Alaska Supreme Court decides pipeline worth billions, not millions

Photo courtesy of the Department of Natural Resources.

Photo courtesy of the Department of Natural Resources.

The State Supreme Court reaffirmed on Wednesday that the Trans-Alaska Pipeline is worth $10 billion.

Oil companies had argued that the pipeline should only be assessed at $850 million, and they based that number on the tariffs collected. At that lower value, the property taxes they pay to cities like Fairbanks and Valdez would be dramatically reduced.

The Supreme Court found that tariff income isn’t the only value derived from the pipeline. Its worth also comes from its ability to transport the billions of barrels of oil from the North Slope.

While the decision only concerns the 2006 assessment, oil companies have made similar arguments over the pipeline’s for other tax years.

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