Anne Hillman, KSKA - Anchorage
ahillman (at) alaskapublic (dot) org | About Anne
The Anchorage School District released their suggestions for adjusting next year’s budget on Friday. Under the superintendent’s proposal, the district would cut 57 classroom teachers instead of 143. The proposal does not add back in more than 48 support staff positions that were cut in the initial budget.
Seniors from most of Anchorage’s high schools are graduating this week and next. The district’s high schools rank among the most diverse in the nation. East high tops that list with more than 2000 kids from every corner of the world. Grads spoke about how all that diversity affected their education.
The Alaska Supreme Court listened to oral arguments Tuesday in a case that challenges whether or not same-sex couples should receive survivor benefits.
Things look a little different in Mountain View these days. The community in north Anchorage just finished their 25th annual community-wide clean-up. This year they were joined by other city residents to improve their green space as well.
The city will not be increasing the $11.8 million they plan to use for non-motorized transport projects in the 2015 to 2018 Transportation Improvement Program. The Anchorage Metropolitan Area Transportation Solutions advisory committee took comments on the plan on Thursday. A dozen people spoke in favor of increasing the money used to mark bike lanes and improve the trail system.
Students from Lake Otis Elementary spoke about their first experiences biking to school and the lessons they learned on the way.
The community of Tok hosts a thick, growing forest of spruce trees, and a thinning, shrinking population of people and businesses. Like elsewhere in rural Alaska, high-energy costs and a lack of jobs are causing people to leave. But the trees may be the solution to bringing people back.
Wednesday the State released details about the new deal that will replace the Alaska Gasline Inducement Act. It makes the state a partner in the development of a natural gas export line from the North Slope. But the government is also still moving ahead with their back-up plan, the Alaska Stand Alone Pipeline.
Governor Sean Parnell announced Friday the state is taking a new approach to a large-scale natural gas line in Alaska, and is terminating the agreement signed with TransCanada under AGIA.
According to the state’s Department of Revenue, Cook Inlet production increased by 13 percent last year. Up-and-coming companies, like Hilcorp, spent $300 million this year on their investments, including drilling 10 new wells and working over more than 70 old ones. So does the Cook Inlet Renaissance mean that Southcentral’s energy woes are over?
The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management is seeking more information from Shell about their 2014 Chukchi Exploration Plan. Until Shell provides the agency with the answers for dozens of requested revisions, BOEM will not consider their application complete.
The state of Alaska is looking for partners to research a new source of natural gas called methane hydrates. It could bring in new revenue for the state far down the road, but some environmentalists worry the risk of releasing that much methane is too great.
Ahtna Incorporated is planning to develop natural gas wells near Glennallen in order to supply local communities. They recently licensed 44,000 acres of state land about 15 miles west of Glenallen. They would be the first organization to go beyond exploration all the way to production.
As energy bills are rising for most people across the state, the Alaska SeaLife Center’s are actually dropping. That’s because they’re using the cold waters of Resurrection Bay to heat their building.
ConocoPhillips announced Wednesday that they are adding another new drill rig to the Kuparak oil field on the North Slope. This is the second rig they’ve added this year since the new oil tax bill was signed into law. The drill rig they installed in May is producing 1,600 barrels of oil per day.
The Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission has revised their proposed hydraulic fracking regulations again. Some of the new rules aimed to give the public more information about the chemicals used in the controversial oil and gas extraction method. However in the latest version, companies are allowed to withhold some information from the public in order to protect their trade secrets.
The state is currently putting money toward five different large-scale projects aimed at reducing energy costs on the Railbelt. Some, like subsidizing Cook Inlet gas production, impact energy costs now and in the near term. Other projects, like the proposed LNG pipeline wouldn’t affect prices for at least a decade. The question is—should the state be supporting all of the projects?
The Trans-Alaska Pipeline System is the 800-mile long backbone of the state’s energy infrastructure. It’s built to transport up to 2 million barrels of oil per day, but these days it carries only about a quarter of that.