Sens. Begich, Murkowski will help decide fate of clean energy industry 

An editorial by REAP Board member Doug Johnson in the Alaska Journal of Commerce: As a fourth-generation Alaskan, I know how important oil and gas are for our state. The petroleum industry drives a third of the state’s economy and pays about 85 percent of the bills for state government.So why am I devoting my life to building a business that turns tidal power into electricity?

Because I worry about Alaska’s future.

Our oil production has fallen by two-thirds since the late 1980s, and no replacement gushers are anywhere in sight. BP’s blowout in the Gulf of Mexico has reminded the nation of the steep environmental price we pay for our dependence on oil – just as the Exxon Valdez catastrophe here in Alaska did 21 years ago.

The harder we push to keep feeding that dependence, the higher the price we pay – both at the pump and in damage to the environment. Even if we keep oil on board ships and inside the wells where it belongs, burning so much of it fills our atmosphere with greenhouse gases that are changing our climate and raising the acidity of our ocean waters.

That is why I am one of Alaska’s clean energy entrepreneurs. I and others in this growing 21st century industry have a message you don’t hear too often these days: We’re hiring. Read more

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