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Same Story, Different Day – Permanent Fund Earnings Up for Spending

Morning Headlamp, March 16, 2017


Permanent Fund POMV Clears Senate. The Alaska Senate approved a bill on Wednesday to utilize Permanent Fund earnings to fill most of the state’s deficit setting up another confrontation with the Alaska House. SB 26 would set dividends at $1,000 for the next three years, is similar to the measure the Senate passed last year in a 14-5 vote. On Wednesday, it passed 12-8.
Oil tax hike move forward. House Bill 111 moved forward on a party-line vote 5-4. The conversation preceding the vote was blunt but cordial. “This effort has been all about raising revenue and I think it’s at a point where we need to attract investment and as the good admiral from Alyeska Pipeline (President Tom Barrett) mentioned, it’s all about oil through the pipeline,” Anchorage Rep. Chris Birch said. “We need to be very wary of the uncertainty that we’re formulating here. I urge caution. We can do better.” Minority members also noted the preapproval provision was added to an amended version of the bill on March 10 and the Department of Natural Resources was not able to weigh in on the idea before the committee voted on it. Rep. Dean Westlake, D- Kotzebue, whose massive district includes the North Slope, voted in favor of HB 111 but is not keen on the expenditure preapproval requirement. He described it as the state “micromanaging” work plans already developed experts in their field.
Headlamp is disappointed by the House Majority’s action to push this tax through in the face of industry and public opposition. HB 111 does not move Alaska in the right direction. Hiking taxes, and changing the game again won’t increase production, investment or create more jobs. Remember those slides showing other oil regimes passing incentives or positive legislation that helped the industry during this downturn? If HB 111 should pass Alaska will be the only regime to have passed NEGATIVE/HARMFUL legislation two years in a row during this oil crash. 
Frack baby, frack. The Trump administration says it is rolling back an Obama administration rule requiring companies that drill for oil and natural gas on federal lands to disclose chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing. The administration said in court papers filed Wednesday that it is withdrawing from a lawsuit challenging the Obama-era rule and will begin a new rule-making process later this year.
Under the sea. Siemens Corporation and ABB are working on designs for an underwater production platform which would allow power transformers to be located on the seafloor while control room operators are based onshore miles away. Subsea platforms would be cheaper, easier to build, and easier to dismantle in addition to being unmanned. 
Headlamp applauds these companies for driving innovation and working on this exciting new technology that will drive growth in the industry!
First Reads 
Alaska Public Radio, Elizabeth Harball, March 16, 2017
Alaska Journal of Commerce, Elwood Brehmer, March 15, 2017
Associated Press, March 15, 2017
Arctic Now, March 16, 2017
Associated Press, Dan Joling March 16, 2017
FuelFix, David Hunn, March 15, 2017

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