Since his election to the Alaska State Legislature last year, Senator Peter Micciche has found himself neck-deep in oil and gas issues, something he knows about as a long-time employee of Conoco Phillips. Micciche recently spoke about Governor Sean Parnell’s proposal to overhaul oil taxes and whether his employment in the industry presents a conflict of interest.
Micciche says he does believe that the ACES oil tax restructuring bill passed in 2006 does need to be changed but he does not support Governor Sean Parnell’s bill to make a sweeping overhaul to the tax regime.
"It needs a lot of work before I would support it," said Micciche. "I don't believe that it has an adequate share for Alaskans."
Micciche says he likes the progressivity aspect of ACES that allows for a higher tax rate on oil as prices increase but he thinks the system needs to be adjusted.
He says he will soon be meeting with Democrats, including Anchorage Rep. Les Gara, who have offered a proposal that is more of a modification that a complete overhaul.
"I'm hoping that we can bring both parties together to come up with a solution that makes us more competitive but still protects the interests of Alaskans and delivers a few guarantees that any money that's reduced in taxes will be invested here and result in more production," he said.
Since taking his seat in the Alaska Senate, Micciche has repeatedly faced questions about a potential conflict of interest when it comes to oil and gas issues, given his employment with ConocoPhillips as supervisor of the Kenai LNG plant.
Micciche, who also works seasonally as a commercial fisherman, responds by pointing out that all of his fellow legislators have some kind of outside employment.
Micciche says he thinks there is a double standard at play when it comes to legislators who work in the oil and gas industry.
"No one says a word when labor attorneys introduce legislation having to do with labor issues," he said. "I'm not here representing an oil company. I'm here representing the residents of District O and that's the most important thing to me."
Senator Peter Micciche made his comments on the “Coffee Table” program, which aired Wednesday on KBBI and KDLL.