Editorials

AJOC EDITORIAL: Unserious country deserves unserious candidates

With recently-turned-Republican Donald Trump and still-not-a-Democrat Socialist Bernie Sanders leading the latest primary polls from New Hampshire, America is not only getting what it wants, but what it deserves.

AJOC EDITORIAL: Greenpeace has earned a contempt citation

With Greenpeace USA engaged in yet another attempt to thwart Shell’s Arctic exploration efforts, it is time for a federal judge to hold it accountable for continued and brazen violations of the injunction she issued May 8 ordering the group to stay away from the company’s vessels.

On July 29, a group of 13 activists dangled themselves from a bridge in Portland, Ore., in a declared attempt to stop the 380-foot ice handling vessel Fennica from leaving port after repairs are complete on the hull damage suffered on an uncharted shoal while leaving Dutch Harbor July 3.

AJOC EDITORIAL: Walker pulls rug from under explorers

Oh, the vagaries of print journalism.

Our original cover story for this Oil & Gas Reporter was a profile of Corri Feige, the new director of the state Oil and Gas Division, and her effort to put the welcome mat out for new explorers coming to Alaska.

After Gov. Bill Walker’s announcement June 30 that he was vetoing $200 million in tax credits for explorers with no tax liability, that headline quickly became obsolete.

EDITORIAL: To fight rising prison costs, Alaska must reform system

It’s time for Alaskans to take a hard look at the state’s prison system and who inhabits it.

Next fiscal year, the state of Alaska will spend $326 million on the Alaska Department of Corrections. According to figures from the department, there were 5,267 Alaskans in prison on July 1, 2014, the first day of the current fiscal year. The exact number of Alaskans in prison will fluctuate from day to day as prisoners are released and admitted, but do the math, and it works out to nearly $62,000 per inmate bed per year.

EDITORIAL: Atrophy of armed forces should be issue in next election

During the third presidential debate in 2012, Mitt Romney attacked the Obama administration for advocating cuts to the military when some aspects of the U.S. armed forces are out of date or undermanned.

“Our Navy is smaller now than at any time since 1917,” said Romney. “The Navy said they needed 313 ships to carry out their mission. We’re now at 285.”

EDITORIAL: Now is time to start on next year's budget

It took 140 days, but Alaska will have a budget for the year ahead. In a long-delayed compromise that provided the votes for a draw on the state’s Constitutional Budget Reserve, the Legislature passed an operating budget totaling roughly $5.4 billion, a cut of $800 million from last year.

While there’s still a long way to go, the Legislature made progress in slimming the state’s budget this year, and it’s good that the majority and minority caucuses were able to compromise and avoid a government shutdown.

AJOC EDITORIAL: Restoring Alaska-hire is nothing to brag about

Accompanied by a strange amount of back-patting and revisionist history, Gov. Bill Walker issued a press release June 10 announcing the restoration of Alaska-hire requirements for state-funded construction projects.

In an op-ed his office circulated June 11, Walker wrote that he was “proud” to restore the requirement that 90 percent of the jobs on state-funded infrastructure projects go to Alaska residents first.

EDITORIAL: Citizens, Congress wake up on gov't encroachment

The revised eavesdropping program that the U.S. Senate finally passed on June 2 and sent to the president doesn’t go as far as some civil-liberties advocates wanted, but it’s the first time that Congress has placed limits on the government’s ability to spy on Americans after 9/11.

That alone should bring a measure of satisfaction to Americans who fear that the national-security apparatus of the government in Washington has gone too far in the direction of snooping, at the expense of the legitimate privacy rights of U.S. citizens.

AJOC EDITORIAL: Dunleavy, accomplices are a disgrace on Erin's Law

Dysfunction has defined the 2015 Legislative session that will not die, and yet somehow a Wasilla senator — aided by his Republican colleagues from the Valley and Anchorage — managed to find a new low with his disgraceful attempt to gut the sexual abuse and assault education bill known as Erin’s Law.

EDITORIAL: Washington state: Focus on your own plate

​Having solved virtually every issue in their home jurisdictions, the Seattle City Council and Washington Gov. Jay Inslee are looking north to Alaska.

They’ve written formal letters asking U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell to revoke federal oil and gas leases with Royal Dutch Shell in the Arctic outer continental shelf (Seattle City Council), and to avoid issuing any further leases in that area off Alaska (Gov. Inslee). The leases are undesirable because they will, in the Washingtonians’ view, contribute to global climate change.

AJOC EDITORIAL: A hot mess in Juneau

There is an internet meme dedicated to major fails captioned by a simple declaration: “You had one job.”

A more fitting summation of this legislative session is difficult to think of as dysfunction has devolved into farce. The House and Senate adjourned April 27 after passing a papered-over budget that doesn’t fully fund the next fiscal year only to be immediately called back into a special session by Gov. Bill Walker the following day.

AJOC EDITORIAL: What has Walker been waiting for?

As this column goes to press, it has been 129 days since Gov. Bill Walker was sworn in to office.

It has been 92 days since Walker fired three members of the Alaska Gasline Development Corp. board of directors and ordered two newly-appointed state commissioners not to sign confidentiality agreements related to the Alaska LNG Project.

EDITORIAL: Obama tries another end-run on Congress with Iran deal

Because the facts of this matter are so astounding, let’s make sure we have this straight.

President Barack Obama is attempting to deny Congress a voice on a possible deal being negotiated with Iran that has huge national security implications.

At the same time, the media is reporting Obama may submit such a deal to the United Nations Security Council for approval. The implications of this are simply staggering.

EDITORIAL: GOP gang must show it can shoot straight on budget

The Republican Congress is starting to debate its budget outline for fiscal 2016, and it’s not too soon to call it a test of whether this gang can shoot straight. The budget sets a broad policy direction that ought to unify Republicans, if they can overcome their parochial passions.

On March 17, new House Budget Chairman Tom Price rolled out his fiscal blueprint for the coming year, and in the tradition of previous chairman Paul Ryan (now heading Ways and Means) the document continues to develop the most important reform plan in a generation.

AJOC EDITORIAL: Don Obama shakes down ConocoPhillips

Nice little oil project you’ve got there, Conoco. Be a shame if anything were to happen to it.

The $8 million exacted from ConocoPhillips in order to receive its permit to construct the Greater Moose’s Tooth-1 project in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska is a rather elegant combination of old school protection rackets and third world government kickbacks.

EDITORIAL: Playing a budgetary shell game with student loan debt

Liberals make it seem as if federal student loans don’t cost taxpayers a penny. Some, notably Elizabeth Warren, are aghast that the government is profiting handsomely from lending to students. No need to worry, Senator.

Buried in the White House budget is a $21.8 billion writedown on the government’s student loan portfolio that no one seems to want to mention — perhaps because taxpayers can expect more red ink to come.

EDITORIAL: 'No-drama Obama' needs to recognize radical Islamist threat

As if to prove that there truly is no limit to their brutality, the terrorists of the Islamic State have reached a new low by burning alive the Jordanian pilot captured last December when his plane crashed over Syria.

EDITORIAL: Pentex purchase raises questions, signals commitment

While the state’s planned purchase of Fairbanks Natural Gas parent company Pentex may play a large part in the solution for natural gas delivery to Fairbanks, for the moment it mostly raises questions. The purchase would reduce the number of items local and state officials have to put into place, potentially including a gas liquefaction facility. But it also creates other wrinkles that must be dealt with before the end goal of affordable energy is achieved.

AJOC EDITORIAL: Board needed a shakeup, but aftershocks are coming

Alaska had a record number of earthquakes in 2014, but this year could set a new one if Gov. Bill Walker keeps it up.

After openly picking a fight with the Legislature and the supporters of the Alaska Stand Alone Pipeline project by dismissing three Alaska Gasline Development Corp. board members, Walker has stepped on another fault line: Cook Inlet fisheries.

AJOC EDITORIAL: Time for governing, not grandstanding

The state may technically own 25 percent of the Alaska LNG Project, but Gov. Bill Walker now owns all of it.

With his decision to fire three Alaska Gasline Development Corp. board members and his instruction to new cabinet members on the board to not sign confidentiality agreements regarding the Alaska LNG Project, Walker has injected an unnecessary level of uncertainty into the most critical endeavor impacting the state’s future.

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