Alaska News Roundup for July 20

  • This week on Capital Hill, think more mad rush than leisurely stroll to the finish line before the August break. The Hill thinks that infrastructure (i.e. highway funding) will be the dominant issue of the week.
  • With hardhat in hand (and on head), the ever-elegant Sen. Lisa Murkowski (seriously, who else can rock floral while being surrounded by crude oil?) toured the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) in Louisiana on Friday. World Oil explains that this is one of only four sites in the US where petroleum is stockpiled for emergencies.



  • In sad trombone news, while the national jobless rate dropped from May’s 5.5% to June’s 5.3%, whereas Alaska saw a slight increase of 0.1% to 6.8%. The Fairbanks News Miner discovered that the Bristol Bay Borough has the lowest unemployment rate in the state at 3.7%!

  • A report by the Regulatory Commission of Alaska has sent shockwaves through Railbelt utilities with recommendations on how to improve its current “fragmented” and “Balkanized” system. The upgrades come with a hefty price tag of $900 million with the majority being used to improve the Alaska Energy Authority, per the Peninsula Clarion.
  • Seward is on their way to start dredging 206,000 cubic yards of material from the SMIC harbor to be dumped into Resurrection Bay to go toward the creation of a breakwater and an armored shore. The Seward City News explains that this is but one part of a larger plan to address the SMIC comprised mitigation site.


    Shown in blue outline, 59 acres north of SMIC, of which 10 acres at the north end will comprise mitigation site. Image Credit of Seward CDD

  • The Dispatch has the beginnings of a backlash over the three megaprojects that are “limping” forward despite other programs and projects getting axed.
  • The Christian Science Monitor examines the realistic ripple effects of the Iran nuclear accord on the global crude market and how Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s export ban lift would fit into the equation.
  • APRN shared the news that Shell’s Arctic drill rigs have left Dutch Harbor and are on its way to the Chukchi Sea.
  • Support for cannabis legalization is growing across the US and is now at a 52% record high and the Washington Post reveals which states are most likely to join Alaska’s ranks in decriminalizing the substance. Pot Luv


  • Time to wave that techno geek freak flag because the Fairbanks News Miner goes deep into explaining the Fairbanks North Star Borough’s investment in new technology that serves as the brain for the municipality.
  • The Hill lists the newest round of base closings across the US with Alaska’s Elmendorf-Richardson receiving the biggest brunt of reductions at 59%. Ouchie.
  • Special Assistant on Arctic Policy Craig Fleener and Executive Director of the Institute of the North Nils Andreassen explain what the Alaska Arctic Council Host Committee’s responsibilities are, how their work will impact Alaskans’ lives and how to get involved in a Dispatch op-ed.
  • A successful petition led by former City and Borough of Juneau Assemblyman Marc Wheeler saw the Mississippi state flag being removed from the Egan Drive and replaced with an older version that flew across the Magnolia State between 1861-1894.

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