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House Majority E-News for Dec 4, 2009 ANS Crude: $74.57 Henry Hub: $4.54


Majority Looking for Answers on Economic Impacts of Oil Tax

(Anchorage) - 15 members of the State House Majority Caucus signed on
to a letter delivered to the Governor's Office today questioning the
economic impacts of enactment of Alaska's Clean & Equitable Share, or
ACES, oil tax legislation.

The four-page letter presents nine questions to the administration
concerning the tax package passed in 2007, covering topics ranging
from state lease sales statistics and oil and gas employment numbers
to requests for new drilling permits and rig counts. Majority members
focus their letter on industry's "mounting evidence that ACES may wind
up doing more harm than good to future oil development. That
possibility needs to be examined as quickly as possible," they write.

"We think that there are some issues there with the ACES language and
we'd like to get some clarifications on the rules so that we can
determine if the legislation is working properly, or if we need to
make changes," House Speaker Mike Chenault, R-Nikiski, said. "We're
focusing on how it affects job opportunities and exploration
opportunities today, versus when it was enacted."

"My district in particular has been hit hard by job losses as a
direct result of the actions of government," House Resources Committee
Co-Chair Craig Johnson, R-Anchorage, said. "It is critical that we
identify the reasons the tax increases in ACES have stifled investment
and correct those oversights as quickly as possible."

"While we enjoyed the short-term bump to the state treasury, we need
to focus on the long view in light of recent decisions coming from the
companies on the North Slope," House Special Committee on Energy
Co-Chair Charisse Millett, R-Anchorage, said. "It is clear that the
oil and gas industry has changed the way they approach Alaska business
decisions, and we need to make sure those long-term investments come
back on track for future generations."
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