Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down on Budget Battle; Cheers for Oil Search

Budget Battle: Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down – some observations from the House Finance hearing to amend the budget yesterday:

Thumbs Up: Representative Tilton for attempting to reduce discretionary travel that didn’t affect a departments ability to provide core services. (most of her motions were voted down)

Thumbs Down: Representative Josephson for supporting a federal pass-through grant that required a state match because it was a 10 to 1 match…to be clear, the state puts up the money for the match and then passes the funds on to other organizations.

Thumbs Up: House Minority members who stuck together on reasonable amendments to reduce the size and scope of government.

Thumbs Down: Representative LeBon, who ran as a fiscal conservative, consistently voting to maintain the size and scope of government.

Thumbs Up: Representative Carpenter for his amendments to reduce funding for public broadcasting.

Thumbs Down: Representative Ortiz for suggesting that reducing the state funds for public broadcasting meant an end to public broadcasting.

Lawmakers amend budget to stop reimbursing municipalities for school bond debt
Andrew Kitchenmann, KTOO, April 3, 2019

Oil Search cheers North Slope flows
Reuters, April 4,2019

Australia-listed Oil Search has flowed oil from two wells at its Pikka unit on Alaska’s North Slope. Oil Search confirmed Thursday the Pikka B well flowed last month at a stabilised rate of 2410 barrels of oil per day during testing, while adding the flow had been restricted by the capacity of the testing equipment. Based on the productivity index calculated during the final flow test, which was carried out over a two-hour period on natural flow with no artificial lift, Oil Search calculates the well flow rate potential for Pikka B at roughly 3800 bpd. Oil Search also commenced a flow test programme last month on the Pikka C well which included testing of six stimulation stages within the 3800-foot-long horizontal section of the well.

Petitioners get OK, will seek to move Alaska Legislature to Anchorage
James Brooks, Anchorage Daily News, April 3, 2019

Lt. Gov. Kevin Meyer and the Alaska Department of Law have approved a proposed ballot measure that would permanently move sessions of the Alaska Legislature from Juneau to Anchorage. In a certification message sent to the measure’s three Anchorage sponsors late Wednesday, the lieutenant governor said the sponsors had enough support to begin gathering signatures in earnest and that the Department of Law did not find any legal problems with the measure. The proposal is sponsored by Republicans David Bronson of Anchorage, Camille Carlson of Fairbanks and Leona Oberts of Soldotna. “It’s real straightforward: We’re going to get our signatures and move forward from there,” Bronson said.

Pebble ripples
Craig Medred, April 4, 2019

A group of commercial fishermen from Bristol Bay have gone to court to challenge a decision by the Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association (BBRSDA) to spend about a quarter million dollars on efforts to block development of the proposed Pebble Mine. The six plaintiffs from three Iliamna Lake villages and Anchorage contend the BBRSDA, a quasi-state entity, is misusing state tax revenue. The organization was established to market Bristol Bay salmon, not lobby against mining, argues the suit filed in Anchorage Superior Court on Monday.

Our Take: Using tax money taken from fisherman to lobby the state instead of marketing Bristol Bay salmon?   Sounds fishy…

Related:

At Iliamna Lake hearings, residents speak out on Pebble Mine