Eric Forrer, left, and Joe Geldhof, right, have sued the State of Alaska in an attempt to stop a plan that calls for borrowing up to $1 billion from global bond markets to pay oil and gas tax credits owed by the state. They are pictured May 22, 2018 in an interview at the Juneau Empire. (James Brooks | Juneau Empire)

Eric Forrer, left, and Joe Geldhof, right, have sued the State of Alaska in an attempt to stop a plan that calls for borrowing up to $1 billion from global bond markets to pay oil and gas tax credits owed by the state. They are pictured May 22, 2018 in an interview at the Juneau Empire. (James Brooks | Juneau Empire)

Judge sets date in case of billion-dollar oil lawsuit

Oral arguments will take place Oct. 1 in Dimond Courthouse

Sitka Superior Court Judge Jude Pate has set a date for arguments in a lawsuit that has billion-dollar implications for the state of Alaska.

On Oct. 1 in a Juneau courtroom, Pate will hear oral debates about the constitutionality of a proposal that would allow the state to borrow as much as a billion dollars to pay oil and gas tax credits owed to companies that have performed work on the North Slope.

The Legislature has approved the plan, as has Gov. Bill Walker, but one Juneau man stands in its way. Eric Forrer, a former member of the University of Alaska Board of Regents, has filed suit with the help of Juneau attorney Joe Geldhof, arguing that the state’s proposal violates constitutional limits on borrowing.

The state has moved to dismiss Forrer’s lawsuit and strike it. State attorneys have argued that the plan is legal and that overturning it could endanger programs funded by similar means.

The Oct. 1 hearing is a significant early step in what is expected to be a lengthy legal battle that ends in front of the Alaska Supreme Court.


• Contact reporter James Brooks at jbrooks@juneauempire.com or 523-2258.


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