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Alex DeMarban

Dozens of BP employees face uncertainty tied to the oil giant’s pending sale of a portion of its North Slope assets to Hilcorp , though the large majority of workers affected by the deal have been offered jobs by the small independent producer that has made aggressive moves in Alaska.

About 250 BP employees were associated with assets involved in the $1.5 billion sale, announced in April when BP said it would divest all or part of its interests in four Arctic fields atop the state.

Hilcorp Alaska has extended employment offers to about 200 of those workers, officials said...

Alex DeMarban

Recalling his general election loss to Sen. Lisa Murkowski four years ago, tea party favorite Joe Miller will tell you he was undermined by establishment Republicans, misrepresented by a costly smear campaign and betrayed by a rogue security-guard “plant” who took it upon himself to handcuff a reporter.

But the Fairbanks conservative will also tell you any blame for the loss -- and his campaign’s missteps -- rests squarely on his shoulders...

Alex DeMarban

Before a packed audience in Anchorage on Wednesday night, two sides sparring over the oil-production tax cut agreed on some issues, including that investment and jobs increased under the former tax system. But the teams disagreed strongly on whether the tax cut will pay for itself.

In one corner were Sen. Bill Wielechowksi and economist Gregg Erickson, arguing in favor of repealing the cut. In opposition were Brad Keithley and petroleum economist Roger Marks.

With less than four weeks until voters choose between the two tax systems, more than 250 spectators crowded into the Wilda Marston Theatre at Loussac Library. Dozens more were turned away because of space constraints in the theater, where it was standing room only...

Alex DeMarban

With the state’s big vote over the oil-tax cut approaching, the next public debate on the topic will take place Wednesday night in Anchorage, with a video of the event available later for those who can’t attend.

Anchorage Democratic Sen. Bill Wielechowski and veteran economist Gregg Erickson will tag-team on the Vote Yes side supporting a repeal of Senate Bill 21. SB 21, as it's often abbreviated, codified the state's new oil-tax regime, and the state’s major oil companies are spending big bucks to keep that system in place...

Alex DeMarban

The Alaska gasline mega-project took a step forward on Friday with the state’s major oil companies filing an application with the Department of Energy to export liquefied natural gas.

The 42-page application -- supported by more than 150 pages of attachments -- requests permission to export up to 20 million metric tons of LNG each year for three decades. That’s equal to 2.5 billion cubic feet of natural gas daily, or about 10 times the amount currently used by Alaskans statewide on the coldest winter days.

If built, the $45 billion to $65 billion Alaska LNG project would be the largest of its kind, said the application...

Alex DeMarban

The ballot measure to repeal the state’s oil tax cut might be the thorniest issue Alaskans ever vote on, but imagine trying to understand terms like “gross revenue exclusion” and “progressivity” in Yup’ik and other Alaska Native languages.

Therein lay the challenge for the state’s Native language translators tasked with turning the dense description of Alaska’s dueling tax systems -- with their bureaucratic mumbo jumbo and thorny calculations -- into a version that people whose English proficiency is limited could digest at the polls.

“That Ballot Measure 1 was a pain in the neck,” said Oscar Alexie, one of six translators who helped create a Yup’ik sample ballot that should be useful in dozens of villages in Western Alaska...

Alex DeMarban

In a decision with important implications for tribal powers in Alaska, the state Supreme Court on Friday rejected a case in which the Parnell administration had challenged the authority of a tribal court in order to protect the constitutional rights of a man who had brutally assaulted and kidnapped his girlfriend.

The high court's decision confirms that the state must respect tribal courts' rulings in child custody cases just as it does other state courts elsewhere, which is what federal law requires, said Erin Dougherty, a staff attorney with the Native Americans Rights Fund in Alaska, which argued against the state...

Alex DeMarban

With five weeks until voters hit the polls to consider repealing the oil-production tax cut, experts on both sides squared off at a debate in Juneau on Monday night, with Rep. Les Gara brandishing Parnell-administration statistics to argue for a repeal and a pair of high-level staffers who had worked for Gov. Frank Murkowski arguing that the tax cut should stay and that new investment has already led to higher-than-expected production...

Alex DeMarban

Alaska’s long-sought mega-gasline project recently moved forward as three big oil companies, the state and a pipeline builder agreed to conduct some $500 million worth of preliminary engineering and design projects over the next year and a half.

But don’t forget the small gasline that might one day be built instead of its larger cousin.

An official with the Alaska Gasline Development Corp., which is simultaneously working on both projects, said the proposed $7.7 billion smaller line is alive and well...

Alex DeMarban

Alaska Native leader Don Wright, who played a pivotal role in the Native land-claims movement decades ago, died peacefully in his home on Saturday. He was 84.

A pilot and contractor who helped build Alaska, Wright’s most lasting work began in the 1960s, when he and others organized the Alaska Federation of Natives as the land-claims movement gained steam.

Wright was president of the organization when President Richard Nixon signed the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act into law in 1971, creating today’s Native corporations -- some rank among the state’s strongest economic forces today -- and providing 44 million acres and $1 billion...

Alex DeMarban

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