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Morning Headlamp –Australians on the North Slope; Planes, Trains and Automobiles

It's Friday, March 24, 2017


AK Licenses About To Expire. After June 6, Alaskans' driver's licenses won't be enough to access military bases and other federal facilities — with the same restrictions kicking in at airports Jan. 18. Alaskans would have to use another form of ID instead, like a passport. Gov. Bill Walker has been pushing lawmakers to advance a bill bringing the state in line with Real ID's standards. But Alaska lawmakers from both parties have balked at it, arguing the bill’s record-keeping and collection requirements enable the growth of the "surveillance state." Legislative inaction could have far-reaching impacts — on travelers, teachers who work on bases and contractors expecting to do some of the $635 million in military construction forecast for Alaska this year.
Ridesharing. Yesterday, the Alaska Senate approved a bill to open the state to car and driver companies like Uber and Lyft, which use cellphone software to link vehicles with passengers. The 14-5 vote on Senate Bill 14, sponsored by Anchorage Republican Mia Costello, was along caucus lines, with Costello's Senate majority in favor and the minority opposed.
Town Hall on Healthcare. Senator Murkowski held a Facebook Live "town hall" on health care yesterday, taking questions from constituents online. The Senator detailed an array of concerns with the current repeal and replace healthcare bill, but said she remained "committed to repealing the Affordable Care Act." Murkowski cited three main problems specific to Alaska: There's only one provider left on the state's market; the state had to infuse the market with major funding to stabilize it; and premiums nevertheless continue to rise.
Alaska Divided. A poll funded by the Alaska Chamber found Alaskans deeply divided on proposals to fix the state’s $2.7 billion annual deficit. The poll, conducted by Dittman Research between Feb. 21 and March 1, found 51 percent of Alaskans opposed to using the investment earnings of the Alaska Permanent Fund. The Alaska Senate has approved such a plan, Senate Bill 26. Forty-eight percent of Alaskans support the idea; the margin was within the range of error. Headlamp has seen the Alaska Chamber’s poll results and also notes that 58% of Alaskans oppose an income tax. Let’s hope the House Majority understands polling.
Howdy, Gday. A Texan-Australian partnership picked up hundreds of thousands more acres on the North Slope to pursue Project Icewine – a shale play. Unlike conventional discoveries like Prudhoe Bay, shale oil is harder to recover, requiring technology like hydraulic fracturing to get it out of the ground. But improvements to horizontal drilling and fracking techniques led to the recent oil and gas boom in the lower 48. Now, Burgundy Xploration in partnership with 88 Energy hopes to bring the shale revolution to Alaska. According to the Alaska Department of Natural Resources, only one other company holds leases to pursue shale oil on the North Slope, Great Bear Petroleum.
First Reads
Alaska Dispatch News, Erica Martinson, March 24, 2017
Alaska Dispatch News, Nathaniel Herz, March 24, 2017
Alaska Dispatch News, Nathaniel Herz, March 24, 2017
Juneau Empire, James Brooks, March 24, 2017
Alaska Public Media, Elizabeth Harball, March 24, 2017
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