AM Alaska News Roundup for Feb. 11

  • Interior Secretary Sally Jewell announced that Chukchi Sea’s Hanna Shoal is now off-limits for oil drilling in part to protect the Pacific walrus, per the New York Times.
  • It was a speedo that sank the appointment of Jeff Landfield for the board that oversees judicial ethics. This Dispatch has the details, but the “incriminating evidence” has been circulating.Screen Shot 2015-02-11 at 10.02.02 AM Screen Shot 2015-02-11 at 10.01.50 AM


  • In a cleaver Tom Sawyer move; state economists described reviewing the Indirect Expenditures as an expedition in yesterday’s House Finance committee hearing. It was enough to get Matt Buxton with the Fairbanks News Miner (and possibly a few legislators) envious of their jobs.

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  • Shell Exploration & Production Company have signaled the beginning of oil drilling season with their public application for two drilling rig moorings near Dutch Harbor.
  • The Peninsula Clarion was on hand during the Kenai City Council’s recent meeting where the prospect of launching a virtual city council was discussed. How cool is that?
  • The Juneau Empire if following the development of a State Supreme Court Case involving Tier 1 state retirement benefits.
  • The federal Department of Energy (DOE) is planning to update its 20-year-old residential gas furnace efficiency rates to be at 92% fuel utilization, according to The Hill. What this means for Fairbanks and their ongoing struggle with air quality requirements vs. expense is unknown.

  • Sen. Dan Sullivan’s Svengali/old campaign manager, Ben Sparks, is being asked to work his magic on Sen. Kelly Ayotte’s (R-NH) reelection race, per the New Hampshire Journal. It looks like the beginnings of another tight race for Sparks with The Journal’s December polling showing Ayotte leading by just 48% to a potential challenge by NH’s popular Gov. Maggie Hassan (D) with 42.5%.
  • ABC News explains the hard lessons Colorado has learned over taxing cannabis. It turns out its not all giggles to the bank.
  • The Dispatch examines the potential hurdles the state would face if it were to open a banking system to handle all that soon-to-be freshly legalized revenue from commercial marijuana sales.
  • The New York Times gives a state-by-state analysis of how Medicaid expansion is being handled and gives Alaska brownie points for Gov. Bill Walker’s efforts on this issue.
  • APRN explains the subsidies and exemptions that legislators are examining with budget cutting in mind.
  • Nathaniel Herz with the Dispatch reports that the latest in Gov. Bill Walker’s budget cuts will be the department staff whose jobs are to challenge federal government plans and initiatives.
  • Pres. Obama wants to go to war with ISIL and is asking Congress for a three-year authorization. Politico and The Hill have surprisingly similar takes on this recent development.
  • The Peninsula Clarion takes us on the wild ride of constant fluctuating crude oil prices and the ripple affects it has on our economy.
  • The Juneau Empire reports that The Road is chugging along with its army of supporters.
  • High Country News (sorry, not that type of news outlet) has a story about how Canada’s resource extraction is having a negative environmental impact on Alaska’s coastal tribes.
  • Devin Kelly with the Dispatch covered Ethan Berkowitz’s Spenard Roadhouse presser where he announced his candidacy for the Anchorage mayoral race. Berkowitz also launched his new Twitter account.
  • The Iditarod is officially starting in Fairbanks, per the Fairbanks News Miner. This is the second time in 42 years this has happened. The first being in 2003.
  • There are 21,793 federal employees and retirees living in Alaska. The Eye on Washington has an interactive map (!) that breaks down the numbers by agency with the biggest group for our state being retirees. The Washington Post explains what this means on a nationwide level and why state legislators (cough-cough) should pay attention to these numbers.
  • Sen. Lisa Murkowski was awarded the Legislator of the Year by the Safari Club International and posted this picture with fellow Alaskans Eddie Grasser and Don Detwiler on Instagram.

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