We booted Frank Murkowski (notice that the first part of his last name is Murk) out of the governor's house this year. It's a pretty tight race between Sarah Palin and Tony Knowles. One of the big issues is who can help bring about an Alaska Gas Pipeline. This is a pipeline that, much like the current oil pipeline, would bring natural gas to market.
There are two major routes being considered: an "all-Alaska" pipeline, and the Canada pipeline. The all-Alaska pipeline would create a gas pipeline that follows the oil pipeline from Prudhoe Bay (the northern part of the state - check out this map) to the shipping terminal in Valdez. The gas would be liquified and sent via ship to ports on the West Coast and the Far East. The Canada pipeline, though, would go through Canada (hence the name - brilliant, right?) and connect to gas production plants (refineries? I don't know what you call them - I'm not a real reporter) that already exist in the Midwest.
Before announcing her candidacy, Palin had really championed the all-Alaska pipeline, which a lot of Alaskans want in short-sighted statehood pride. Just about all Alaskans want the pipeline built because the vast majority of our revenue comes from oil and gas leases, taxes, etc. Further, the Permanent Fund Dividend would increase based upon the new revenues from gas taxes, etc.
However, if I understand correctly (and that's a big if - part of the reason I do this type of law is that I find oil and gas law extremely BORING), PFDs and state income are based upon profits from the oil and gas leases. Profits are what is left over after expenses are paid. With an all-Alaska pipeline, part of those expenses would be maintaining the Valdez terminal and shipping to various ports. Those expenses would not exist under the Canadian option. The all-Alaska pipeline would thus diminish PFD and oil/gas lease revenues. This might be the reason that Palin has since backed away from her commitment to the all-Alaska pipeline and declared that she will examine all options. Knowles has never committed to one particular view, but rather wanted to make sure that whatever happens, Alaska's interests are protected.
As far as practical realities, if a pipeline is actually established, it will be a giant boon for this state. That will lead to a further population increase, which I'm not particularly wild about. But, an influx of thousands of people with lots of money who are isolated from the real world for weeks or months at a stretch? I cannot imagine that the pipeline would be anything but a guarantee of substantial work in all sorts of legal fields, mine in particular.