This editorial appeared in The Anchorage Daily News.
Bethel Sen. Lyman Hoffman thinks the state should open its checkbook so Alaskans don't have to pay more than $3 a gallon for heating fuel during the heart of winter. This is a spectacularly bad idea.
It would be a blank check that invites widespread price gouging.
It would saddle the state with a horrendously expensive new program, just as low oil prices are wreaking havoc on state finances.
It will discourage investments in energy conservation.
In some communities, it would encourage people to cut back on heating with wood, a local, renewable fuel that is a hassle to use, and fire up their much more convenient oil stoves and furnaces.
It is a great example of how NOT to relieve the pain of high energy prices.
No question, there is an energy cost crisis in the Bush this winter. The need is real. Alaska's remote villages had to buy a winter's worth of fuel when prices spiked well past $100 a barrel.
The subsequent collapse in oil prices brings no relief to Bush Alaska. The state's $1,200 a person "resource rebate," handed out to every Alaskan this fall, has been a huge help, but Bush energy prices rose so high, the one-time payment hasn't quelled this year's crisis.
To read the complete editorial, visit The Anchorage Daily News.