Editorials

Editorial: Deception becomes precedent in health care ruling

“But your critics say it is a tax increase.” — George Stephanopoulos

“My critics say everything is a tax increase.” — President Barack Obama

ABC News interview, Sept. 20, 2009

By the president’s assertion, then, Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts has simultaneously handed Obama the most significant victory of his term as well as given his opponents the most potent criticism possible for the sweeping health insurance reform bill passed in 2010.

Editorial: TAPS milestone marked by drop in Slope oil prices

June 20 was more than just the 35th anniversary of the first Prudhoe Bay oil flowing down the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System.

That day saw the second-lowest TAPS throughput of the month, at 457,127 barrels. Only a one-day curb in production from the major fields at Prudhoe and Kuparuk when a mere 380,893 barrels flowed on June 2 was lower.

The same day, Alaska North Slope crude fell nearly $4 to trade at a 52-week low of $96.40, a drop of more than $31 per barrel from its 52-week high of $127.90 set Feb. 24.

Editorial: Council gets it right on bycatch, more work to do

“Glacial” is the word most often used to describe the North Pacific Fishery Management Council process, but that’s actually unfair to glaciers.

Not even time-lapse photography would reveal much movement on reducing halibut bycatch in the Gulf of Alaska until the council’s vote June 8 in Kodiak to cut it by 15 percent starting in 2014.

EDITORIAL: Council, trawlers must be accountable for bycatch

Two out of three ain’t bad, unless you’re talking about trawl halibut bycatch.

As this issue of the Journal went to press, the North Pacific Fishery Management Council was kicking off 20 hours of staff reports, public comment, and ultimately, final deliberations in Kodiak about the decades-old issue of reducing the allowable bycatch of halibut by trawlers and cod longliners in the Gulf of Alaska.

EDITORIAL: Council, trawlers must be accountable for bycatch

Two out of three ain’t bad, unless you’re talking about trawl halibut bycatch.

As this issue of the Journal went to press, the North Pacific Fishery Management Council was kicking off 20 hours of staff reports, public comment, and ultimately, final deliberations in Kodiak about the decades-old issue of reducing the allowable bycatch of halibut by trawlers and cod longliners in the Gulf of Alaska.

Editorial: Cuts to rail are a betrayal of federal commitments

For those of us among the vast majority of Americans who believe the current national debt and budget deficit are an immediate threat to our future prosperity, nothing is quite so maddening as the unending stream of red ink pouring out of Washington, D.C., and the political cowardice that allows it to continue unabated.

We’re told that actual, tangible budget cuts are impossible and the best we can hope for is a cut in the rate of growth even as we spend $4 billion more per day than we take in as revenue.

EDITORIAL: Remember the fallen — today, and always

Everybody has an enemy, but I didn’t know anyone who didn’t like Brian.

— John Cosato, Lucerne Valley, Calif.

 

Sgt. Brian L. Walker did have enemies, but they weren’t at Juan Cosato’s barbershop in his hometown of Lucerne Valley.

Walker’s enemies were the ones who planted the improvised explosive device along a road in Bowri Tana, Afghanistan, that exploded on Mother’s Day while the 425th Brigade Special Troops Battalion was on patrol under his command.

EDITORIAL: With time right for LNG exports, Alaska is playing catch-up

Amid the rubble of the week that began with the collapse of the legislative special session was a piece of expected yet welcome news.

The state approved a project plan amendment May 2 for TransCanada to formally shift its focus to an in-state, liquefied natural gas export project instead of a gasline connecting the North Slope to Alberta.

Ire over profits another sign of an unserious debate

In the days before Gov. Sean Parnell abruptly pulled oil tax reform legislation from the special session he’d called barely a week earlier, the Big News of the week was the April 23 earnings report from ConocoPhillips.

ConocoPhillips — the only one of the North Slope producers that reveals the results of its Alaska operations — reported $616 million in profits for the first quarter of 2012.

Editorial: Regulators hold first joint meeting on halibut bycatch; herring updates

Brainstorming over halibut bycatch was the theme of a two-day workshop this week in Seattle.

Topping the discussions: the methods used to collect bycatch numbers and the accuracy of the data.

The meeting between the International Pacific Halibut Commission and the North Pacific Fishery Management Council is an unprecedented effort to work together to reduce the estimated 10 million pounds of halibut taken as bycatch and discarded in Alaska’s fisheries.

Editorial: Alaska needs wise oil tax policy built on compromise

For the second time in two years, oil taxes have prompted a special session of the Alaska Legislature. Or, to put it another way, state Senate leaders outsmarted themselves and were unable to get to the negotiating table with their counterparts in the House during regular session.

Editorial: State spending on energy should look to long term

The twists and turns of legislative attempts to address high energy costs probably left many Interior residents shaking their heads in wonder.

On the one hand, the state Senate approved a bill to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on energy cost vouchers across the state, including in many areas where those costs are not particularly high.

Editorial: Keystone: A pragmatic pipeline proposal

It’s no surprise to learn that the Obama administration’s decision to postpone approval of the Keystone XL pipeline between oil sands deposits in western Canada and refineries on the U.S. Gulf Coast has brought forth a worthy competitor to get the crude moving.

As the Chronicle recently reported, Calgary-based Enbridge and a U.S. partner, Enterprise Products Partners, have announced plans for a pipeline that would bring an estimated 800,000 barrels of oil sands from Alberta to the Gulf Coast for refining.

EDITORIAL: Unfinished business: no justice in Sen. Ted Stevens case

Justice isn’t done in the federal case involving Alaska’s late Sen. Ted Stevens.

The Justice Department has blamed the system’s corrupt practices for the injustice committed upon Sen. Ted Stevens. It held no one accountable. No one suffered sufficiently for the consequences of the department’s unethical behavior in the Stevens case.

It appears that Justice and the people in its employ are above the law.

EDITORIAL: Redistricting board should work in the public view

The Alaska Supreme Court has given clear marching orders to the Alaska Redistricting Board — follow the provisions of the Alaska Constitution in drawing election districts.

After the board completes that analysis, any deviations it makes from the state constitution to reach compliance with federal law must be as minimal as possible.

The five-member board began a weeklong series of meetings to draft a new plan consistent with the Alaska Constitution. The meetings are to take place in Anchorage.

Tourism can't be lost in session's oil tax debate

It’s a busy or slow Legislative Session in Juneau, depending on your perspective.

Busy, because there’s much yet to do as the 90-day session wanes.

Slow, because the one key topic dominating everyone’s attention—meaningful oil tax reform—is going nowhere.

It’s tempting to believe, that if oil tax reform doesn’t happen, nothing else in Alaska matters.

But other things do matter, in particular the state’s annual budget, which should be approved before the session ends.

AJOC EDITORIAL: Oil tax changes must happen this session

After more than a full year of “work,” Alaska lawmakers are now saying they may be short on time in their efforts to change the oil tax laws.

Seriously?

Legislators have no excuse. They need to get this work done – in this session – and pull Alaska out of the state of flux it’s been in since the Palin administration wrote the current law. We don’t need to waste time and money on a special session, more studies and more endless debate.

EDITORIAL: Fundamental tax reform is needed in the oil patch

The headlines last week reported that one of Alaska’s favorite oil experts strongly criticized Gov. Sean Parnell’s proposed tax revisions. If one didn’t read the articles, one might think that the expert, Pedro van Meurs, disagrees with the fundamental premise driving the governor’s oil tax reform package.

Government shouldn't get into mandating time off

The importance of having parents attending parent-teacher conferences can’t really be argued. It’s something people should be able to agree on regardless of their political stripe.

Where people start to disagree, however, is when government gets involved.

EDITORIAL: Healy power plant permit moves one step forward

The state’s decision last week to grant an air quality permit to restart the Healy Clean Coal Plant was an encouraging step toward eventually reducing the electricity bills that have been stinging Interior residents.

However, no one should install electric heaters at home in anticipation of success any time soon.

The permit still could be challenged in both administrative and legal proceedings. In fact, most people involved expect that will be the case. So it could be years before the Healy plant starts generating juice.

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