How about the promised 90 percent?

Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s proposal to split revenues from any oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge 50-50 with the federal government is nice, but what about a 90-10 split, with Alaska getting the lion’s share?

That is, after all, what Alaska was promised long ago.

Alaska’s statehood compact, the deal it reached with the federal government at statehood in 1959, requires 90 percent of all revenue from oil, mineral and gas leasing on Alaska’s federal land be handed the state.

Section 28 of the Statehood Act is pretty clear:

“All net profits from operation of Government mines, and all bonuses, royalties, and rentals under leases as herein provided and all other payments received under this Act shall be distributed as follows as soon as practicable after December 31 and June 30 of each year: (1) 90 per centum thereof shall be paid by the Secretary of the Treasury to the State of Alaska for disposition by the legislature thereof; and (2) 10 per centum shall be deposited in the Treasury of the United States to the credit of miscellaneous receipts.”

Former Gov. Wally Hickel in the early 1990s even unsuccessfully sued for $29 billion he claimed was owed the state because the federal government had withdrawn 100 million acres for national parks and monuments, denying the state access for development – and its 90 percent share of the lost revenues. The $29 billion was what he figured those withdrawals had cost Alaska.

We understand Sen. Murkowski and the rest of the congressional delegation are trying to smooth the way for ANWR development with the argument that it will boost the federal treasury at a time when it truly needs an injection of cash. And we understand a 50-50 split would be much easier for fence-sitters to swallow.

But it would be nice, just once, to see Alaska get what it was promised at statehood.

3 Responses to How about the promised 90 percent?

  1. Michael Chambers November 10, 2017 at 1:44 pm

    I have followed this story for years. Frank Murkowski ( governor ) began a unilateral 50/50 split to encourage ANWR production. It looks like his daughter is reading from her fathers playbook. I started asking questions a month ago and receive no response. Now I know why. Our statehood compact is up for negotiation.

  2. Ed Martin Jr November 10, 2017 at 3:50 pm

    Very well stated , A promise made is a promise kept… Whom else should we feel loyal to and respected given. America we all love!

  3. Rev Bill November 11, 2017 at 11:04 am

    Get it open at 50/50 then bombard the feds with lawsuits to get the written promise honored. Not only get back most of the lost 50% but the interest it collect while in limbo.


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