Falling Oil Prices Spell Dark Times for Alaska’s State Finances, and Even Bleaker Days for it’s Residents

International Business Times–  As the long, cold dark of winter approaches the northernmost corner of the United States, a sense of impending financial doom is creeping across the frozen turf of what Republican pol-ebrity Sarah Palin once called the “wealthiest state in the nation in terms of our natural resources.” Alaska had so much money when Palin was governor that she gave every resident, including children, a $1,200 “energy rebate” on top of an annual oil dividend of $2,000 in 2008 to compensate them for the high cost of living in the America’s 49th state.

Back then, oil prices looked like they might keep going up forever. There was talk of work beginning on a $300 billion copper, gold and silver mine called Pebble. Salmon prices were on the rise. Construction appeared imminent on a multibillion-dollar natural gas pipeline from Alaska’s North Slope to the Lower 48 U.S. states. Royal Dutch Shell had just spent $2.1 billion on oil leases in the Chukchi Sea off Alaska’s northwest coast. Seven other oil companies also appeared interested in starting development there.