Alaska Dispatch's Best of the Week: Jan. 12-18

Craig Medred

The second full week of January was a busy one, news fans.

The 28th Alaska Legislature began arguing over what promises to be the issue to suck all the oxygen out of the room from here until adjournment: Another oil tax reduction proposal. Alaska Governor Sean Parnell detailed the plan to reduce state revenue and cope with the smaller purse as best he could in his latest State of the State Address. Democratic lawmakers were quick to criticize him. And for the second year in a row, Alaska Dispatch's staff asked itself what problems the Legislature could attempt to solve if oil didn't always command so much attention.

Meanwhile, members of the Alaska Republican Party tucked into settling (or escalating) a dispute about who will control the party and its money. Those fireworks have been going on between the “old” and “new” guard since at least April, and they show no signs of letting up despite the fire danger they pose to all that wood paneling in party HQ.

Between all that excitement, we wondered whether the pipeline company TransCanada might be too busy to build the Alaska natural gas project it won a sole license for, whether Alaska health insurance policies will skyrocket as major components Obamacare starts taking effect, and why the feds didn't keep a shorter leash on the man they relied on to ferret out convictions of some Alaska militia members. Plus, the state of Alaska finally has some good news about the effort to restore its wild population of wood bison.

Read all that and more below. Miss a week and miss a lot!

  1. 1 Beyond Oil: Issues for the 28th Alaska Legislature

    Alaska's Age of Oil is destined to fade as surely as Alaska's Age of Gold. But there are always new opportunities for economic expansion, and the 28th Alaska Legislature would be wise to lay groundwork for the future.

  2. 2 Mental health, marijuana policy and HAARP: Issues for the 28th Alaska Legislature

    What if the Alaska Legislature taxed and regulated marijuana, making it an exportable crop? How can lawmakers make health care easier for Alaska children? Can these issues be addressed without spending money? More ideas for gaveled-in 28th Legislature.

  3. 3 Will TransCanada's new projects hurt chances for Alaska LNG?

    Adding to concerns about a long-sought Alaska natural gas project is the fact that numerous potential Lower 48 competitors are cranking up efforts to export liquid natural gas to Asia.

  4. 4 Alaska health insurance providers warn that premiums may skyrocket

    Health insurance in Alaska is already staggeringly expensive. But starting next year, some premiums could rise as much as 157 percent.  

  5. 5 Power struggle: Alaska GOP infighting to continue Feb. 1

    As Alaska GOP chairman elect Russ Millette came under attack by his own party Thursday night, he stunned fellow Republicans when he said he "didn't support anyone" in November's presidential election.

  6. 6 Wood bison may be reintroduced to Alaska after decades of effort

    Big beasts: Wood bison, the largest living land animals in North America, are on track to be reintroduced to the Alaska wilderness.

  7. 7 Parnell's oil tax proposal rewards Big Three at expense of small explorers

    The fight in Alaska isn't just over how high oil taxes are. It's also about who pays them.

  8. 8 Firing back, Democrats say oil tax cut 'creates an Alaska fiscal cliff'

    Democrats blast Parnell's proposal to cut oil taxes in an effort to encourage increased North Slope development.

  9. 9 Incoming Alaska GOP leaders could be unseated before even assuming control

    Complaints filed by current Alaska Republican Party leaders against incoming chair-elect Russ Millette and other future party stewards threaten to end the reign of the "new guard" before it even begins.

  10. 10 Should FBI have kept a tighter leash on its Alaska militia mole?

    The security agent whose actions contributed to the downfall of 2010 U.S. Senate candidate Joe Miller has finally revealed what he was thinking when he handcuffed a reporter after a campaign event in October 2010. And it appears he had an agenda.