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1000 Americans: Jack Reakoff, Wiseman, Alaska. About oil drilling in Alaska.


‘I have been living in Wiseman since 1971, when I was 13. I have to go to Fairbanks to get supplies every 3-4 months, but hate it.’

Jack Reakoff is one of Wiseman’s famous faces and voices. he seems to know a lot about a lot and works part-time as a tourguide, showing busloads of tourists around Wiseman and telling all about its history. Whenever there is a radio discussion about a current topic, Jack calls in and he has been featured in books, videos and guides. he sells fur from animals he hunts and traps and beads to make necklaces and jewelry.

He has a clear opinion about the oil industry and the thoughts behind the pressure to start drilling in the last remaining wilderness in the arctic:

‘It’s all political. Due to new drilling methods there is actually more oil in the North Slope available than there was when they started drilling a few decades ago. But they have to lower the output, which serves them for several reasons: firstly, the pipeline will not break. It is old and corrosion has lowered the maximum pressure that can go through.

Secondly, the prices can stay high. Even though there is plenty of oil, the output is low and therefore the prices are high. High prices mean problems for the consumer but simply high profits for the guys on top and their investors. Thirdly, due to the high prices, they can try to change public opinion. Here in Alaska, many people use oil or diesel to heat their houses and to fuel their generators for electricity. also all goods have to be picked up by car or plane. Any increase in oilprices hits them triple as much as anywhere else. They think it is unfair as the oil is right beneath their feet.

Now the only thing left that all the politicians need to do to drill in the last wilderness (the Arctic Wildlife refuge), is twist public opinion. They do not need the oil beneath the refuge, they have trillions worth of oil ready to get out. But once they admit there there is enough oil already, people will start to ask: Why are the prices so high? Instead they turn it around: they reduce the flow, increase the prices, blame the Arabs and tell everybody that they need permission to drill in the Arctic Wildlife Refuge, so that prices can go down again. By creating fear of the Arabs, they increase dependency of US oil, meaning more profit.’

‘ They already own the entire North Slope, really everything besides the Wildlife Refuge. Besides the few dozen well-known oilfields, they have already identified many more and can go on drilling for decades to come. They only want more profit, over the backs of the consumers and they are backed by high-ranking politicians, who either have investments in the oil industry or were put into office by people who do.’

‘ They get to buy land up here for $10 per acre, an incredible low price. Other people pay $1000- $50000 per acre, depending on the location. But the oil companies get special treatment: they can buy the land, totally inspect it and sell back whatever they do not need. So now they have many islands of land within the North Slope, ready to drill. ‘

‘ And the worst thing is, they do not even pay taxes. What they do is: they find a place to drill oil, set up a complete drilling and extracting station, sometimes built complete islands, drill to about 20.000 feet, find nothing and then write the complete thing off their taxes. Then 3 years later they come back, drill to 21,000 feet, where they knew all along the oil was, and the oil comes out, pumped up by a written off installation. Meanwhile our taxes rise and a big percentage of Alaskans will not make it through winter financially.’

‘Of course, all we need to do is simply use less oil. Use solar energy, wind energy and let the oil companies play their games, but be less dependent on them. But the people are to blind: they do not see that there are sustainable energy sources available as the politicians do not promote them. The politicians have big interest in the oil industry and therefore now stupid programs and initiatives like ‘ drill US oil now’, ‘USA oil for Americans’ etcetera try to divert attention away from saving energy to drilling in nature reserves by using ignorant patriotic sentiments. The public does not know better. They do not know they can get smaller cars, because ‘US cars are better than foreign cars’. They have no clue about saving energy, because they were taught that energy is plentiful and should be used as much as possible.’

‘All environmentalist as well as all big oil bosses have never set foot in Alaska. They have no idea how beautiful and at the same time how hostile nature can be. They do not know what they try to protect or are destroying. The Alaskans that do know are now only thinking short term: how do I survive winter? They think things will change by letting the companies drill in the last piece of protected land that has not been stolen by the oil companies & the politicians that back them up.’


Jack is a WiseMan. He knows so much as many people working for the oil companies pass Wiseman and stop for a chat. So many people are directly or indirectly dependent on the oil industry that the nature is almost a lost cause. Probably Alaska would be a better place with people like him as governor. Instead now the State of Alaska is suing the US as they want the Polar bears of the endangered species list as it would mean less possibilities of unlimited drilling for oil, that we, the consumers, so crave for when we buy our new SUV’s…

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One Response to “1000 Americans: Jack Reakoff, Wiseman, Alaska. About oil drilling in Alaska.”
  1. nissan says:


    we are researching the posibility of producing a television show around gold mining in Alaska. Do people in Wiseman Alaska still make a living from gold mining? are there any more families in your town.

    Thanks for your help,


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