Backbone rally burns $5.5 billion mock check to ConocoPhillips in “Stop oil giveaway” protest

Frank Vondersaar tossed the mock $5 million check on a bonfire at noon Thursday at Bishop's Beach. The Backbone Rally calls on citizens to have a backbone in standing up against legislation that is believed to not be to Alaskan's benefit. Homer Tribune/Naomi Klouda

A mock check from the State of Alaska to ConocoPhillips for $5.5 billion burned in a bonfire at Bishop’s Beach Thursday as part of a state-wide rally protesting Senate Bill 21.
The bill, now making its way through the Alaska House, proposes to give a tax break to oil companies to spur development on the North Slope. It passed 11-9 in the Alaska Senate on March 21. A revised version of the bill proposes to lower the State of Alaska portion from 35 percent as decided in the Senate, to 33 percent.
In the final days prior to the vote, Backbone organized the rally as a way for citizens against the “oil giveaway bill” to organize for a concerted message.
“It may seem that there is no way of turning this around,” a Cook InletKeeper founder, Michael O’Meara, told a gathering of nearly 100 people. “But if there is enough of the people who are appalled, if enough people fight this, they can turn this around.”
In 1996 when Homer residents rose up and fought against Federal Lease 149, an oil development proposed in Cook Inlet, they won the battle. The federal oil lease sale was called off.
“I remember that night (when the decision came back), many of us sat on this same beach and burned the pages of the EIS one-by-one, and drank bottle after bottle of champagne,” O’Meara said. “Don’t give up.”

Numerous speakers urged rally attendants to write House legislators urging them to not pass the bill.
Backbone was founded in 1999 by former Gov. Walter J. Hickel, David Gottstein of the prominent Alaska Gottstein family, oil and gas attorney Bill Walker. Within in a few weeks, they were joined by former Governor Jay Hammond, former Senate Presidents Chancy Croft and Rick Halford, former Delegate to the Constitutional Convention Sen. Vic Fischer and many others from business, labor and public service.
The Backbone Rallies, simultaneous to Homer’s, were called in Sitka at the Crescent Harbor Shelter, in Fairbanks at Veteran’s Memorial Park, in Anchorage at the Legislative Information Office and in Juneau on the Capitol steps.
The group points to the SB 21 as a giveaway that will leave large revenue deficits at the expense of the people of Alaska in years to come. Cook InletKeeper’s Bob Shavelson handed out copies of a photo featuring Gov. Sean Parnell. Beneath were statistics on what the bill would take from the state treasury, the equivalent of $121,000 every hour of every day, Backbone estimates.
At the Homer rally, Mossy Kilcher recalled her father, Yule Kilcher, one of the framers of the Alaska Constitution when the convention met in Fairbanks in 1955.
“Right now he is yelling and screaming and twisting and turning over in his grave. You can just about hear him, can’t you?”
“Yes,” several in the crowd responded.

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Posted by on Apr 4th, 2013 and filed under Headline News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

8 Responses for “Backbone rally burns $5.5 billion mock check to ConocoPhillips in “Stop oil giveaway” protest”

  1. Karen Matthews says:

    ROCK ON HOMER!! (Fairbanks honors you, too!)

  2. picpic says:

    I think your headline is incorrect. It’s not million, but 5.5 BILLION NOT MILLION, BUT BILLION X’S 5 PLUS! Oh my goodness. People will feel differently and become more involved as they realize what is happening here.

  3. Patricia Cue says:

    Yes we can stop these legislators by kicking them out of office.

  4. K.S. says:

    I thought oil companies leasing from the state was a GOOD thing. Doesn’t that mean more money coming into the state…REVENUE? From the lease AND the resources(oil) that the companies drill? I also thought that taxing the companies less would mean lower prices for the consumer. We’re not “giving” the oil companies anything by taxing less…it benefits us and our state! Why can’t people see that?

    • Turns out, oil companies seem to be a menace wherever they go. Leasing from the state means leasing from the people. The state is the people. Not all the people benefit, only those who don’t plan to stay in Alaska. Oil people follow the money trail to the next job. Forget about money for a moment, and ask yourself what the most important aspect is in a world that’s crashing in every way today, oil, or humanity? This is the new world we face. We haven’t a clue where the gas is coming from for the new gas line structures we’re all forced to pay for here in Homer. See the dilemma?

  5. Eagle says:

    Folks are brain washed these days! They say we had to do this and they believe its the only way.They Must have stocks with oil companies huh and maken plans to move south, why the oil heads flock north to wreck Alaska !

  6. get real folks says:

    to every one who is against the oil industry here…I want to see you burn YOUR annual dividend check. What a bunch of…….!!!!

  7. when hippies get... says:

    when hippies get real old they mumble alot against the wind, but the wind just keeps blowin anyway. Funny about that wind. Just when you think your upwind, you find your down , smoked out, burned out, and faded away…

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