Morning Headlamp – Statewide Salmon Catch Forecast Up By A Million Fish Over Last Year

Fish On! The statewide salmon catch forecast of 204 million is up by a million fish, and the world’s biggest sockeye salmon fishery at Bristol Bay is breaking records for chilling its fish. Last year nearly 40 percent of Alaska’s total salmon value came out of Bristol Bay. The 2016 Bristol Bay harvest of 37 million sockeye salmon from the region’s five river systems was the second-largest in 20 years, and both drift and setnet harvesters chilled the largest amount of raw product in the history of the fishery.

Leaving on a jet plane? The state’s proposed increase in jet fuel taxes, which are included in Senate Bill 25 and House Bill 60, would triple the state tax when it is fully implemented, from 3.2 cents to 9.6 cents per gallon and have caused concerns for cargo carriers. That compares with a 2.4 cents per gallon jet fuel tax at Seattle-Tacoma, 3 cents per gallon tax in Portland and 2 cents per gallon tax in Vancouver, British Columbia, three west coast airports that are competitors with Anchorage for air cargo business. No fuel-flow fee is charged at those airports. Once again, Headlamp implores the Legislature to consider what message we send to businesses and investors when we become the most expensive place to do operate.

More job loss detail. Alaska saw a dip in mining jobs during 2016, numbers attributed to losses in the oil patch as well as hard rock mines when commodities prices took a dive. Employment numbers are tallied in different ways by various agencies. Alaska Department of Labor statistics show Alaska went from 17,400 mining jobs in 2015 to 14,200 jobs in 2016. That number lumped in petroleum jobs, said Alaska Economist Neal Fried, with “mom and pop” placer mines and large entities such as Usibelli coal. The Alaska Miners Association separates out minerals and construction materials mining to get its tally: Jobs went from a high of in 2012 of 10,000 to 8,600 in 2016, said AMA President Deantha Crocket. Continued reductions in some of the highest paying jobs in the state are of great concern. Headlamp hopes those in Juneau who want to add more cost to doing business fully comprehend these numbers.

Slow and steady wins the race. CEO for ConocoPhillips, Ryan Lance, spelled out the company’s efforts to reduce debt by selling some assets and reshaping the company. In spite of some skepticism, Lance said, “I don’t worry about production and reserves in the company.”

Let’s make a deal! The owner of Red Dog Mine and the North West Arctic Borough appear to have reached a settlement on the payment-in-lieu-of-tax (PILT) paid by Red Dog’s operator, Teck Alaska, to the borough. The agreement, ranging from $18 million to $26 million per year for 10 years, must now be approved by the assembly. Headlamp wishes Red Dog years of continued success.


First Reads

Alaska Senate votes to guarantee health coverage for families of those killed in line of duty

Alaska Dispatch News, Nathaniel Herz, April 20, 2017

Anchorage’s international airport eyes an on-site hotel

Alaska Dispatch News, Annie Zak, April 20, 2017

FISH FACTOR: Salmon outlook looks bright for 2017

Alaska Journal of Commerce, Lanie Welch, April 20, 2017

Cargo carriers concerned about tax hike

Alaska Journal of Commerce, Tim Bradner, April 20, 2017

Minerals prices rebounding, but jobs still off from 2012 highs

Alaska Journal of Commerce, Naomi Klouda, April 20, 2017

ConocoPhillips takes slow, steady route in race for oil profits

Reuters, Gary McWilliams, April 20, 2017

Chevron Not Interested in Access to Arctic Drilling

Morning Consult, Jack Fitzpatrick, April 19, 2017

GUEST COMMENTARY: Investments keep Southcentral out of the cold

Alaska Journal of Commerce, Rebecca Logan, April 19, 2017

Red Dog mine owner Teck reaches tax deal with borough

Alaska Journal of Commerce, Tim Bradner, April 19, 2017