Morning Headlamp – House Majority Hypocrisy

Alaska Governor’s Race Re-Election Questions Loom. Gov. Bill Walker has not yet said whether or not he will seek a second term as Governor. Not only will he not say if he is considering a run, but he also has not declared whether he will register as a Republican or Democrat, and run in a partisan primary, or whether he will continue as an independent on a unity ticket – which propelled him to office in 2014. Three potential Republican candidates, Wasilla Sen. Mike Dunleavy, businessman Scott Hawkins and Rep. Mike Chenault, the former House speaker from Nikiski — said in interviews last week that they’re thinking about launching campaigns for Governor in 2018.

Alaska Considers Unique Oil And Gas Exploration Near Talkeetna and Willow. The state has received an application for an exclusive oil- and gas-exploration license in an area of the Susitna Basin mostly west of the Parks Highway near Talkeetna and Willow. The request for the Susitna Valley exploration license is unique because the area that might be opened lies far from Cook Inlet and the North Slope, where oil and gas companies have operated for decades. The 1.5 million acres of state-owned land that Alaska officials are considering making available to exploration falls under a state program designed to encourage prospecting in little-explored regions. State officials have not released the name of the applicant. Headlamp is excited at any new opportunity for responsible resource development and the jobs and revenue that come with the project! 

What goes up…May 30 U.S. crude oil prices rose towards $50 per barrel on Tuesday as a strong start to the summer driving season in the United States suggested strong fuel demand in months ahead. U.S. demand for transport fuels such as gasoline used in cars and diesel in buses tends to rise significantly as families visit friends and relatives or go on vacation during the summer months, with the so-called summer driving season officially kicking off on the Memorial Day holiday at the start of this week.

Money for nothing – Juneau-based Lawmakers Still Cashing Checks. Despite the fact the House held one floor session longer than four minutes and no committee hearings, Juneau Democratic Reps. Sam Kito III and Justin Parish both said in phone interviews Friday that they’ll be claiming their taxable $220 daily payments this week — meant to cover lodging and meals — in spite of a slow work schedule. Juneau’s third legislator, Democratic Sen. Dennis Egan, didn’t respond to requests for comment Friday. All three collected the payments during the Legislature’s 121-day regular session. Twenty of the 60 legislators in the House and Senate responded whether they plan to ask for the expense checks this week, with most saying they would only claim them for days they were in Juneau. Headlamp is disappointed to see members of the House Majority who are touting their “Fiscal Responsibility” take per diem for sleeping in their own beds — and not doing any work. 

Interior Secretary Visits The Last Frontier. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke spent Memorial Day weekend on a tour organized by Senator Lisa Murkowski. After attending a rolling thunder ceremony at Byers Lake, he visited Denali National Park on Sunday and Monday. The Secretary’s schedule takes him to Anchorage on Tuesday and Wednesday where he will meet Interior department employees and the Alaska Federation of Natives, a keynote speech at the Alaska Oil and Gas Association’s annual conference and a hike at the Nike Site Summit in Arctic Valley. A joint press release from Alaska’s congressional delegation said stops would also be made later in Prudhoe Bay and Fairbanks.


First Reads

As some drop hints about running for Alaska governor in 2018, Walker remains a wild card

Alaska Dispatch News, Nathaniel Herz, May 29, 2017

State considers opening land near Talkeetna, Willow for oil and gas exploration

Alaska Dispatch News, Alex DeMarban, May 29, 2017

Even with Alaska Legislature in limbo, some lawmakers still getting more than $200 a day for expenses

Alaska Dispatch News, Nathaniel Herz, May 29, 2017

Interior Secretary Zinke will make Alaska stops from Arctic to Anchorage

Alaska Dispatch News, Erica Martinson, May 29, 2017

Strong start to summer driving season pushes US oil towards $50
Reuters, Henning Gloystein, May 30, 2017