By Elwood Brehmer

Active state Slope sales net $21.2M, NPR-A quieter

Interest was again high among oil and gas lease bidders for state acreage on the North Slope in Wednesday lease sales but that was not the case for the federally controlled National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska.

Winning bidders spent $21.2 million for 216,000 acres of state land and water across 119 lease tracts. The vast majority of that, $19.9 million, was for 179,000 onshore acres and the remaining $1.2 million was for 37,000 acres of state-owned, near shore waters of the Beaufort Sea.

AIDEA moves to advance Interior gas project, shed utility

The Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority board of directors unanimously approved a resolution to fold Fairbanks Natural Gas into the borough-owned startup utility Wednesday afternoon.

Consolidating Fairbanks Natural Gas, and more specifically its parent company Pentex Alaska Natural Gas Co., into the Interior Gas Utility is a key step to ensure the success of the Interior Energy Project, according to just about everyone involved.

Walker’s budget cuts spending again

Hidden behind the Dec. 9 unveiling of Gov. Bill Walker’s long-term state fiscal and tax plan was the release of his 2017 fiscal year budgets.

The total unrestricted general fund spend for both the operating and capital budgets would be just more than $4.8 billion, down 3.1 percent from slightly more than $5 billion for the current 2016 fiscal year, as proposed by the Walker administration.

Statewide agency operations would be cut by $140 million in the unrestricted portion of the budget, a cut of 3.4 percent.

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