Parnell signs oil tax bill, offers $50m for ANWR study
By Alex Murray
JUNEAU, Alaska: After signing an overhaul of the state's oil production tax scheme into law last week, Alaska Governor Sean Parnell (R) now looks to convince his state's legislature and the federal government to fund a study that could lead to development in the Alaska Natural Wildlife Refuge.
Last Tuesday at Anchorage's Denaina Center, Parnell signed Senate Bill 21, which eliminates the previous progressive tax scheme in favor of a 35 percent base rate with a tax credit per barrel produced. Parnell and fellow supporters have argued that the law will encourage oil development in the state, while opponents say tax revenues will drop considerably with no guarantee of return, and that the law amounts to a handout for oil producers. In an op-ed piece published by the Anchorage Daily News last Thursday, Parnell cited several producers' reactions to the legislation as "positive effects." A group opposing the law, "Vote Yes, Repeal the Giveaway," has been pushing for repeal; with its petition certified last month, the group must collect 30,169 signatures by July 13 in order to have the Alaska Oil Cuts Veto Referendum placed on the 2014 primary ballot.
Prior to signing the bill, Parnell appeared at a U.S. Chamber of Commerce event via video link, proposing that the state contribute $50 million to a study determining the viability of exploration in the 1002 Area of the Alaska Natural Wildlife Refuge (ANWR), in the hopes that the federal government will also fund it. The study would last seven years, assessing seismic activity and development potential in the 1.5 million acre region. The study is said to cost $150 million in total; the private sector has also been suggested as a funding source. Parnell submitted the 187-page proposal in a letter to Interior Secretary Sally Jewell, whose department has yet to comment publicly.
- Sean Parnell
- Taxes on the ballot
- Alaska 2014 ballot measures
- Alaska Oil Tax Cuts Veto Referendum (2014)
- Veto referendum
- Senate Finance Committee introduces rewrite of oil tax bill, from March 13
- Alaska Senate passes oil tax revamp, from March 21
- Oil tax bill passes before Alaska Legislature's adjournment, from April 16
- Alaska Public Media, "Governor Parnell Signs Energy Bills," May 21, 2013
- Anchorage Daily News, "Compass: Alaska's oil comeback is under way," May 23, 2013
- Anchorage Press, "Oil tax cuts now law, debate over repeal starts," May 27, 2013 (dead link)
- KTVA, "SB21 Repeal Moves Forward," April 26, 2013 (dead link)
- McClatchy, "Alaska attempts public relations pitch on drilling ANWR," May 20, 2013
- Oil & Gas Journal, "Alaskan government proposes new ANWR crude oil resource study," May 27, 2013
- Alaska Journal of Commerce, "Parnell offers $50M in state funds for ANWR seismic work," May-Issue-4 2013
- [http://www.sitnews.us/0513News/052013/052013_anwar.html SitNews, "Parnell Rolls Out Exploration Proposal for ANWR 1002 Area," May 20, 2013.
- Juneau Empire, "Treadwell ramps up for Senate after Parnell announcement," May 6, 2013