The owners of the trans-Alaska oil pipeline system have lost their effort to remove an judge from a high-stakes tax case.
State Superior Court Judge Sharon Gleason of Anchorage in May ruled the systemís 2006 value for property tax purposes was $9.98 billion, far greater than the $850 million the owners had argued.
Gleasonís ruling, if upheld, will mean the owners will have to pay an extra $113 million in state and municipal property taxes for 2006 alone.
Subsequent tax years also are in dispute in Gleasonís court. Over the summer, the pipeline owners moved to ďperemptorily challengeĒ Gleason ó that is, to replace her.
Under the Alaska Rules of Civil Procedure, each side in a Superior Court case is entitled to a change of one judge without any need to state a reason.
But another judge has ruled that Gleason should stay on the pipeline tax case.
Superior Court Judge Peter Michalski, in a three-page order issued Dec. 10, denied the owners a change of judge with respect to their appeal of the state Assessment Review Boardís 2010 pipeline assessment.
The pipeline owners include BP, ExxonMobil, ConocoPhillips, Chevron and Koch Industries.
On Dec. 22, lawyers for the owners filed for reconsideration of Michalskiís order.
See more in Jan. 9 issue of Petroleum News, available to subscribers online by 11 a.m. Friday, Jan. 7