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January 31, 2021

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Ketchikan: Community Virus Spread in Ketchikan Raises Risk Level; Bars Identified As Exposure Sites By MARY KAUFFMAN - In the past week, the Ketchikan Emergency Operations Center (EOC) has seen an increase in the number of cases of COVID-19 in Ketchikan. According to the EOC, four of those ten cases were determined to be community transmission – or community spread. This means that at least four individuals have contracted the virus from an unknown source. This also means there is a greater risk of additional positive cases of COVID-19 that have not yet been identified. 

Thursday, with the increase in COVID-19 positive cases, the community risk level was raised from LOW to MODERATE. The community risk level was reduced to LEVEL 1 - LOW on January 20th and by January 28th was raised to LEVEL 2 - MODERATE due to the recent increase in positive cases. (Current Risk Level)

Six of the ten recent positive cases as of Friday have identified being at one or more of the following businesses on one or more days between January 20 through January 28:

  • Arctic Bar
  • Asylum Bar
  • 49er Bar and Liquor Store
  • Moose Lodge #224
  • Totem Bar 

If you visited any of these establishments during the period of January 20 – January 28, Ketchikan Public Health and the EOC STRONGLY recommend that you do the following:

1. Self-quarantine for a period of 14 days since your last visit to the business.

2. If you are asymptomatic, you can reduce the quarantine period in item 1 by:

  • Getting tested for COVID-19 on day 6 or 7 after your last visit to the business, and self-quarantine until you receive a negative result. 
  • If you receive a negative result and continue to be asymptomatic you can resume normal activities on day 8.
  • If your result is positive, continue to isolate and follow the advice of Public Health. 

3. If at any time you become symptomatic you should seek testing for COVID-19 immediately:

  • If you receive a negative result continue to quarantine for at least 14 days and until you are fever free for 72 hours without the use of medication.
  • If you receive a positive test continue to isolate and follow advice of Public Health

4. If you need guidance or have questions about self-quarantine, isolation, or when to test; call Public Health at 225-4350.

As of Thursday, Ketchikan positive cases brings the total cumulative Covid-19 case count, including travelers, to 309. The number of positive cases of individuals residing or staying in Ketchikan is 292. Of the 292 cases, there are 13 active, 1 death, and 278 recovered.

To accommodate the expected need for testing, the Berth 3 Drive-Up Testing Clinic will be available for free testing, including Sunday and Monday, for anyone who believes they may be a close contact to a known positive, or who visited one of the businesses listed above. The hours of the Berth 3 Drive-Up Clinic are: 

  • 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. AND
  • 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. 

In light of these recent events, and the anticipated need for testing, the Berth 3 Drive-Up Testing Clinic will be available for free testing, including this Sunday and Monday, for anyone who believes they may be a close contact to a known positive, or who visited one of the businesses listed above. - More...
Sunday PM - January 31, 2021

Fish Factor Good News for Pacific Halibut Harvesters By LAINE WELCH - Pacific halibut harvesters got some rare good news last week: increased catches in 2021 along with a longer fishing season.

At its annual meeting that ended on January 25, the International Pacific Halibut Commission boosted the coastwide removals for 2021to 39 million pounds, a 6.53% increase over last year. It includes halibut taken in commercial, sport, subsistence, research, personal use and as bycatch for fisheries of the West Coast, British Columbia and Alaska. A total of 278 individual Pacific halibut stakeholders attended the meeting via an electronic platform.'For commercial fishermen, the halibut catch limit of 25.7 million pounds compares to a take of 23.1 million pounds in 2020.

Alaska gets the largest chunk of the Pacific harvest at 19.6 million pounds, compared to just over 17 million pounds last year.

All Alaska regions but one, the Bering Sea, will see increased catches. Here is the breakdown in millions of pounds provided by Alaska Boats and Permits in Homer with percentages of change from 2020:

Southeast (Area 2C)--3.53m (+3.52); Central Gulf (3A)—8.95m (+26.95); Western Gulf (3B)—2.56m (+6.22); Aleutian Islands (4A)—1.66m (+17.73); Aleutian Islands (4B)—1.23m (+11.82); Bering Sea (4CDE)—1.67m (-3.47).

A total of 6.29 million pounds is allowed to be taken as “discard mortality” from all regions combined.

The halibut fishery also was extended by one month and will run from March 6 to December 7.

Kodiak launches first oyster crop:

A Kodiak entrepreneur is introducing his first batch of oysters in time for Super Bowl slurping. Erik O’Brien who grew up in Kodiak and has fished his family salmon setnet sites his whole life at Larsen Bay has proven it’s a pearl of a place that is perfect for oyster-growing. His oyster farm is the fruition of a plan he put in place nearly a decade ago.

“Larsen Bay might have some of the best growing waters we've seen in Alaska,” he said. “It is a relatively large body of water with an extremely narrow opening, so it's very protected in a fjord. It warms up and it's got our big Kodiak tides, so there's a lot of tidal flow. And it faces Southwest Alaska, which is a whole bunch of wind with a lot of energy and stirring up of nutrients. That really seems to promote the growth.” - More...
Sunday - January 31, 2021

2021 Sam Pitcher Memorial Scholarship Recipients

2021 Sam Pitcher Memorial Scholarship Recipients
Left is Myleigh Sambrano on the right is Elaina Etten.
Photo by Jamie Karlson

Ketchikan: 2021 Sam Pitcher Memorial Scholarship Recipients - The Sam Pitcher Memorial Scholarship Fund earlier this month announced the two Ketchikan students selected to receive 2021 Sam Pitcher Music Scholarships. The students are 7th grader Elaina Etten and 8th grader Myleigh Sambrano. They each will receive $700 to attend Sitka Fine Arts Camp.

Elaina Etten is a vocalist who also plays the ukulele. In addition to singing in the school choir, she has performed at The Monthly Grind and with First City Players in Jazz Cabaret. Elaina has always loved to sing and is also interested in writing music. She looks forward to getting additional professional advice, and more practice at SFAC. Elaina hopes to sing professionally some day. She is the daughter of Jennifer and Rusty Etten.

Myleigh Sambrano has played the clarinet for 4 years and recently started playing the tenor saxophone with the school bands. She is also teaching herself to play guitar. Myleigh hopes to broaden her knowledge of music at SFAC in order to become the best musician she can be, and also to share her love of music with others. She is the daughter of Aubree and David Kline, and Jose Sambrano. - More...
Sunday - January 31, 2021

Alaska: Bills to Help Locate Missing Alaskans, State Income Tax, Early Retirement, Permanent AST Filed - Numberous bills have been filed for consideration by the Alaska's 32nd Legislature 2021-2022.

Friday, Senator Click Bishop (R-Fairbanks), introduced legislation to help locate missing persons in Alaska.   

Senate Bill 63 would allow a court to grant a family member or friend – on a temporary and limited basis only – access to view bank and phone records if they have reason to believe a loved one has gone missing.

“Successfully finding a missing person requires quick action,” said Sen. Bishop. “This bill will give the friends and family of a missing person the tools to begin searching immediately and share the information with law enforcement, as necessary. I want to thank the Tanana Chiefs Conference, which brought this proposal forward and asked for my help. I immediately agreed because I am very alarmed by the high number of people who have gone missing, especially in the Fairbanks area. I will continue to do everything in my power to help.” - More...
Sunday - January 31, 2021



Alaska: Governor Dunleavy Names Treg Taylor Attorney General Posted & Edited By MARY KAUFFMAN - Governor Mike Dunleavy announced Friday he has appointed Treg Taylor as Attorney General for the Alaska Department of Law and will submit his name for confirmation to the Alaska Legislature this session. Ed Sniffen has removed himself for consideration as Attorney General and will be leaving state service. Sniffen served as acting Alaska Attorney General from August 25, 2020 to January 30, 2021. Sniffen had assumed office after the resignation of his predecessor, Kevin Clarkson, amid allegations of inappropriate texting with a coworker.

“Alaska is facing some unprecedented challenges and some remarkable opportunities. Treg Taylor brings to the office of Attorney General a wealth of legal experience and a deep commitment to Alaska that will be invaluable to navigating these challenges and opportunities,” said Governor Dunleavy. “I also want to thank Ed Sniffen for his decades of service to the department and the people of Alaska. I wish him well in his future endeavors.”

Taylor started with the Alaska Department of Law in 2018, serving as Deputy Attorney General in charge of the civil division. He holds a bachelor’s degree in political science and a law degree from Brigham Young University. He and his wife Jodi and five of their six children live in Anchorage.  - More..
Sunday - January 31, 2021

Alaska: First case of variant SARS-CoV-2 strain detected in Alaska - The Alaska Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) announced last week that an Anchorage resident who tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 infection last month was infected with a variant strain of the virus known as B.1.1.7, which was originally detected in September in the United Kingdom. This is the first identification in Alaska of the B.1.1.7 strain, or any of the variant strains that are raising concerns among public health officials. 

“Viruses constantly change through mutation so it’s not unexpected to find variants of the virus,” said State Epidemiologist Dr. Joe McLaughlin. “However, B.1.1.7 is one of several SARS-CoV-2 variants that has been carefully tracked because it appears to spread more easily and quickly than other strains of the virus.”

As of Jan. 31st, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) counted 467 cases of B.1.1.7 in 32 states, according to a CDC website that keeps track of COVID-19 variant cases in the United States.  

“We’re not surprised this variant has been detected in Alaska,” said Alaska’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Anne Zink. “We’ve been sequencing the viral genome from a subset of positive test samples to detect the presence of variants as quickly as possible.” 

Alaska’s Public Health Laboratories have been sequencing the SARS-CoV-2 viral genome from positive cases around the state since March 2020 to monitor circulating strains in Alaska. When significant variants began to be detected globally this past fall, the state labs directed those sequencing efforts to look for the presence of these variants in Alaska. To date, roughly 4-5% of all positive COVID-19 cases have been sequenced. This is four times higher than the national average for COVID-19 sequencing and on par with efforts in the United Kingdom. - More...
Sunday - January 31, 2021

Salazar joins Rasmuson Foundation board
Ketchikan: Salazar joins Rasmuson Foundation board - A lifelong Alaskan and community leader from Ketchikan is joining the Rasmuson Foundation board of directors.

Angela Salazar, a member of the Ketchikan Gateway Borough Grant Committee and co-owner of Harbor Point business park, joins the board this month for a three-year term. She replaces Kris Norosz of Petersburg, who has term-limited off after serving since 2015.

Salazar grew up raising money for community activities and nonprofits and never stopped. She has held board positions with the PeaceHealth Ketchikan Medical Center Foundation, Greater Ketchikan Chamber of Commerce and Ketchikan-Kanayama Sister City Exchange, and she was a member of First City Rotary. In addition to her role on the borough Grant Committee, she leads the live auction for the hospital foundation’s annual Sole-Stice Event and supports the fundraising efforts of her children’s activities.

Salazar graduated from Western Washington University with a Bachelor of Arts in business administration. Six days after graduation, she returned to Ketchikan and went to work for a local investment and insurance agency. Within five years, she owned the business, then sold it in 2010. Today, Angela co-owns a small business park in Ketchikan and supports her husband with his tourism and air taxi businesses. Salazar was recognized in 2006 by the Alaska Journal of Commerce with a Top Forty Under 40 award and is a recipient of the Alaska Chamber of Commerce’s Bill Biven award which “pays tribute to Alaskan, independently owned businesses that demonstrate community involvement, leadership in their field, business, ethics and organizational excellence.” - More..
Sunday - January 31, 2021

Archaeologists Identify Famed Fort Where Indigenous Tlingits Fought Russian Forces

Archaeologists Identify Famed Fort Where Indigenous Tlingits Fought Russian Forces
The Russian warship Neva arrives in Alaska led by Alexander Baranov 
(Drawn by Capt Lisiansky, engraved by I. Clark,via Wikicommons)


Southeast Alaska: Archaeologists Identify Famed Fort Where Indigenous Tlingits Fought Russian Forces By MEGAN GANNON - For thousands of years, the Tlingit people made their home in the islands of Southeast Alaska among other indigenous peoples, including the Haida, but at the turn of the 19th century, they came into contact with a group that would threaten their relationship with the land: Russian traders seeking to establish a footprint on the North American continent.

The colonists had been expanding into Alaska for decades, first exploiting Aleut peoples as they chased access to sea otters and fur seals that would turn profits in the lucrative fur trade. The Russian American Company, a trading monopoly granted a charter by Russian tsar Paul I just as British monarchs had done on the continents east coast in the 17th century, arrived in Tlingit territory around Sitka in 1799. On the eastern edge of the Bay of Alaska, the settlement was at an ideal location for the company to advance its interests into the continent. Stopping them, however, was resistance from a Tlingit community uninterested in becoming colonial subjects. In an attempt to oust the colonizers, the Kiks.ádi clan launched an attack on a Russian outpost near Sitka called Redoubt Saint Michael in 1802, killing nearly all of the Russians and Aleuts there.

The Kiks.ádi clan members were prepared for retaliation after a tribal shaman predicted the Russians, led by Alexander Baranov, would return. The Tlingits built a wooden fort to stave off the foretold attack, which would come in the fall of 1804 when Baranov returned with his forces to demand that they surrender their land. The Kiks.ádi instead prepared for battle. They successfully defended the initial assault from the Russians and Aleuts, but after six days, with supplies dwindling, the clans elders decided to withdraw and embark on a survival march north. The Russians quickly established a fortified presence in Sitka, and with that new foothold, they would claim the entirety of Alaska as a colony, which they would later sell to the United States in 1867 for $7 million.

Today, Sitka National Historical Park commemorates the site of a battle that changed the course of Alaskas history, but the precise location of the Tlingit fort has remained unknown until now. More than two centuries later, archaeologists have finally pinpointed the stronghold where native Alaskans resisted colonization through the use of ground-penetrating radar and electromagnetic instruments.

The peninsula where the fort was located on whats now called Baranof Island has long been recognized as a site of historical importance. It was given federal protection by the U.S. government as a monument beginning in 1910. Now a popular tourist attraction—its a common destination for the regions cruise industry—the park has walking paths lined with Tlingit and Haida totem poles. Much of the seaside park is forested, but the U.S. National Park Service had designated a clearing for the probable location for the fort, which was documented and then razed by the Russians. However, there has not been broad agreement on where exactly the fort was, said Cornell research scientist Thomas Urban, lead author of the new study published in Antiquity. A number of investigations over the years produced some clues but no definitive answer,” Urban says. Outside of the clearing itself, geophysical surveying is very tedious because most of the peninsula is densely forested.” - More...
Sunday PM - January 31, 2021

Bowhead whales: A recent success story

Bowhead whales: A recent success story
Bowhead whales feed in waters off Alaska’s northern coast, as seen from an aircraft during a fall 2020 survey.
Photo by Amy Willoughby/NOAA



Alaska: Bowhead whales: A recent success story By NED ROZELL - Bowhead whales are true northern creatures, swimming only in cold oceans off Alaska, Canada, Greenland, Svalbard and Russia. These bus-size whales have the largest mouths in the animal kingdom, can live for 200 years and can go without eating for more than a year due to their remarkable fat reserves.

Bowheads are also a rare wildlife rebound story, with the population north and west of Alaska now numbering more than 16,000. That’s up from the 1,000 or so animals Yankee whalers left behind in bloody waters at the turn of the last century.

Another part of the story is that bowhead whales also live in one of the fastest-changing regions on the planet. Biologists wonder about the future for the whales and the people who hunt them.

Craig George, a retired biologist with the North Slope Borough who lives in Utqia?vik, has since the early 1980s studied the animal he describes as “an enormous, swimming head.”

From a perch made of sea ice, each spring George has counted bowheads rising for air between floes. As recently as a few days ago, he has listened to their unearthly calls beneath the ice using hydrophones lowered into the water.

As the past four decades have progressed, George has counted many more bowhead whales. At the same time, he and others living on Alaska’s northern coast have seen open water lapping at their shores in December — ice that forms on the ocean has appeared much later in the polar winter than just a decade ago.

Open ocean off Utqia?vik in fall and early winter has resulted in what George has called a “climate changed,” with fall air temperatures more consistent with a town in Norway than the top of Alaska.

Through all that change, the whale with the reinforced hull of a head (used for breaking through ice) has thrived, in large part because people have left them alone, in a relatively untouched ocean.

“The assumption was that sea ice retreat would not be good for these animals, but they seem to be doing well — to date,” George said.

Bowhead whales have been food for many years to Native people of the northern coasts, including hunting crews from 11 villages in Alaska. Team members pursue whales from open boats, a risky endeavor that, when successful, provides food for much of the village.

Those Native hunters at Utqia?vik had a hard time finding bowhead whales in fall 2019. Scientists looking for them during an airplane survey flown each year since 1979 did not see many bowheads, either.

“It was ecologically perplexing to us, and a real concern to whalers,” said Megan Ferguson, a biologist with the Alaska Fisheries Science Center, a branch of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. “We didn’t know if 2019 was the new normal, or a one-off.”

Ferguson, who lives in Seattle, also flew north for an autumn 2020 survey. Bowheads were everywhere her team looked, starting right after the survey plane lifted off from Utqia?vik.

“We had sightings one right after the other,” she said.

The many bowheads Ferguson and her team spotted in 2020 meant that the long-lived whales were somewhere else in 2019, a year with record-breaking warm northern-ocean temperatures. - More...
Sunday PM - January 31, 2021

Fatbiking and Packrafting to Bristol Bay: A Conversation with Bjørn Olson

Fatbiking and Packrafting to Bristol Bay: A Conversation with Bjørn Olson
Bjørn Olson riding through a slough near Lake Iliamna.
Photo courtesy Bjørn Olson

Alaska: Fatbiking and Packrafting to Bristol Bay: A Conversation with Bjørn Olson - In 2013, Bjørn Olson decided to fatbike and packraft from Cook Inlet to Bristol Bay via the northern shore of 77-mile long Lake Iliamna. He joked - well, it might not entirely be a joke - that he was looking for the lake’s famed monster.

“We met a few folks along the way who 100 percent believe they’d seen it. They wouldn’t hear anything about it being some giant sturgeon. We started out hoping to see the Illimani lake monster, but I'm kind of convinced the monster is the lake itself,” Bjørn said.

Bjørn grew up in the shadows of the Wrangell Mountain Range in the tiny village of Slana. His dad worked as a hunting guide and his family lived a homesteading lifestyle. It was there amidst the rugged country that his appreciation of, and penchant for exploring, the wilds of Alaska was born. These days, Bjørn is based out of Homer and known across the state as a thoughtful and hardcore explorer. His favorite modes of travel are fatbiking and packrafting. Fatbikes, with their oversized tires, are designed for riding across snow, sand and in other conditions where normal mountain bikes would get bogged down. Packrafts, which weigh around seven pounds and, when deflated, roll up to about the size of a sleeping bag, have redefined what’s possible in backcountry travel. Many Alaskans love their packrafts and fatbikes more than their sweethearts, children or, even, dogs. There’s talk of starting a rehabilitation center for victims of this outdoor phenomenon but, the sad truth of it is there’s no coming back once you cross into that world.

Bjørn is a talented filmmaker, photographer and writer. He’s on the board of the Kachemak Bay Conservation Society and works with the United Tribes of Bristol Bay and Ground Truth Alaska, formally known as Ground Truth Trekking. The latter is a nonprofit that utilizes human-powered exploration and scientific analysis of areas where large scale industrial projects are being proposed. Bjørn’s work, with a heavy emphasis on adventuring, focuses on environmental and social issues in Alaska - which for a lot of folks are one and the same. For instance, practicing subsistence is an important part of the fabric of much of Alaska and, to do so, requires healthy ecosystems.

In 2013, when Bjørn decided to travel from Cook Inlet to Bristol Bay, he did so largely to learn more about the proposed Pebble mine and what was at stake if the project were ever to be developed. Seeing the Iliamna Lake monster would be bonus material. The journey took 10 days and covered 250 miles.

“Our timing was perfect. It was a hot July. My goal was to ride as much as was possible,” Bjørn said.

He and his partner, Brent, hitched a ride on a landing craft to Iliamna Bay in Cook Inlet and the beginning of the Pile Bay-Williamsport Road. The 15-mile gravel road offers a shorter route for commercial fishing boats to get to Bristol Bay than motoring all the way around the Alaska Peninsula. Travel quickly became interesting once the two men left the road. Brown bear sign was everywhere and sockeye salmon were busy spawning. - More...
Sunday - January 31, 2021



MICHAEL REAGAN: IT’S A SCARY TIME FOR CONSERVATIVES - We had President Trump for four years.

I already feel like we’ve had President Biden for eight.

There were many reasons for not liking Trump or the way he did things.

But at least he was an optimist. At least he saw the sun coming up every morning.

Biden sees every new dawn as the beginning of another dark and troubled day that only he and government intervention of the worst Democrat kind can make better.

Taking us back to the Jimmy Carter days of national malaise and pessimism, he keeps warning us about 100,000 more COVID-19 deaths in the next 30 days, years of mask mandates and the existential threat to the planet from climate change.

The only people happy with Biden’s daily message of gloom and doom are the lefty Democrats in Congress who control him and his soulmates in the friendly liberal media.

MSNBC, CNN, New York Times columnists, Rachel Maddow, the Joe McCarthy of our age, and their “progressive” pals are thrilled with Biden.

That’s because he’s spent the first days of his reign signing 40 executive orders designed to destroy or hobble the oil and gas industry, dismantle Trump’s tough immigration policies and make racial and sexual equity (not equality) the main mission of the newly “woked up” federal government.

For the last four years Maddow and lefty Democrats like her in the media have accused Trump of being a dictator at least ten times a day.

But they apparently haven’t noticed yet that Joe Biden has been signing executive decrees like Joe Stalin on speed and plans to keep 5,000 armed National Guard troops on the streets of Washington until March. - More...
Sunday - January 31, 2021

jpg Political Cartoon: Biden Executive Orders

Political Cartoon: Biden Executive Orders
By Gary McCoy ©2021, Shiloh, IL
Distributed to subscribers for publication by Cagle Cartoons, Inc.

jpg Political Cartoon: Groundhog Day

Political Cartoon: Groundhog Day
By John Darkow ©2021, Columbia Missourian
Distributed to subscribers for publication by Cagle Cartoons, Inc.


Political Cartoon: Stock Market Game Stop
by Dave Whamond ©2021, Canada,
Distributed to subscribers for publication by Cagle Cartoons, Inc.


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Alaska's Fair Share By Ray Metcalfe - We residents of the owner-state own the copper and gold in Pebble. Under existing law, we will not be properly paid for the copper and gold we own and, to make matters worse, our bought-and-paid-for governor is conspiring to make sure we never will get paid.

I’ve heard estimates as high as $400 billion in corporate profits if Pebble ever is approved. The problem is we will only get 7% royalty under existing law.

Seven percent might be considered a fair state tax on profits, if the extracting contractor were mining land owned by an individual who had agreed to sell the copper and gold to the extractor as it comes from the ground. But that’s not the case. We own it, and we should receive a fair share of net profits.

I’m not suggesting that Pebble should get its permit; I’m saying our Legislature should fix this, so we get paid if it does. If the Legislature waits until Pebble’s development is underway, legislators demanding our fair share will be accused of changing the terms after investments have been made.

In 1981, Gov. Jay Hammond pushed through an oil tax law designed to force the oil companies to bid what our oil was really worth. It was called “Net Profit Share Leasing.” The oil companies hated it.

Before net profit share, the oil companies viewed us as easily misled country bumpkins who did not know what our oil was worth. Only seven net profit share leases were let, and every one of them brought eye-popping bids. My recollection is that Gov. Hammond was the only governor who made use of net profit bids.

To simplify net profit share leasing, the extracting contractor would likely be promised a share of anticipated future profits, sufficient to warrant the risk of loss that comes with exploration and startup. (Maybe a 100% return on their exploration and startup investment.)

For example: A contractor invests $1 billion in the first year, starting production at the beginning of year two. In year two, the oil well (or gold and copper mine) produces gross revenues sufficient to cover all of the second-year operating costs plus put $3 billion in the bank.

The contractor gets his billion dollars back, plus all expenses, plus another billion, equaling a 100% return on the original risk money — a phenomenal investment in anybody’s book.

Once the extraction contractor has been properly compensated for the risks of exploration and startup, any number of companies would be happy to operate the mine for costs plus 20%. Any profits above fair payment to the mining operators should belong to Alaska.

The best-known net profit share oil lease let was the Northstar lease. To participate, bidders were required to bring a cashier’s check in the amount of $25 million, and give it to the state if they won. The Northstar lease had a 20% royalty. Otherwise, it promised bidders the lion’s share of the net production revenue until all costs were recovered and a pre-agreed generous reward for exploration risks had been paid.

The bid variable was “when the payback and the pre-agreed reward has been reached; from that day forward, how will you share the net profits with the state?”

Amerada Hess bid that they would give Alaska 89% of the net profits and keep 11% as payment for their production services. Six more fields were let on net profit share leases. Bottom line, 11% of net to the producer and 89% of net to the owner was, and is to this day, world market.

Unfortunately, multimillion-dollar “don’t tax oil” campaigns, campaign contributions from oil interests and outright bribes have left Alaska a lot closer to allocating 11% to the state and 89% to the oil companies. This table-turning trick is why the state is broke.

Year after year, ConocoPhillips reports profits equaling over 100% of costs for their Alaska production services, the same services that Amerada Hess offered to provide for 11% of net. ARCO, now owned by ConocoPhillips, was well compensated in the 1980s for the risks they took. Today, Prudhoe is a seasoned field and there is no risk. If we could rebid Prudhoe, any number of capable companies would offer us terms similar to what Amerada Hess offered us on Northstar.

If there is $400 billion to be had from Pebble, we would get a paltry $28 billion under existing law when we should be getting at least $300 billion. The $100 billion left over is more than fair pay for extraction services. - More...
Sunday - January 31, 2021

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