For Immediate Release: April 9th, 2014
French Requests Oil Industry Witnesses Testify Under Oath
JUNEAU – Yesterday Senator Hollis French (D-Anchorage) sent a letter to Resources Chair Senator Cathy Giessel requesting that she use her statutory authority to swear in the oil industry witnesses who will appear before the Resources Committee on Wednesday, April 9, 2014.
French’s letter said in part, “There is no issue of greater importance to the economic future of the state than this one. Alaska has struggled since statehood to set a fair oil tax. Our obligation as elected representatives should be to elicit the most reliable and trustworthy information that exists on the topic and to make it available to our constituents.”
The investigation surrounding the grounding of Royal Dutch/Shell’s Arctic drilling rig, the Kulluk, had a role in French’s decision to make the request. Through a series of problems the Kulluk went aground. Questions arose about whether Shell took the risky move of a mid-winter tow to avoid paying millions in state property taxes. A Shell executive told the press that tax considerations had nothing to do with the move. The same executive later admitted under oath that Alaska tax laws influenced the move.
“The parallels between the Kulluk case and this hearing are strong. We are trying to determine whether tax considerations are prompting investment decisions on the North Slope. We have a recent example here in Alaska that demonstrates the power of an oath to produce the truth. There were millions at stake in the Kulluk case, but there are billions involved in SB 21 and the repeal effort. Testimony under oath is the gold standard. We should make use of it,” stated Senator French.
To read Senator French’s letter, click here:
For a news account of the Kulluk case, click here:
For more information contact Senator French at (907) 465-3892.