Alaska’s complex relationship with fossil fuels by Larry Persily Oil and gas production —and the good-paying jobs that come with it—have helped fuel the Alaskan economy for decades, and likely will for the near future. The far future is less certain. The industry’s tax and royalty revenues to the state treasury have allowed Alaskans to enjoy life without a personal income tax or a state sales tax—plus, they receive an annual dividend from investment earnings of the state’s 46-year-old oil-wealth savings account. But there are a lot fewer of those jobs. And there is a lot less oil flowing through the trans-Alaska oil pipeline, putting a strain on the state budget. Still, the industry is an essential part of Alaska’s economy. Pay is still good, but fewer jobs Oil and gas jobs are among the highest paying in Alaska. State Department of Labor statistics put the average oil company wage…

Despite an economy driven by oil and commercial fishing, Valdez earns the moniker “Little Switzerland” honestly. The city of around 4,000 people rests in a deep fjord beneath the 5,000-foot peaks of the Chugach Mountains, with waterfalls cascading down lush green hillsides at every turn and calm, clear waters lapping along the small boat harbor of Port Valdez.