A personal note: Yes, we travel a bit.  For over a decade we have endeavored to provide daily updates to keep these Archives current for your current and future reference.  Our individual and family work and travel over the years has taken us to most states and Canadian provinces, to China, Europe, Korea, Japan, Russia, South America and the Middle East.  But no matter where we go, we think of you — counting on us to maintain a complete archives of northern energy projects, people, maps, presentations, documents, news and commentary.  Thank you for the opportunity to serve and for your loyalty!  -dh

Calgary Herald: Varcoe: NDP promises action on orphan wells, support for Trans Mountain pipeline

ADNGroup wants gas line to go to Valdez, sparking ‘intramural spat’ over Alaska project

Murkowski Congratulates New Energy Secretary

From Alaska Headlamp

Headlamp spent the better part of last weekend attending the Anchorage Caucus and various constituent meetings held by legislators. The mantra we heard again and again was “there’s no more to cut.” Headlamp simply does not agree. For this to be accurate, one would have to assume that state government spending was at reasonable levels when this process began. But in reality, {Alaska’s} per capita spending, accounting for all types of spending, was $14,121.39 in FY 2017; which was far above the national average of $5,777 in FY 2015. 

(Our comment: Sure the largest state with the smallest population needs to spend more per capita to reasonably survive.  But three times the national average?  At a time when its employee pension fund is in the hole, when its income is declining, when its savings accounts subsidizing the operating budget are drying up?  There are times when your dad, your boss or your state or nation just has to say, “NO. WE CAN’T AFFORD IT”.   For Alaska, this is one of those times.  -DH)

For this reason, our Bad Bill of the Week is HB 57 – the House Appropriations Bill for the Operating Budget. We think it goes without saying that Headlamp doesn’t believe this spending bill will solve our financial situation or strengthen the private sector.

Here’s a peek at Ecuador…

…where our family owns a condo in the colonial town of Cuenca.  Today we’ll head from Cuenca to Guayaquil by passenger van ($13.00), then fly to Lima for a couple days, then over to Machu Picchu and back to Cuenca before returning to Anchorage.   On this trip we’ll be focusing on adding to our collection of art and stock photographs…a pleasant break from our usual fare of photo-journalism.  

A road more…or less…taken? Cuenca, Ecuador

 The weather, almost every day of the year in Cuenca, is like Anchorage or Whitehorse in June.  This is because the city’s nest — at 8500 feet — is surrounded by higher mountains, meaning that it’s alpine cool.  But being on the equator, means its mild year ’round.  With four mountain rivers running through town, you’ll see green grass, lilies, palm trees and a lot of birds singing pretty songs — all the year.  In the huge markets around town, you can buy fresh tuna and mahi-mahi and catfish and shrimp, or baby chicks, ducks, quail and  rabbits.  With countless micro-climates ranging from the Pacific coast up to the high Andes, and then down on the eastern slope to the Amazon, virtually every type of fruit and vegetable grown in the world can be — or is — grown here.  This is a NYT story about our 9 unit building.  This is Diane Sawyer’s ABC story about Cuenca.  Below is a general review we thought our readers would enjoy:

 Ecuador On A Budget

Ecuador is called “El pais de 4 mundos” (The Country of 4 Worlds) for good reason. In just one day you can pass through the Oriente (Amazon), Sierra (Andes), and the coast! Ecuador is such a beautiful country and has SO MUCH to offer for a traveler on a budget.

If you are backpacking, you can make it on $20 a day IF you are being strict with your spending. There is however an industry of eco-tourism which is mostly targeted at foreigners and where you can get a much more luxurious Ecuadorian experience. While the Galapagos is beautiful, it is not easy on the wallet and thus is not included on the list (try Isla de la Plata, also known as “the poor man’s Galapagos” instead!). After a year of living in Ecuador, here are my recommendations for places not-to-be-missed!  The full story plus photos here….   

(You’ll find some of our own reviews on TripAdvisor.  -dh)