Press "Enter" to skip to content

Posts published in “Day: January 28, 2015”

A possible climate turning point

trahant MARK


Consider the massive storm that resulted in a state of emergency throughout much of New England with temperatures in the teens, gusty winds, and snow measured by the foot not the inch. We know from the science that climate change will make storms more severe and more common.

It’s also the moment when the Obama administration stepped up to preserve the environment — as well as protect Alaska Native communities — by limiting future oil and gas development in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and along the Coastal Plain.

A White House blog put it this way: “This far northern region is known as “The Sacred Place Where Life Begins” to Alaska Native communities. The Refuge sustains the most diverse array of wildlife in the entire Arctic — home not only to the Porcupine caribou, but to polar bears, gray wolves, and muskoxen. Bird species from the Coastal Plain migrate to all 50 states of the country — meaning that no matter where you live, the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is part of your landscape.”

But pretty much all of official Alaska saw this issue differently. On Capitol Hill, Alaska Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski said the administration has “effectively declared war on Alaska. That’s my view of it.”

“It’s a one-two-three kick to the gut of Alaska’s economy,” she said, adding that the governor told the Secretary of Interior that Alaska has a budget hole of about $3.5 billion — a problem that will be made worse without more oil production.

And this is an odd time for Alaska. The state budgeted for oil to be selling at more than a hundred dollars a barrel — and now the price is less than half that. This is a state that an oil and gas trade group brags that 92 percent of the state’s revenues come from that single industry.

So Alaska has had a grand old time with its oil money. Instead of a personal income tax, Alaskans receive their version of a tribal per capita every year. In fact Alaska ranks second lowest in the country in overall taxes (Wyoming is first) but that figure is skewed because nearly all of the money comes from corporate taxes. There is no income tax or sales tax.

Perhaps this serious budget shortage might actually force Alaska citizens to contribute to their state and pay taxes the way, oh, 49 other states and the District of Columbia do. (more…)

On the front pages


Here’s what public affairs news made the front page of newspapers in the Northwest today, excluding local crime, features and sports stories. (Newspaper names contracted with location)

Idaho's racing regulator a lobbyist in Wyoming (Boise Statesman)
Seattle enforces food compost rules (Boise Statesman)
Real ID hits Idaho drivers licenses for flying (Lewiston Tribune)
Hearing on 'add the words' goes into day two (TF Times News, Lewiston Tribune)
Dixie Drain dispute nears conclusion at Greenleaf (Nampa Press Tribune)
Community college presidents ask for more funding (Nampa Press Tribune, TF Times News)
Transportation officials reviewing 80 mpg (Pocatello Journal)

Hundreds of Eugene trees fall for transit line (Eugene Register Guard)
Klamath jail levy faces voters in May (Eugene Register Guard)
Klamath tribes discuss water deal (KF Herald & News)
Darigold milk plant closes at Medford (Medford Tribune)
More wolves settle in parts of Oregon (Medford Tribune)
Ranchers authority to shoot wolves grows (Portland Oregonian, Pendleton E Oregonian)
Pendleton may add new skating, dog parks (Pendleton E Oregonian)
Kitzhaber reviewing home pot limits (Portland Oregonian)
Google still reviewing Portland for high speed (Portland Oregonian)
Heavy fog leads to numerous wrecks (Salem Statesman Journal)

Many heroin deaths in Snohomish County (Everett Herald)
Jobs rise above previous peaks at Tri-Cities (Kennewick Herald)
Kennewick may build bridge at Ridgeline (Kennewick Herald)
Pressure grows for mega-quake off Pacific coast (Longview News)
Longview port working on propane export dock (Longview News)
Thurston's empty jail may be put to use (Olympian)
Hearing heldd in Inslee clean air plan (Olympian)
No more evian cases seen on Peninsula (Port Angeles News)
Clallam County may give $500k economic development (Port Angeles News)
Sea-Tac airport looks toward massive expansion (Seattle Times)
Spokane business development chief quits (Spokane Spokesman)
Liberty Lake end ban on pot businesses (Spokane Spokesman)
Tacoma mandates 3 days sick leave for businesses (Tacoma News Tribune)
Pierce Co building in south Tacoma pricing high (Tacoma News Tribune)
Clark GOP censure of Herrera Beutler could help her (Vancouer Columbian)
Senate Republicans call for end to Bertha (Vancouver Columbian, Yakima Herald Republic)