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Alaska heads toward showdown over residents’ oil checks

Some 1.2 billion barrels of oil have been discovered in Alaska, marking the biggest onshore discovery in the U.S. in three decades.

JUNEAU, Alaska – Alaska lawmakers, faced with limited options for filling the state’s budget deficit, may have to dip into earnings from Alaska’s famed oil-wealth fund.

Major proposals for doing so, however, involve changing how the annual checks that residents receive from fund earnings are calculated.

The decision by Gov. Bill Walker and later lawmakers to cap the size of the check the past two years has fueled anger and distrust among some Alaskans. They fear a money grab, even as state leaders say they’re motivated by a desire to protect a dividend into the future.

he issue has yet to be settled, with just weeks left in the scheduled 90-day legislative session.