Monthly Archives: July 2013

Alaska Fiscal Policy| Reading the footnotes …

Northern Economics Shell Oil 2013 (p. 9, 7.26.2013)While doing some research this past week for an upcoming piece in the Alaska Business Monthly (ABM) I ran across a telling footnote.  The upcoming piece is about the potential effect of Alaska OCS development on state finances; it will appear in the September edition of the ABM.

The footnote is from a February 2011 joint study prepared for Shell Oil Company by Anchorage-based Northern Economics and the University of Alaska-Anchorage’s Institute of Social and Economic Research (ISER).  Somewhat misleadingly, the study is entitled “Potential National-Level Benefits of Alaska OCS Development.”  The title is somewhat misleading because the 2011 study also updates a review of the state-level benefits reflected in an earlier, 2009 study for the same client by the same groups. Continue reading

NEPA Notes: The Public in Public Participation

By Deborah Cranswick

Alaska OCS Development 7.18.2013)(With this column we begin a periodic series of notes on issues affecting the Alaska oil and gas industry arising under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).  Recently retired from the federal government following a 33 year career, the author was directly involved in the application of NEPA to oil and gas exploration, development and production decisions within the Pacific, Gulf of Mexico and Alaska regions of the Bureau of Ocean Management and its predecessor agency.)

The National Environmental Policy Act or NEPA requires federal agencies to provide opportunities for public input in the environmental analysis and decisions processes.  State and local governments, industry and businesses, environmental and advocacy groups, and federally recognized tribes are stakeholders that participate in the NEPA process.  But more fundamentally, the public is you.  How can you as an individual participate effectively? Continue reading

Alaska LNG| An Update for the Mat-Su Borough Port Commission

Alaska LNG Projects (final 7.15.2013)_Page_01At their invitation, yesterday I provided a status report on Alaska LNG Projects to the Mat-Su Borough Port Commission. Understandably, the Commission is interested in the potential use of Port MacKenzie as a terminus for such a project.

The purpose of the presentation was to provide a broad background of all three Alaska projects for the Commission’s discussions, and at the request of Commissioner Paul DuClos to provide a “reality check” on where the projects likely are headed.  Andrew Wellner of the Mat-Su Frontiersman caught my summation well in his story on the meeting: Continue reading

Comment: Rep. Gara’s myopic view

(Reprinted from the Juneau Empire, July 7, 2013)


In a recent My Turn piece (“Answers to questions about the oil tax cut,” June 27, 2013), Rep. Les Gara argues that supporters of SB 21 are “spinning” facts. In fact, Rep. Gara is the one who has gone into full “spin” mode.

The real test of whether a change in tax policy is good or bad is its overall, long term revenue impact, not what it generates in a select number of years. By focusing only on the revenue levels estimated to be produced in the first few years, Rep. Gara argues that SB 21 is failed tax policy, when the full set of facts demonstrates otherwise. Continue reading

Alaska Oil Policy| Missing the Point (from the July 2013 Alaska Business Monthly)

Alaska Business Monthly (July 2013)As noted on these pages previously, I write what began as a bi-monthly, and now is shifting to a monthly, column on oil, gas and fiscal policy issues for the Alaska Business Monthly.  This is the seventh column, originally published in the July 2013 print edition and available online here.

At the time this piece publishes, those seeking signatures on petitions to hold a referendum to overturn SB21, the governor’s oil tax reform bill, will be in the final days of their effort. If they succeed, a long campaign of more than a year will follow on the issue, with a vote scheduled for the August 2014 primary ballot. Continue reading