Morning Headlamp – Who will be left to pay an income tax?

Cook Inlet Lease Sale Set For June. The Trump Administration announced it will hold a federal oil and gas lease sale for the Cook Inlet in June despite ongoing protests from environmental interests. The announcement comes less than a month after President Donald Trump signed an executive order to reverse restrictions for offshore leasing put in place by President Barack Obama in the Arctic Ocean, more than 700 miles north of the Inlet lease area. The sale area has drawn little attention from industry for more than a decade. The agency received no bids for a lease sale in 2004. Lease sales were canceled in 2006, 2008 and 2010 following a lack of industry interest. The deadline for bids in the new federal sale is June 20.

“Scientific Integrity Official” lacks integrity. An official inside the EPA invited an activist group currently locked in a lawsuit with the Trump administration to the agency’s office for a discussion about scientific integrity, according to documents obtained by the Washington Examiner. Francesca Grifo,  EPA’s scientific integrity official, sent an invitation earlier this month to the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) for a meeting to discuss the direction President Donald Trump plans on taking the agency. The NRDC has filed several lawsuits against Trump, most of which target the president’s climate policies.

Expanding Stakeholder Engagement. The Pebble Partnership announced Thursday that is has officially formed a new advisory committee. Members of the committee are Willie Hensley, Kimberly Williams, Jim Maddy, General Joseph Ralston and Terrence “Rock” Salt. Mike Heatwole, spokesman for Pebble Project said  “We’re putting together an Advisory Committee to help advise us on a range of issues regarding Pebble, everything from engineering to environmental design to community benefits and concerns.”

Who will be left to pay an income tax? This just in from the Alaska Department of Labor – “Alaska’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 6.6 percent in April, two-tenths of a percentage point higher than March. The comparable national rate in April was 4.4 percent. Alaska’s rate has been the highest or second-highest among states for more than a year. Preliminary estimates show April employment was down by 6,600 jobs, or 2.0 percent, compared to April 2016. The biggest losses were in oil and gas, which was down by 1,800 jobs, a 15 percent drop. As legislators and the Governor debate over how much money to take from the private sector to give to government, Headlamp hopes they remember we are in a recession, hemorrhaging jobs. 

Walker – No New Ideas for Special Session. Following a late-Wednesday call for a Special Legislative Session, Gov. Walker has asked lawmakers to consider the state’s operating budget, its capital construction budget, a hike in the state’s gasoline tax, cuts to the state oil and gas drilling incentives, spending from the earnings of the Alaska Permanent Fund, and “an act or acts to increase an existing tax or to establish a new broad-based tax.” Minutes after the House and Senate adjourned, Gov. Bill Walker called lawmakers into a special session which began at 11 a.m. Thursday. In a press conference yesterday, the Governor refused to give any direction as to what he would or would not support and indicated he wouldn’t provide any ideas on possible new broad based taxes. 


First Reads

Alaska lawmakers set to end cash subsidies for oil companies

Alaska Dispatch News, Nathaniel Herz, May 17, 2017

Walker calls special session

Alaska Journal of Commerce, James Brooks, May 18, 2017

EPA Official Invites Left-Wing Enviro Group To Agency For Talk On Science
The Daily Caller, Chris White, May 18, 2017

Pebble forms advisory committee to help with range of issues
Alaska Public Media, David Bendinger, May 18, 2017