Alex DeMarban

A whistleblower who became the subject of an undercover spy campaign by the oil industry in Alaska a quarter-century ago has died at a nursing home in Marysville, Washington. Charles “Chuck” Hamel was 84.

Hamel was an oil broker living in Alexandria, Virginia, when he turned crusader against the industry in 1980 after oil companies refused to compensate him -- or admit wrongdoing -- for selling him oil from Alaska that contained too much water...

Alex DeMarban
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Linking climate change with severe flooding in the Alaska village of Galena, Secretary of State John Kerry laid out an ambitious agenda to address greenhouse gas emissions and protect the Arctic Ocean as he accepted the reins of the eight-nation Arctic Council on Friday, April 24, 2015, at a cere...

Alex DeMarban

Linking climate change with severe flooding in the Alaska village of Galena, Secretary of State John Kerry laid out an ambitious agenda to address greenhouse gas emissions and protect the Arctic Ocean as he accepted the reins of the eight-nation Arctic Council on Friday at a ceremony in Canada.

Kerry spent less time addressing Arctic development opportunities than the environment as he accepted the two-year chairmanship for the United States.

Alaska leaders, acknowledging climate change plays an important role on the council, are calling for the group to give increased attention to the economic possibilities presented by melting sea ice...

Alex DeMarban

A leading economist issued a paper Thursday arguing that the state can use a portion of the Alaska Permanent Fund earnings to reduce the deficit next year by $2.2 billion while still paying every Alaskan a full annual dividend.

There would also be earnings left over to reinvest in the Permanent Fund, currently valued at $54 billion after growing by $6.8 billion in 2014.

Scott Goldsmith said his plan could help Alaska weather a fiscal crisis brought on by the collapse in oil prices without the need for new taxes...

Alex DeMarban

Alaska stands to gain when the U.S. takes over chairmanship of the Arctic Council on Friday, with several meetings set to provide an economic shot in the arm and increased awareness about climate change and Russia’s buildup at the top of the globe, officials said.

The eight-nation diplomatic forum shaped perceptions about global warming a decade ago with the release of a landmark study -- the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment. But the council itself remains a relative unknown across the world, even in the Arctic...

Alex DeMarban

Gov. Bill Walker has for years taken heat from critics over his quest to build a pipeline that taps Alaska’s huge reserves of North Slope natural gas.

But the thrust of his proposal -- shipping liquefied natural gas by tankers to Asian markets -- was the same concept Gov. Sean Parnell and oil companies began pursuing in 2011. Before that, the state and industry had spent years pursuing a different approach -- a pipeline through Canada to reach U.S. markets...

Alex DeMarban

The Walker administration won praise Thursday for issuing new regulations designed to ease requirements for relatives and tribal members seeking to adopt Alaska Native foster children, even as the attorney general refused to request a rehearing in a related Alaska Supreme Court case, a move sought by several Native organizations.

Gov. Bill Walker said the new emergency regulations, as well as proposed changes to a law submitted to the Legislature on Wednesday, represent a first step in efforts to settle differences between tribes and the state that have often been battled in court...

Alex DeMarban

With the state facing multibillion-dollar deficits, a Republican Alaska lawmaker who recently proposed a personal income tax on Alaskans now wants to raise corporate income taxes on international oil companies operating in the state.

Rep. Paul Seaton of Homer introduced a measure last weekend to change a state accounting method that allows oil companies to deduct losses from out-of-state operations against the corporate income taxes they pay in Alaska.

House Bill 191 would return the state to the “separate accounting” method it once used, when accountants determined the oil companies' tax rates using only in-state profits. The measure would end the state’s current “worldwide apportionment” method of taxing global profits...

Alex DeMarban

Following pressure from several Alaska Native groups, the Walker administration has issued an emergency regulation designed to ease burdens on Alaska Natives hoping to adopt Native children.

The regulation, issued Wednesday, comes in response to concerns that current state requirements pose barriers to Native families seeking to adopt, particularly those in remote settings with limited access to state courts.

Julie Kitka, president of the Alaska Federation of Natives, applauded Walker’s willingness to listen and dig into challenging issues. She said he met the Native community “more than halfway.”...

Alex DeMarban

Alaska Gov. Bill Walker says his attempt to upsize the state’s backup gas line project would cost $85 million in an early design phase, but it could be one of Alaska's smartest financial moves if the large oil producers back out of the bigger Alaska LNG project.

An expert on Alaska pipeline politics, however, questioned how the state would ultimately come up with full funding for a state-led project -- Alaska Stand Alone Pipeline -- that could cost many tens of billions of dollars. Even paying one-fourth of the costs for the farther-along AKLNG project -- estimated to cost at least $45 billion -- will be difficult, said Larry Persily, former federal pipeline coordinator...

Alex DeMarban

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