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June 21, 2021

Headlines:

Repeat after me. “North Dakota!”

Alaska Robotics created a couple minutes of awesome when they interviewed Governor Sean Parnell about his oil tax plan. Who’s that shadowy figure behind Flat Sean, and what the heck happened to his jaw?

Palin Fiddles While Alaska Burns

Former half-term governor Sarah Palin marches ever-onward toward becoming the Don Rickles of the conservative right. It’s a lofty goal with plenty of competition. Alaskans will remember that even back when Palin was governor, she was never happier than when she was mocking and deriding the Republican establishment. In her home town of Wasilla, it was then Senate President Lyda Green. Later she graduated to throwing tomatoes at Governor Frank Murkowski. Several of those tomatoes were direct hits, resulting in her ascension to the Governor’s Mansion. She was also the presence behind the scenes of an attempted but failed Republican…

The Conoco Coup

Pick. Click. Giveaway. We’ve all heard the ads, “ConocoPhillips: Alaska’s Oil And Gas Company.” They should change that to “Alaska: An Oil Colony of ConocoPhillips, BP and Exxon.” Fifty-five years ago Alaskans voted for statehood. We were tired of Outside corporations dominating our fisheries at the expense of Alaskans. It looks like we need to wage that fight once again as large Outside companies – this time oil companies – have taken over our government in a nonviolent, post Citizens United coup. Former ConocoPhillips lobbyist Sean Parnell runs our executive branch. He’s the guy who also worked for the law…

Senate Votes to Give Big Oil Billions

Here’s your highlight reel from the Senate oil tax debate. Late Wednesday night the Alaska State Senate voted 11-9 to give billions from the state treasury to the oil industry. A 10-10 vote would have killed the bill. Amendments and debate took all day, and went well into the night. The bottom line is that the senate voted to give away the farm, in exchange for nothing. No increased promise of production, exploration, or jobs. It might incentivize them to do something though. Magically. If we’re lucky. That’s the argument of the 11 Senators who voted for this historically bad…

Dems Denounce GOP “Crap Shoot”

  Welcome to the day of reckoning. Monday came and went without a vote on SB21, the highly controversial oil tax bill in which the governor and the governor’s hench-legislators would like us to give away almost $2 billion a year to Big Oil in exchange for … nothing. You know, just to be nice, so that then they might decide to be nice to us. If they want. No pressure. The vote is scheduled to happen Wednesday, and Democratic members of the Alaskan Senate say they remain hopeful a series of amendments can prevent Alaska from falling off its…

Parnell Withholds Oil Tax Information

  Sean Parnell got his wish for a Republican-controlled state senate this time. Last session, the bipartisan coalition prevented the massive $2 billion a year no-strings-attached oil wealth giveaway. This time, preventing our coffers from being drained into the pockets of the world’s most profitable multi-national corporations will require even more effort from Democratic legislators, fiscally responsible Republicans, and Alaskans themselves. Doing his part, Representative Les Gara (D-Anchorage) today called on Gov. Sean Parnell to release information he has withheld regarding his proposed oil tax legislation. Two weeks ago Gara filed a public records request for important oil tax information…

Parnell Chickens Out – Again

If you squint really hard, and clear your mind, you’ll be able to see a new sign in front of the Governor’s Mansion in Juneau. The author of the legislative fisheries newsletter Laws for the Sea, Bob Tkacz, is one of my favorite reporters in our state’s capital right now. He and several others attended the Governor’s press availability in the Capitol last week. He, like many Alaskans, had watched in dismay as the Governor’s Cruise Ship dumping bill as it sailed through the legislature, despite massive amounts of misinformation. One particular example Tkacz cited in his question for the…

They Think We’re Idiots. Are We?

BY: SHANNYN MOORE I will admit to outrage fatigue. The “Shock and Fraud” campaign in Juneau is working. Legislators, drunk on one-party power, are trying to jam so much crazy through — well, it’s mind-boggling. We’ve just passed the halfway point of the session — think of it as solstice; Alaska’s future only gets darker from here. We had it too good for too long and didn’t even realize it. The petty, preposterous, personal-issue bills were ignored for years. But now that we’ve solved our energy issues, jobs are plentiful and every education challenge is behind us, the Legislature has…

GOP Senators vs. Polar Bears

In case you missed it today, the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in the capital of our fair Republic (Washington DC, not Juneau) upheld the 2008 decision of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to include polar bears on the list of threatened species. Because they are. But like another Wasilla Republican we know, Senate President Charlie Huggins finds himself disappointed with the facts. “The federal appeals court decision is incredibly disappointing,” he sniffed. “America could be on its way to energy independence if only the federal government would free us to develop our vast natural resources. Federal overreach is…

Good News for Chuitna Salmon

I present to you, in the middle of chaos and frustration… (drum roll please)… a small victory! In a decision issued February 25, 2013, the Alaska Superior Court ruled that the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) violated its own rules by denying Alaskans’ their right to keep water in streams to protect wild salmon runs. The decision in Chuitna Citizens Coalition vs. Dan Sullivan, Commissioner, Alaska Department of Natural Resources, takes on special importance as the Alaska legislature considers bills introduced by Governor Parnell (HB 77/SB 26) which will strip Alaskans of their right to protect “instream flows,” which are…