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Morning Headlamp – Walker, State Leaders, Attend Permanent Fund Board Meeting

Walker used his appearance before the board to advocate for his proposal to use the Permanent Fund, instead of oil revenue, to fund state government


Gov. Bill Walker

Office of Governor

Big wigs show up at PF meeting. Typically, a meeting of the six-member Board of Directors of the Alaska Permanent Fund has been unable to attract much attention, even with meetings scheduled in Juneau during the legislative session so elected officials can attend. But recent attendance by Governor Bill Walker, Lt. Gov. Byron Mallott, Senate President Pete Kelly and House Speaker Bryce Edgmon has changed that.


Walker used his appearance before the board to advocate for his proposal to use the Permanent Fund, instead of oil revenue, to fund state government. “Our money makes significantly more revenue than our resources coming out of the ground, and we need to acknowledge that,” Walker said. Walker told the trustees and staff that past state leaders, Gov. Jay Hammond and others, have put the state in an enviable financial position by saving for the future. “Putting money aside was very wise,” he said, before explaining the situation that according to him requires Alaska to dip into the fund to pay for state operations.


And the race is off! The U.S. Bureau of Land Management on Tuesday formally kicked off the environmental review process for the Ambler road, a 211 mile mining industry use project in the Interior, announcing in a Federal Register notice that the scoping process has begun. Through scoping, BLM is seeking public input about issues that should be addressed in an environmental impact statement (EIS). The public comment period ends May 30, and a completed environmental impact statement is expected by the end of 2019, said the BLM notice. Construction of the road, as planned, would be financed by the state through the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority. That agency is the sponsor of the road project. Mining companies using the road would, in time, repay the state's construction costs, according to the proposal.


Coal to oil. A laboratory experiment from the Alaska Department of Natural Resources produced crude oil from bits of Alaska coal and now has geologists hoping coal-rich areas in the state contain undiscovered pools of oil. Coal deposits are typically associated with basins that produce natural gas, but it is believed to be the source rock for commercial oil discoveries in some basins. It is possible that Alaska, home to about half the nation's coal reserves, contains large amounts of yet-untapped oil generated millions of years ago in these coal deposits.


First Reads

Scientists ‘cook’ oil from Alaska coal, suggesting exploration opportunities

Alaska Dispatch News, Alex DeMarban, March 1, 2017

Feds begin review of controversial mining road in Arctic Alaska

Alaska Dispatch News, Yereth Rosen, February 28, 2017

Permanent Fund’s billions draw new attention from governor, legislators

Juneau Empire, Pat Forgey, February 28, 2017

House Science to EPA: drop Pebble Mine veto

Alaska Public Media, Dave Bendinger, February 23, 2017

Murkowski Congratulates New Interior Secretary

U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski, March 1, 2017

House Democrats Letter to EPA Administrator Pruitt on Pebble

Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson, February 24, 2017


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