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

The oil production tax that has long been Alaska’s sugar daddy has collapsed with the price of oil, to a low rarely seen in state history. Adjusted for inflation, state revenue from the tax is on track to have its worst year since the early days of the trans-Alaska pipeline nearly four decades ago.

The hit is so bad the treasury is making a small fraction of what it did in 2014, or about $2.30 for every taxed barrel.

The troubling statistics are just two takeaways from Alaska's latest revenue forecast -- and decades of revenue records -- in which the numbers paint a grim picture of the state's stark reversal in fortune as it faces a $3.5 billion deficit...

Alex DeMarban

A Spanish oil company is taking early steps to develop what some believe could be a significant oil field on Alaska’s North Slope -- including recently telling state officials about some of the plans.

Bill Hardham, Alaska operations manager for Repsol, was cautiously optimistic about the prospect near the Colville River Delta, where the company has drilled several wells in recent years, including three that yielded “oil discoveries.” ...

Alex DeMarban

Depending on who you ask, a new federal proposal will make Alaska water safer for animals and humans, or it will gut the economy by putting millions of new acres of lakes, wetlands, even wet tundra under the permitting requirements of the Clean Water Act.

Welcome to the national debate over what the Environmental Protection Agency, working with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, says is an effort to clarify its definitions of waters that fall under the act’s jurisdiction, a process sparked by Supreme Court decisions and requests for clarity from Congress...

Alex DeMarban

The bad news just got worse, officially speaking anyway.

In response to crashing oil prices, Alaska's state government said Friday it will earn $400 million less in unrestricted revenue this fiscal year, compared to its last earnings forecast four months ago. Instead of $2.6 billion as previously expected, the unrestricted general-fund revenue will be $2.2 billion.

That's down from $5.4 billion in 2014, when oil prices were above $100 a barrel. They've plunged to around $50 in recent months, gutting the important unrestricted income that can be appropriated by the Legislature...

Alex DeMarban

News of more layoffs is trickling out of Alaska’s oil patch as companies try to weather the plunge in crude prices.

ConocoPhillips Alaska said this week it will trim its 1,300-person workforce by “fewer than 25 employees.” The cuts come in addition to recent reports of reductions to ASRC Energy Services contractors working at ConocoPhillips’ Kuparuk field, as well as job losses tied to Hilcorp’s acquisition of some of BP's Alaska assets in November.

ConocoPhillips Alaska continues to emphasize that all its major projects are on track. And other top Alaska producers -- BP, ExxonMobil and Hilcorp -- report that their workforce numbers are holding steady...

Alex DeMarban

Setting the stage for a showdown with Congress over the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, the White House on Friday said it was transmitting to lawmakers President Barack Obama’s recommendation to expand wilderness areas in the refuge, including the potentially oil-rich plain along the U.S. Arctic Ocean...

Alex DeMarban

Pages