Morning Headlamp – New Tax Proposal on Lobbyists Gets Pushback

State Rep. Sam Kito III wants to close a $200,000 gap at the Alaska Public Offices Commission which oversees the activities of candidates, political groups and lobbyists. According to Kito the solution is a selective income tax on lobbyists. The revenue, he says, would help with accurate and timely oversight of lobbying activities. Kito wants to replace the $250 registration fee that lobbyists currently pay per contract with a 2.5 percent income tax on lobbyists. The tax would allow APOC to meet its receipt authority and provide some extra revenue for hiring staff.

A new LNG project emerges. A new option for liquefying and marketing natural gas from Alaska’s Cook Inlet has emerged in the form of a proposed liquefied natural gas plant located in Houston, Alaska, to produce LNG for shipment on the Alaska Railroad. Consultants have been working with a major corporation with worldwide LNG experience for the construction of the plant on a 20-acre site belonging to the Knikatnu Corp. at an existing railroad spur at Millers Reach…The idea is to ship LNG by cryogenic container to rural communities. Initial operation would use about 3 million cubic feet per day of gas, resulting in the production of 30,000 gallons per day of LNG. However, the modular design of the LNG plant would enable future expansion to meet growing demand, as required.

Following orders. An Oklahoma judge on Thursday ordered Scott Pruitt, the state’s attorney general and President Donald Trump’s nominee to lead the Environmental Protection Agency, to turn over thousands of emails related to his communication with the oil, gas and coal industry. Judge Timmons gave the attorney general’s office until Tuesday to release the records, meaning they likely won’t come to light until after he is sworn in to his new position. “Attorney General Pruitt has been more thoroughly vetted than any nominee for EPA administrator,” Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, said in a statement. Pruitt told lawmakers that as EPA administrator, he would steer the agency away from what he called an era of overzealous and unlawful regulation during the Obama years. He said the EPA under his leadership would respect the authority of states and be open to a “full range of views.”

A golden opportunity. Mining’s contribution to Alaska’s economy starts with the hefty paychecks being issued to the 4,350 miners that work in the state, according to recent study completed by the Alaska Miners Association and McDowell Group. The average miner working in Alaska during 2016 received a whopping US$108,000 for the year, about double the average income across all sectors in the state.

Today, Alaska hosts six large-scale mines, hundreds of family-sized placer gold operations and more than 20 active mineral exploration projects. Hecla Mining’s Greens Creek silver mine south of Juneau and Coeur Mining’s Kensington gold mine north of the capital city are the top two property taxpayers and for-profit employers in the city and borough of Juneau.

Red Dog, Alaska’s largest mine in terms of the value of the metals it produces, is the main driving force for the economy of Northwest Alaska. So far, NANA has received US$1.3 billion in royalties from its involvement in Red Dog.

The Donlin Gold Mine being considered in an environmental impact statement, currently under review by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, includes a 53,500-metric-ton-per-day mill that is expected to produce an average of 1.1 million ounces of gold annually over the first 27 years. Donlin Gold anticipates an annual payroll of US$375 million to pay the roughly 3,000 workers during the three- to four-year construction phase. Once in production, the company expects a payroll of more than US$100 million per year for the minimum of 800 workers that would be needed at the mine currently being considered. In addition to this direct employment, Donlin Gold is expected to spur about another US$60 million a year worth of jobs.

 

First Reads

Lobbyist tax gets pushback in Alaska state House
KTOO, Caroline Halter, February 16, 2017

Another LNG option
Petroleum News, Alan Bailey, February 17, 2017

Judge orders EPA nominee Pruitt to release emails with oil, gas, coal industry
Chicago Tribune, Brady Dennis, February 17, 2017

Mining News: A growing workforce
Mining News, Shane Lasley, February 17, 2017