenda is deplorable,” and called tribal members who reject the free fuel “outstanding Americans.”
In Alaska, the federal government does not have treaties with any tribes, yet we have 229 federally recognized tribes spread through over 100 villages in rural Alaska along with tribes on the state’s very limited road system. Alaska has only one Indian reservation. The Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act, passed by Congress in 1971, established a series of regional for-profit corporations along with for-profit corporations in each village.
Individual Alaska natives who were eligible to enroll in their corporations at that time usually received shares in both their local village corporation as well as their regional corporation. In addition, regional non-profit corporations formed to provide a variety of services to the Alaska Natives in their region. The corporations are independent of the federally recognized tribes.
Alaska’s rural villages contain a mixture of organized municipal governments and traditional tribal governments, often with these entities coexisting in the same community, and occasionally with these entities merging to create efficiencies.
CITGO approached the Alaska Inter-Tribal Council (AI-TC) to assist in coordinating the free fuel delivery. AI-TC purports to be a statewide organization that represents tribal governments, but many tribes chose not to associate themselves with AI-TC. In turn, the Alaska Inter-Tribal Council approached the regional non-profit corporations for assistance at the local level.
Because the vast majority of Alaska is unconnected by roads or a power grid, most rural communities generate their own power locally using diesel fuel purchased in bulk. Much of this bulk infrastructure has been paid for by the State of Alaska and the United States federal government. Without roads, fuel for the winter is delivered to most of these communities by barge in the fall before the rivers and harbors freeze.
While Alaska produces nearly 20% of US domestic crude oil, Alaska has limited refinery capacity, and depending on the circumstances Alaska will occasionally even import crude oil. Much of our refined petroleum, even in urban centers, comes from refineries on the west coast and is barged to Alaska.
While this makes Alaska a part of the general West Coast market, Alaska’s geographic isolation puts it in its own very localized market. Fuel prices may not drop in relation to Lower 48 prices since the barge that brings a particular load of fuel will last several months and competition is less intense, and therefore the price per gallon for the end user reflects the price at the time of the bulk purchase plus delivery costs and markup.
Small communities have limited competition for bulk fuel deliveries and the local end user markets are very small; many of Alaska’s villages are less than 100 people. These factors all lead to very high fuel prices in rural Alaska.
This is the third year in a row that Alaskans, and indeed all Americans, have faced high winter fuel prices. No villages have frozen during the last two winters due to fuel shortages. The State of Alaska does have several energy assistance programs for Alaskans. General information about Alaska’s energy initiatives can be found at the Alaska Energy Authority’s website at http://www.aidea.org/aea/index.html/
The Power Cost Equalization program is a subsidy to provide fuel for electricity generation to communities at rates that are closer to those rates paid in Alaska’s larger communities such as Anchorage, Fairbanks, and Juneau.
Communities can apply for the Bulk Fuel Revolving Loan Fund, which is a low-interest loan for bulk fuel purchases. Governor Murkowski created the Bulk Fuel Bridge Loan for communities with a poor credit history that cannot obtain a loan from the Bulk Fuel Revolving Loan Fund, funded the Municipal Energy Assistance Program for grants to municipalities, and pushed to add state funds to federal grants under the Low Income Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). Recently the Alaska Legislature passed the Governor’s proposed change to Alaska’s oil tax system, which triggered a $183 million payment to endow the Power Cost Equalization program.
While Alaska does have $34.5 billion in the Alaska Permanent Fund, the Alaska Constitution prevents government from using the corpus of this fund for state services. The Alaska Legislature annually appropriates the earnings from the fund to pay a dividend to Alaska’s residents, many of whom depend on this money to help them with the high cost of fuel.
While Alaska also receives significant money through federal appropriations, this is due to the federal superintendence that the federal government maintains over Alaska’s land and resources. Specific federal appropriations, such as the funding to connect the hub-community of Ketchikan (a city of 8,000 which serves an area of nearly 14,000 and maintains daily jet service from Alaska Airlines via Boeing 737) via bridge to Gravina Island which contains its airport, comes with restrictions which would prevent spending those funds on other projects such as purchasing fuel.
Information on the Aleutian Pribilof Islands Association, the regional non-profit corporation where the villages of St. Paul, St. George, Nelson Lagoon, and Atka are located, can be found at http://www.apiai.org/ That organization has established an account to receive donations for fuel purchases. According to the Aleutian Pribilof Islands Association, donations to assist the affected villages can be made at Key Bank through an account titled ” Unangan Energy Assistance Fund” C/O Key Bank # 729681009001
Donations can be made at any Key Bank Branch Nationwide or Can be mailed to:
Unangan Energy Assistance Fund
c/o Aleutian Pribilof Islands Association
201 East Third Avenue
Anchorage, Alaska 99501
Unangan Energy Assistance Fund
c/o Key Bank
P.O. Box 110420
Anchorage, AK 99510
For further information regarding donations or charitable deductions, please contact the Aleutian Pribilof Islands Association directly.
I hope this information was helpful.
Robert W. Corbisier
Special Staff Assistant
Office of the Governor
As you can see, Alaska is in an awful mess. Can you make hide or hair of that incorporation system? I can’t–except that the words for profit jumped out at me. Basically, that tells me that each community there is something of a profiteer’s private fiefdom. No wonder so many people there are fucked in the head and willing to believe any accusation of dictatorship that they hear coming out of a Repug governor’s lying mouth.
And, despite all the profiteering, there’s still not enough to go ’round. And worse, there seems to be all kinds of red tape involved in receiving federal or state funding for heating, electricity generation, etc. This means that those who’ve stuck their necks out for Bushie and frozen off their noses to spite their faces, are now reliant on charity. And that means a lot of overextended fellow-citizens, who themselves can ill afford to spare the cash, are now being called on to give till it hurts. Hardcore stupidity with a vengeance!
To those Alaskans who aren’t fooled and are accepting the CITGO offer: YOU are the outstanding citizens. Keep on keepin’ on.
UPDATE: Dr. Robert Millward has written a letter back to the office of this gentleman, chastising him severely for his ideological drivel. It’s a thing of beauty. Go see!