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LT. GOVERNOR'S REPORT
State of Alaska Lt. Governor
Feb. 23, 2006
OIL & GAS DEVELOPMENTS:
On Tuesday, Governor Murkowski announced the
State of Alaska and the three major North Slope producers have reached
conceptual agreement on a contract for a gas project. He also
announced his proposed legislation to reform the State’s oil severance
(production) tax, changing from the existing formula adjusted by the
Economic Limit Factor to one based on net profits. The proposal
creates a fairer tax structure while providing incentives for future
investments to spur additional production. The risk to the State,
however, occurs when prices drop. The Legislature has already started
hearings on this proposal. By Alaska’s constitution the Legislature
has the final say on tax law.
SENATOR CHECKS IN:
Also on Tuesday, Senator Lisa Murkowski visited
Juneau and addressed the State Legislature in joint session. In her
remarks, the Senator vowed that Alaska’s commitment to get
authorization for developing the ANWR Coastal Plain is not over. She
also said that the nation is counting on the construction of a natural
gas pipeline to deliver Alaska’s North Slope gas to market. She
committed to continue funding Alaska's Village Safe Water Program for
water and wastewater improvements in rural Alaska.
On Wednesday during meetings of the Alaska
Workforce Investment Board in Juneau, I discussed the need to continue
to “Grow our Own.” In other words, we need to train Alaskans to fill
high-priority needs in health care, teaching, construction and other
areas. This Board helps coordinate the distribution of dollars for
training programs for filling needs in the workplace.
Fishing boats, ferries, cruise ships, tankers, barges
and recreational vessels cruise the waters of Alaska every day.
Knowing exactly where they are is key to maritime safety and
security. The Marine Exchange of Alaska is taking vessel tracking to
a new level. This organization says, “More than 10,000 commercial
vessels sail the 33,000 miles of Alaska coastline and thousands of
miles of rivers.” Capt. Ed Page, Executive Director, gave me a tour
of their Juneau facility and explained his efforts to work more
closely with the State to provide real-time information. I was
fascinated by the detailed information available through the use of
satellites and tracking devices. As well as benefiting our State, the
Marine Exchange is exporting this innovative technology to other
locations in the world.
While in Cordova last weekend meeting with community
leaders and fishermen who are members of the local Cordova District
Fisherman United, I was reminded of the challenges that this community
has with transportation and cost of energy. Strong city leadership is
producing good results in spite of these challenges. While there, I
was able to attend the girls and boys homecoming basketball games vs.
Glennallen. The local Cordova Wolverines prevailed on their home
CELEBRATING A LEGACY:
Last Thursday evening, I attended the
Elizabeth Peratrovich celebration at the Juneau Alaska Native
Brotherhood Hall. This was a wonderful tribute to a woman who
accomplished a lot by standing strong for her Native culture. In some
ways she might be considered the Rosa Parks of Alaska. Diane Benson
performed a powerful play on Elizabeth Peratrovich’s life.
LOGGING IN KETCHIKAN:
When in Ketchikan on Monday, Steve Seley gave
me a tour of his very impressive lumber mill on Gravina Island.
Instead of giving up after the Ketchikan Pulp Company mill closed in
the late 1990s, he has continued to invest in this operation and is
employing Alaskans as he produces value from timber sales and is
meeting a real need in the world market.
RALLY ON THE KENAI:
Volunteers at the Arctic Winter Games do nearly
everything from timing athletes to providing transportation. On
Saturday, I joined a rally for these volunteers at Kenai Central High
School in preparation for the 2006 games. More than 1,600 volunteers
attended the event, swamping the auditorium that seats just over
1,100. The community participation is incredible. The Arctic Winter
Games kick off Sunday, March 5 with an opening ceremony at the
Soldotna Sports Center and run through March 11. Plan to follow these
Tomorrow Carolyn and I will attend the annual Salute
to the Military in Anchorage. Next week I will be in Juneau to
address the attendees at the Conference of Young Alaskans and meet
with the Faith-Based & Community Initiatives Advisory Council as it
presents its progress report to the Legislature.
Please share this report with interested friends and family. To subscribe or unsubscribe please visit the subscription page . If you have questions or comments please email me at Lt_Governor@gov.state.ak.us You can also reach me at (907) 465-3520 or 269-7460, or write to: Lieutenant Governor Loren Leman, PO Box 110015, Juneau, AK 99811-0015. Visit my web site: ltgov.state.ak.us.