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The Student News Site of Seward High School

SHS Today

The Student News Site of Seward High School

SHS Today

Black Gold


Talking about Alaska without mentioning oil is like discussing Rolexes and not saying they are exquisite. Oil in Alaska since statehood has been the driving factor in state wealth and prosperity. 

Alaska became a state in 1959, and that was excellent for industries such as fishing and oil. The fishing industry benefited from statehood because Alaska could finally keep its fisheries sustainable and limit the influence of Seattle fishing interests (Roderick, 1997). Alaska was able to ban the detrimental practice of fish traps, which could devastate a stock of salmon forever. The oil industry was affected due to the state being able to effectively manage oil companies to prevent ecological disasters. The legislators and government were aware of the fact that to be a state you need money, and oil and gas was the perfect candidate to cover the costs.

Without the revenue the oil and gas industry provided, Alaska would probably still be in the dark ages. The State of Alaska government general fund is 85% funded by the oil and gas industry, and in the past, that number has been over 90%. An incredibly large percentage of the state’s funds are gained directly from oil companies. The permanent fund dividend was exclusively funded by oil and gas, which distributes one thousand plus dollars a year to Alaskans and is used to fund other endeavors politicians deem worthwhile.  

Another aspect is a lot of the highways in the state would not exist unless there was profitable oil at the end of the road. Oil companies in Alaska are nearly always making significant donations to causes that improve Alaskans quality of life. 

The jobs the oil industry directly creates are important, as well as, the many jobs it indirectly makes to support the industry. Well-paid people are imporant to the economy because big spenders are good for the gdp. I love seeing nothing more than people rolling around in expensive diesel trucks with top-notch sleds hanging on the sled deck and then going home to a palacios house.

Many people enjoy dragging oil companies through the mud; however, be sure to always remember who butters your bread. Contrary to popular belief, I love Alaska. I enjoy its abundant recreation opportunities, fish, profitable economy and all the other wonderful aspects. I appreciate how much big oil has footed the bill, so I, and other residents, don’t have to fund the government to a higher degree than what it currently is. 



Roderick, J. (1997). Crude dreams: A personal history of oil & politics in Alaska

Epicenter Press. 

Image Credits:

How long will the Trans-Alaska Pipeline be viable?




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