December 12, 2007

Corruption Roils Alaska Politics

With two oil executives headed to jail for giving hundreds of thousands of dollars in illegal payments and “benefits” to prominent state politicians, Alaskans can look forward to plenty of court-watching in the months to come.

According to The Christian Science Monitor, the appetite in Alaska extends beyond courtroom voyeurism, however, thanks to an array of oil-related issues — from corrosion in pipelines to disputes over the Exxon Valdez oil spill settlement.

The issue came to a head on November 16, when Alaska’s legislature passed, with the support of Republican Governor Sarah Palin, a dramatic revision of the state’s “tainted” oil tax laws.

The new oil-tax bill is expected to bring in an additional $1.5 billion in revenue to the state, closes loopholes, and limits investment credits and deductions.

One industry official decried the new bill as a “feeding frenzy,” reports the Monitor, which also notes that ConocoPhillips canceled a $300 million refinery-upgrade project in response to the law.

Source:

“Tales of oil industry’s influence in Alaska”
The Christian Science Monitor, December 12, 2007

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