Back at it in Juneau. Alaska House members are already so divided over the legislation to scale back last year’s big criminal justice reform overhaul that they can’t even agree on a schedule for debating it — let alone on what’s in it. Monday was the first day of the Legislature’s special session in Juneau, which Gov. Bill Walker convened to take up a tax proposal and the criminal justice legislation, Senate Bill 54. Before the House even gaveled in for its 11 a.m. floor session, Republican minority members who want more substantial revisions to the original overhaul were already sparring with members of the largely-Democratic majority, who set a tight schedule for public testimony and amendments to SB 54.
Jousting over Pt. Thomson? A new round of jousting could be underway between Gov. Bill Walker’s administration and ExxonMobil over the big Point Thomson natural gas project on the North Slope. Fierce legal battles raged between 2007 and 2012 between the state and the Point Thomson lease owners, which include BP as well as ExxonMobil, but a settlement of the dispute was negotiated in 2012, when Sean Parnell was governor. Walker, who defeated Parnell’s bid for reelection in 2014, was head of the Alaska Gasline Port Authority, a municipal group attempting to build a North Slope gas pipeline. He opposed the settlement along some other prominent Alaskans, such as former state resources commissioner Mark Myers. Walker filed a personal lawsuit to block the deal, but it was unsuccessful.
Internet for the Arctic! A communications company announced Tuesday that the final piece of physical cable running along the ocean floor has been installed in preparation of providing internet connectivity to several remote Alaska communities by the end of the year. In a news release, Quintillion said the subsea cable system is on schedule to deliver internet to the arctic this December. The communities poised to be brought online with the fiber optic network will include Utqiaġvik, Wainwright, Point Hope, and Kotzebue, the company said.
Unity ice cream for everyone. Gov. Bill Walker and Lt. Gov. Byron Mallott’s re-election campaign kicked off Sunday afternoon in Juneau. About 100 community members showed up to Elizabeth Peratrovich Hall for music, face painting and food, including a new ice cream flavor from Coppa made specially for the campaign, called Unity. The independent governor took a few of questions from KTOO’s Adelyn Baxter about his outlook for the upcoming 2018 campaign.
Russia eyes exporting LNG to Asian-Pacific countries. Russia’s second biggest natural gas producer Novatek on Monday signed a cooperation agreement with the regional government of Kamchatka to build a new terminal on the peninsula’s east coast. “The building of the terminal will allow us to optimize our transport logistics, more efficiently deliver LNG from the Arctic, stimulate the development of the Northern Sea Route and create a hub for deliveries of LNG to consumers in the countries of the Asian-Pacific region,” the company’s owner and CEO Leonid Mikhelson says. It will be a reloading terminal where LNG from ice-class carriers are moved into conventional tankers, the company said.
From the Washington Examiner’s Daily on Energy:
INTERIOR PROPOSES LARGEST OIL AND GAS LEASE SALE IN US HISTORY: Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke Tuesday said his department is proposing the largest oil and gas lease sale ever held in the U.S. Region-wide offer: The proposed region-wide lease sale covers 77 million acres in federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico, off the coasts of Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida. The offer is scheduled for March and includes all available unleased areas on the Gulf’s Outer Continental Shelf, the department said.
Alaska House’s special session debate over crime bill starts with focus on schedule
Alaska Dispatch News, Nathaniel Herz, October 23, 2017
Governor, ExxonMobil at odds over Point Thomson
The Frontiersman, Tim Bradner, October 23, 2017
Last segment of cable installed for internet in remote Alaska communities
KTUU, Leroy Polk, October 24, 2017
On re-election bid, Gov. Walker says he’s made difficult decisions that he must own
Alaska Public Media, Adelyn Baxter, October 23, 2017
Novatek orders more Arctic tankers, announces plan to build new LNG terminal
Arctic Now/The Independent Barents Observer, Atle Staalesen, October 24, 2017