Dear Friends and Neighbors,
The legislative session is well underway. Budget subcommittees are busy dissecting department budgets and legislation is beginning to go through the process.
Senator Thomas, Representative Miller and I will be in Fairbanks on February 19th for a joint constituent meeting.
Upcoming Constituent Meeting
Saturday, February 19th, 5:30-7:30pm at the Goldstream Fire Station #3, 1300 Goldstream Rd
Facilities Access- Encouraging Independent Oil Exploration
I have filed legislation to increase access and encourage independent oil exploration and production, HB 138 “RCA Regulation Of Certain O&G Facilities”. The purpose is to give independent producers the ability to ship their oil through existing North Slope facilities at a reasonable rate. If they can get an economical contract with the owners they will not need to use the regulatory process. The purpose is to get oil flowing through the pipeline.
Currently oil facilities, such as those used for water and natural gas extraction and reinjection, are owned and managed by an operator. Negotiations for smaller producers to use the facilities are up to the whim of the owner. This bill would simply allow for oversight if and when that process fails.
There has been a lot of media attention on this issue and I have recorded a short video talking about the bill.
Members of the Democratic House Minority, Top row left to right: Rep. Peterson (Dist 19), Rep Doogan (Dist 25), Rep Guttenberg (Dist 8), Rep Gruenberg (Dist 20), Rep Holmes (Dist 26), Rep Kawasaki (Dist 9), Rep Gara (Dist 23), Rep Tuck (Dist 29), Rep Miller (Dist 7)
Bottom row left to right: Minority Whip Gardner (Dist 24), Minority Leader Kerttula (Dist 3), Rep Cissna (Dist 22)
Air Quality Issues in the Interior
During the budget subcommittee meetings there was discussion about the air quality issue in Fairbanks. I asked the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) what is happening now that the voter initiative passed in the North Star Borough. The response from the department was concern that the consequence of losing funding will increase if the problem is not addressed. I had hoped they would have been concerned about the health issues too. The state hopes that the community and DEC can work together on this issue. There are many steps that need to happen to insure that attainment goals are met before the Environmental Protection Agency is required to step in.
There was a Daily News Miner article last week that gives a good overview of what happened in the meeting.
Help Get School Gardens Heard!
I have asked for a hearing in the Education Committee for the school gardens bill, HB 93 “School Gardens, Greenhouses, and Farms”. This bill creates a partnership between schools and non-profits to build school gardens. Teaching children about gardening will help ensure greater food security for future Alaskans and fight obesity.
We need help getting this bill heard! Please send my office letters of support or help us spread the word to interested individuals and groups.
Representative Guttenberg signs his oath of office
Thank you for reading and please feel free to call my office and share your ideas.