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JUNEAU -- The Legislature and the Parnell administration say they won’t play favorites in bestowing subsidies on two in-state Alaska refining companies. The problem with this thinking is that the two companies in line for financial aid -- Petro Star and Tesoro -- are hardly in the same circumstances.

A bill up for a final legislative action this weekend would provide tax credits or cash payments of up to $10 million a year in exchange for an investment of $25 million a year at each refinery.

The subsidy is structured on a per-refinery basis, not a per-company basis, so Petro Star could quality for up to $20 million if it spent $50 million on its two facilities in a year...

Dermot Cole

Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. These simple words, found in the Declaration of Independence, helped forge the ideals embedded in the United States Constitution -- a constitution that is the envy of the free world. Why? Because it stands as the finest example of humanity's commitment to freedom and equality.

To be truly free and equal we must, as our founders described, be free to pursue our own vision of happiness. In the spirit of these ideals, this session I introduced Senate Joint Resolution 30. SJR 30 seeks to remove a provision of the Alaska Constitution that prevents a large number of Alaskans from pursuing their own happiness. After all, what is more central to happiness than love and family?...

Hollis French

Alaska is in a financial crisis and we are burning through our cash reserves at the rate of $7 million per day. That's over $2 billion a year.

We face a multibillion deficit, yet state spending is out of control. Resources are being wasted while funding for education, infrastructure and critical services is threatened.

Legislation is being steamrolled. Education bills are bypassing the Education Committee. A bill to change state law to allow out-of-state residents to be appointed to the gas line board was initially appended to a domestic violence/sexual assault bill to assure passage. The appointment of a Houston-based former ExxonMobil executive has since been confirmed by the Legislature...

Bill Walker

Gov. Sean Parnell’s 2014 budget puts the Community Revenue Sharing program on the block for a $10 million cut; not quite as the bad old days of the Murkowski era, but too close for comfort.

Obviously Gov. Parnell, like Gov. Murkowski, does not grasp the importance of this program for rural communities...

Tara Jollie

The most amazing thing about this week’s first episode of “Amazing America with Sarah Palin”? Sarah Palin’s amazing hair. Our Sarah’s hair has been sort of hit-or-miss over the years, but this bouffant is a home run. If anyone knows about a YouTube tutorial for this hairstyle, hit me up with a link. You know what they say: The higher the hair, the closer to God.

Onward, then, to the first outing of the week, and to Brewster, Mass., where we meet a new field host, Benny Spies, and a new guest, Barry Clifford, whom Sarah describes as “an ocean explorer who uses his American spirit to take on the hard work of unearthing and preserving actual pirates’ treasure.” Which gives her a chance to make this amazing pirate joke:

“Arrr ya ready for adventure?”


Maia Nolan-Partnow

Alaska is about to set out on a path toward a bad deal for a natural gas pipeline. We are being lulled into thinking decisions made today do not matter because there will be plenty of opportunities for the Legislature and public to weigh in later. In fact, many major decisions will be approved by an unelected board and not be subject to legislative approval or public review. The rest will be made piecemeal so that the public and Legislature do not see the cumulative impact of the decisions being made. And much of the information that goes into decision making will be kept confidential, available only to legislators who sign confidentiality agreements...

Lisa Weissler

Republican in Name Only? A RINO? No, in my opinion he's a DEMOCRAT running for state House on a Republican ticket. He approached me at our district convention portraying himself as a conservative. He visits churches in our district and takes the same approach with them. The problem with that? He and his wife contributed (often the max) to democrats Mark Begich, Ethan Berkowitz, Tony Knowles, and yes, Barack Obama. And they contributed to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee too.

Look for yourself. At the Federal Election Commission's web portal , enter the last name Colver and first name Jim to see his contributions, and then enter the last name Colver and the first name Marie to see his wife's...

Carol Carman

JUNEAU -- As the Legislature moves toward approval of a complex gas pipeline bill, no one can answer two big questions: Will a pipeline be built? And if so, how much cash will the state collect?

They can't be answered because it is impossible to say right now how much natural gas will sell for in Asia over the long run or how much a pipeline across Alaska would cost. Much more work on engineering, financing and marketing remains before we'll know if a pipeline will become a reality.

Consultants appearing before the Legislature have said as much, but the urge to attach a specific revenue prediction -- without acknowledging that it may be way off -- remains a powerful one.

It happened again on Tuesday during a presentation before the House Finance Committee...

Dermot Cole

Last week, House Bill 77 was declared dead in the Senate, for the 2014 legislative session. The bill would have limited the ability of Alaska Native tribes and citizens to protect land and water resources in the face of a new natural resource permitting process for the Department of Natural Resources...

Hal Shepherd

Editor's note: This article was written for publication by a federal agency whose goal is to transparently coordinate permitting and construction of a pipeline that delivers Alaska's natural gas to the Lower 48.

GOYANG, South Korea -- Anxiety is rising in the liquefied natural gas business over the slow rollout of North American LNG export projects. Anxiety about supply. Anxiety about pricing.

The worry was simmering at the big Gastech Conference & Exhibition held March 24-27 in Goyang, South Korea, as LNG buyers and sellers fretted that the world's constrained supply could last beyond the next few years...

Bill White