Elwood Brehmer

Politicians, stakeholders want conditions for Juneau utility sale

Alaskans with addresses from North Pole to Washington, D.C., are objecting to the proposed sale of the Juneau electric utility by its current Washington state-based owners to a large Ontario utility.

The cause for the North American geography mini-lesson is what will happen if the Regulatory Commission of Alaska approves the sale including the 78-megawatt Snettisham hydroelectric facility that provides up to 75 percent of Juneau’s base load power supply.

Initiative sponsors turn in signatures as BBNC shifts to neutral

Advocates of strengthening Alaska’s salmon habitat protection took a big step forward when they dumped roughly 49,500 signatures on the front desk of the Division of Elections Anchorage office Jan. 16.

The signatures from Alaskans statewide were collected by Stand for Salmon, the nonprofit aimed at reforming anadromous fish habitat permitting requirements via the ballot initiative they’ve dubbed “Yes for Salmon.”

DNR issues default to Furie for failure to drill

Department of Natural Resources officials issued a notice of default to Furie Operating Alaska Dec. 26 for failing to make good on its drilling commitments in the Kitchen Lights Unit the company operates.

In a letter to the company’s Alaska leaders, DNR Commissioner Andy Mack recalled the drilling plans the company submitted to the agency since 2015 that went unmet.

“Operation of the KLU previously and up through the present reflects a history of committing to drilling activities, but then delaying or changing those work commitments,” Mack wrote.

Regulators hopeful well test can jumpstart Mustang oil project

Positive results from a well test have helped give a small independent oil company another shot at finally developing its North Slope prospect.

Anchorage-based Brooks Range Petroleum Corp. announced Jan. 8 that a late November flow test of the North Tarn 1-A at its Mustang oil project produced peak flows averaging 1,292 barrels per day with only small amounts of water.

The test confirms the company’s prior assumptions and Brooks Range expects the results will lead to accelerated development of the Mustang project, according to a press release.

Permit application reveals size of scaled-down Pebble project

The official Pebble mine plan released Jan. 5 by federal regulators describes a scaled-back project relative to prior concepts, but opponents contend it is a way for the company to get its foot in the door for future expansion.

Published by the Alaska District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the plan details a project that is much more than a mine. According to Pebble’s plan documents, its reach would stretch 187 miles from the mine site north of Iliamna Lake to the edge of the Sterling Highway on the southern Kenai Peninsula.

Draft lease plan would open most of Alaska OCS

The Interior Department’s latest offshore oil and gas leasing proposal released Thursday juxtaposes the plan put in place late in the Obama administration in almost every way.

For starters, it would put nearly all federal waters off Alaska up for sale.

Published by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, the draft 2019-2024 National Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program calls for 19 lease sales covering 11 of the 12 designated sale areas off the coast of Alaska.

Sullivan: Forces aligning for Alaska

Alaska is still in a tough spot, with high crime rates, the nation’s highest unemployment rate and an unsustainable state budget situation, but Sen. Dan Sullivan continues to preach “the gospel of optimism for the state. Optimism, optimism, optimism,” he said to lead off an hour-long interview with the Journal Dec. 29.

Sullivan’s positivity stems from what he believes has been an underplayed momentum for the state to go from economic struggles to successes.

Walker looks to Legislature to finally use Fund to fix budget gap

A paramount year is shaping up for Alaska.

The state is on the precipice of turning to the Permanent Fund for government revenue in addition to its previous sole outlays for dividend payments.

The fate of the Alaska LNG Project will likely be known by the year’s end.

Another battle is brewing between conservation and development interests, this time over salmon habitat protections.

And it’s an election year.

Gov. Bill Walker discussed a few of the year’s pressing topics in a Dec. 22 interview with the Journal.

New plays add 8.7B barrels to NPR-A oil estimate

And back the pendulum swings.

U.S. Geological Survey again officially believes it is likely the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska holds billions of barrels of recoverable oil, according to its updated resource assessment released Dec. 22.

Pebble finally files for permits

The Pebble Limited Partnership has long been criticized for many things, but as of Dec. 22 that list no longer includes failure to file for environmental permits.

Pebble and its Vancouver-based parent company Northern Dynasty Minerals filed for a Clean Water Act Section 404 wetlands fill permit with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Major Alaska resource projects face crucial year in 2018

The upcoming year will be a telling year for several of Alaska’s prospective development projects, starting with the biggest: the $40 billion-plus Alaska LNG Project.

State changes course, approves Pt. Thomson plan on “new information”

State Natural Resources officials approved ExxonMobil’s long-term plan of development to grow the Point Thomson gas field Friday after getting a letter from the companies Alaska leaders that caused the state to change course, according to the approval documents.

Anchorage utilities, mayor announce $1B consolidation deal

Anchorage’s mayor and electric utilities will ask the city’s voters to approve a $1 billion deal that would consolidate the two utilities and save ratepayers “hundreds of millions of dollars” over many years, according to utility officials.

Mayor Ethan Berkowitz and the leaders of Chugach Electric Association and Municipal Light and Power held a joint press briefing Thursday morning to announce their plan for Chugach to buy city-owned ML&P for roughly the $1 billion figure.

Pebble Partnership to finally file permit application

The Pebble Limited Partnership has long been criticized for many things, but as of Friday that list will no longer include failure to file for environmental permits.

Pebble and its Vancouver-based parent company Northern Dynasty Minerals announced Thursday their plans to file for a Clean Water Act Section 404 wetlands fill permit with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on Friday, Dec. 22.

Tax overhaul, ANWR heads to Trump’s desk

When President Donald Trump signs the federal tax overhaul into law the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge will be open to the oil industry.

Most Alaskans are happy about it, some aren’t. In the Lower 48 the public seems more split on the issue, if not slightly against it.

After 37 years of debate, what more is there to say?

YEAR IN REVIEW: Pebble promises permit application after hurdles fall

This was the first good year in a long time for Pebble Limited Partnership and its owner Northern Dynasty Minerals and equally as bad a year for those trying to stop the massive mining project.

YEAR IN REVIEW: Port project, King Cove, Alaska-Virgin merger

Anchorage municipal attorneys settled half of their tangled litigation over the long-failed Port of Anchorage expansion project but it was more of the same for port officials trying to drum up hundreds of millions of dollars for the scaled back but badly needed modernization plan.

YEAR IN REVIEW: Credit program scrapped; Slope discoveries expand

It took six months of debate but the Alaska Legislature ended the state’s refundable oil and gas tax credit program in July — something all sides agreed needed to happen from the get-go.

The lengthy debate mostly centered on the House Majority’s push to link a production tax overhaul and increase to the tax credit legislation.

Pebble prospect owners might have new investor

The owners of the Pebble project are one step closer to securing the investment partner that will be key to advancing the contentious mine, according to Dec. 18 announcements.

Vancouver-based Northern Dynasty Minerals Ltd. has inked what a company press release characterizes as a “framework agreement” with fellow Canadian mining company First Quantum Minerals Ltd.

Gov’s budget aimed at economic recovery

Gov. Bill Walker’s budget proposal released Dec. 15 focuses on paying down growing state obligations and bolstering Alaska’s economy, actions which administration officials say should in the long run help address the ongoing budget deficits.

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