Lawmakers want deeper analysis from Dunleavy’s budget team
Steve Quinn, KTVA, March 6, 2019
State lawmakers thought they were going to receive an economic impact analysis Wednesday on Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s proposed budget, which is designed to close a $1.6 billion spending gap. That didn’t happen, however. Members of the Senate and House Finance Committees each pushed back at Dunleavy’s budget team for what they believe was a presentation that came up short.
Our Take: In Senate Finance they only made it through 8 of 23 slides…more fun today at 9am.
State labor economist says state policies have affected recession length
Andrew Kitchenman, KTOO and Alaska Public Media, March 6, 2019
A state labor economist said the state government can control some of the factors that have caused the recession in Alaska to last more than three years. Dan Robinson, the research chief for the state’s Department of Labor and Workforce Development, told the Senate Finance Committee Wednesday that the uncertainty over the size of state government and how the state is going to pay for it are contributing to the recession. “If you’re a business, if you’re an individual, this unsolved problem has you sit on your wallet a little bit,” Robinson said.
LNG To Win Big In U.S.-China Trade Deal
Nick Cunningham, OilPrice.Com, March 6, 2019
The U.S. and China are closing in on a trade deal, and the result could be a lot more U.S. LNG heading east. Reports suggest that Trump is eager to ink a deal, whether or not the content of the agreement resolves all or even most of American grievances, because he fears that the lack of a deal would sink the stock market. At this point, he views that as a domestic political threat, with the 2020 presidential campaign starting up. On top of that, the collapse of talks with North Korea have made Trump a little hungry for a win. China, too, wants a resolution, although they didn’t want the trade war to begin with. In other words, the stars seem to be somewhat aligned in favor of a deal. But that doesn’t mean that the huge, sweeping “structural” issues dividing the two nations will be solved. Far from it. In fact, the rush to sign a trade agreement likely means that those issues will simply be pushed off. Nevertheless, a deal would signal the end of the trade war, taking one of the largest downside risks to commodity markets off of the table.
The Green New Deal’s Effects on Alaska – Part 2 – Transportation
Power the Future, March 6, 2019
Starting with page nine, line four, the GND would require “overhauling transportation systems in the United States to remove pollution and greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector as much as is technologically feasible, including through investment in (i) zero-emission vehicle infrastructure and manufacturing; (ii) clean, affordable and accessible public transit; and (iii) high-speed rail.”
Let’s think about how that statement fits into Alaska’s lifestyle for a second.
- Has more private pilot licenses per capita than any other state, and with nearly 500 airports and airstrips of record, has one of the busiest private aircraft usage per hour for private pilots in the nation.
- Has the #2 cargo airport in America (and #5 in the world) – the Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport – with nearly 500 wide-body cargo landings per week. The same airport also sees over 50,000 passenger landings and over 5.4 million passengers arrive at that single airport each year.
- Is connected to the rest of the US by a 1,390-mile long road from Dawson Creek, British Columbia, to Delta Junction, Alaska, via Whitehorse, Yukon, known as the Alaska Highway. Unlike the continental United States, with state and federal highway systems, the Alaska Highway is the only multi-lane, drivable way in and out of Alaska.
- Utilizes a series of eleven long-range and short-trip ferries to connect 35 coastal communities – most of which are inaccessible by road – over a span exceeding 3500 miles (approximately the length between New York City and London).
- Has over 65,000 registered snow machines, another 64,000 registered motorized boats, and over 20,000 motorized ATVs and track vehicles that are used for recreation, subsistence, personal use and commercial hunting and fishing, and getting to and from locations across the state.
Our Take: Headlamp doesn’t have to think, even for a second, about how this DOESN’T fit into Alaska’s lifestyle. The Senate is expected to vote on this in a few weeks. Headlamp predicts that vote will lead to the Green Dead Deal.
From the Washington Examiner’s Daily on Energy:
INTERIOR TO SOON RELEASE REVISED OFFSHORE DRILLING PLAN: Interior officials at the hearing promised the agency would soon release a revised version of its highly anticipated offshore oil and gas drilling plan.
Walter Cruickshank, acting director of Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, told lawmakers the revised plan would be released “in the coming weeks.”
What’s in the plan: Interior released its draft proposal in January 2018 to permit oil and gas drilling in nearly all federal waters, and lawmakers are eager to see whether Interior shrinks the plan after bipartisan complaints from coastal politicians about the possibility that it could increase spills or hurt tourism.
Under the Interior Department’s draft proposal, spanning 2019 to 2024, more than 90 percent of the total acres on the Outer Continental Shelf would be made available for leasing, including off the Atlantic and Pacific coasts, which has not been allowed for decades.
Cruickshank clarified the upcoming revised draft is not the final product. It will only be the second iteration of the plan, subject to another 90-day public comment period and further analysis, before the agency produces a final plan.
Uncommitted to changes: Cruickshank would not budge when asked by Democrats representing coastal districts in Florida and California if Interior would scale back the original plan, and exclude those state’s coasts, after overwhelming complaints against drilling in those places.
He said the message of opposition “was certainly received” but public comment would be one of several factors considered.