Movers and Shakers for Nov. 11

Kevin O’Neal-Smith was hired by The McDowell Group as an economic analyst. He holds a bachelor’s degree in economics and business administration from Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colo. He also studied international economics and Southeast Asian trade at Chiang Mai University in Thailand. McDowell Group was recently recognized as Alaska Chamber’s Bill Bivins Small Business of the Year. The research and consulting firm has a staff of 19 located in Anchorage, Juneau, and Bellingham, Wash. GCI Business hired Aaron Helmericks as the senior director of Projects and Engineering. Helmericks brings a wide range of experience to the position with more than 15 years of oil and gas, telecom, and IT design and operations. He was most recently the CIO for Caelus Energy. He will oversee the Projects and Engineering teams formally known as GCI Industrial Telecom. With offices in Deadhorse and Anchorage, Alaska, Seattle, Washington and Houston, Texas, GCI Business employs more than 100 professional telecommunication engineers, project managers and technicians to support the full lifecycles of industrial projects and remote operations. Koniag Inc. General Counsel Peter Boskofsky was recently named a 2018 “Native American 40 Under 40” awardee by the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development in recognition of his excellent work as a lawyer and his community service efforts. He also serves as vice president of the Koniag Education Foundation Board, co-chairs the Alaska Native Law Section of the Alaska Bar Association and volunteers for the Alaska Color of Justice. He earned a law degree from Gonzaga University School of Law and a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Hawai’i. Before working at Koniag, he served as an attorney at Afognak Native Corp. and Alutiiq LLC. He was recognized along with the other awardees during an October 29-30 event at the River Spirit Casino Resort in Tulsa, Okla. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration nnounced the appointment of Dr. Robert Foy as the new Science and Research director for NOAA’s Alaska Fisheries Science Center in Juneau, effective Nov. 11. In this role, he will oversee the agency’s work to monitor the health and sustainability of fish, marine mammals, and their habitats across nearly 1.5 million square miles of water surrounding Alaska. He will direct scientific research to support and sustain some of the world’s most valuable marine resources, including commercial fisheries for Alaska pollock, red king crab, and sablefish in the Gulf of Alaska and the Bering Sea. He will also oversee agency research in the Aleutians, a 1,200-mile long island chain full of marine life, and in the Arctic Ocean, home to marine mammals including bowhead and beluga whales, and bearded and ringed seals. As Center Director, Foy will oversee nearly 500 employees and a number of facilities, including the main facility in Seattle, research laboratories in Juneau and Kodiak, Alaska, and Newport, Ore., and field stations in Little Port Walter, St. Paul Island, and St. George Island. Foy will assume his new role on November 11, 2018. Foy holds graduate degrees from the University of Alaska Fairbanks (Ph.D. in oceanography and master’s degree in fisheries) and a bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of Michigan.

Long-running Sturgeon case heard before Supreme Court

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court sounded skeptical of the National Park Service’s authority to prevent an Alaskan moose hunter from using his motorized rubber boat to access remote areas of the state. The justices heard arguments Nov. 5 in a case that tests the limits of the federal government’s authority in a state in which more than 60 percent of the land is federally owned. The state and moose hunter John Sturgeon are arguing that the Park Service cannot enforce a national ban on amphibious vehicles known as hovercraft on a river in Alaska for which the state claims ownership, even though it runs through a national conservation area. Sturgeon won an earlier round at the Supreme Court. The case stems from Sturgeon’s 2007 encounter with three park rangers who ordered him off the Nation River within the Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve in northeast Alaska. The rangers told him it was illegal to operate the noisy craft that can navigate shallow water or even mud. He sued in 2011. The issue is whether a federal law enacted in 1980 to protect undisturbed land but also allow Alaska residents to maintain their way of life provides an exception to Park Service regulation of rivers that pass through national parks. “Well, but, I mean, the waters are very important to Alaskans’ way of life in the way they aren’t elsewhere,” Chief Justice John Roberts said, voicing doubt about the Trump administration’s reading of the law that gives the federal government sweeping control of the waterways. Justice Department lawyer Edwin Kneedler told the court that the 1980 law is a compromise because it allows hunting and airplane use in areas that usually are closed to those activities in national parks in other states. But Congress did not intend to allow hovercraft to be used, Kneedler said, calling them very loud and unsightly. Roberts didn’t sound persuaded by that argument. “While you may think a hovercraft is unsightly, I mean, if you’re trying to get from point A to point B, it’s pretty beautiful,” he said. That comment aligned with the argument made by Alaska assistant attorney general Ruth Botstein, who said the law protected the state’s control over rivers. “Our rivers are our only roads,” Botstein said. The session Nov. 5 also displayed the difficulty the justices were having in reconciling the precise language of the 1980 law with arguments on both sides. “I’ve burned up an awful lot of gray cells trying to put together the pieces of this statute,” said Justice Samuel Alito.

Movers and Shakers for Nov. 4

The Alaska SeaLife Center welcomed four new members to its board of directors, and announced the election of two new officers: board Chair Wendy Lindskoog of BP Alaska; and Vice Chair Terry Lauck of ConocoPhillips. Terms for new members and officers began Sept. 28, 2018. The new board members will serve three-year terms. The new board members are: Josh Howes, Dr. Laura “Lu” Levoy, Dr. Herb Schroeder and Christy Terry. Howes has been the President of Premier Alaska Tours Inc. since 2010. He holds a master’s degree in global supply chain management and has studied abroad in Japan. Howes serves on various boards including the Alaska Chapter for the Red Cross, the Statewide Steering Committee for the Alaska Marine Highway Reform Project, and the Alaska Travel Industry Association. Levoy is an emergency medicine physician in Anchorage. She studied medicine at West Virginia University and East Tennessee State University. Levoy is licensed with the West Virginia Board of Medicine and the Alaska Board of Medicine. Schroeder is vice provost for the Alaska Native Science and Engineering Program and founder at the University of Alaska Anchorage. He is the recipient of the White House 2004 Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring for outstanding mentoring efforts and providing opportunities to the local communities of indigenous people. He is the professor of engineering at the University of Alaska Anchorage. Schroeder received his Ph.D. in civil engineering from the University of Colorado Boulder. Terry is the Seward Port Manager of the Alaska Railroad Corp. She is a former member of the Seward Chamber of Commerce Board and a former City Council member. Terry is a member of the Alaska Association of Harbormasters and Port Administrators and chairs the City of Seward Port and Commerce Advisory Board. Terry is a Certified Port Executive. She was the recipient of the Alaska Journal of Commerce Top Forty under 40 in 2012 and the Alaska Railroad’s Golden Spike Award in 2015. Northrim Bank hired Maureen Swartwood as associate vice president and branch manager; and announced the promotion of Christina Clayton to assistant branch manager and Darren Donahue to branch supervisor as the leadership of the new Eastside Community Branch. Swartwood joins Northrim Bank with 15 years of experience in the financial industry. She started as a teller and worked in various positions to become a branch manager at Alaska USA Federal Credit Union. Swartwood moved to Alaska after growing up in Fiji. Clayton has been with Northrim Bank since 2016 and has nearly five years of experience in the financial industry. Before joining Northrim Bank, she had more than 30 years of experience in retail sales management. Clayton holds an occupational associate’s degree in retail management. Donahue joined Northrim Bank in 2012 as a teller. Trevor Bradford is the newest addition to the Evergreen Business Capital team in Alaska. He has 16 years of experience in the finance industry, including the last four years as a commercial loan officer and small business lending manager at Northrim Bank in Anchorage. Trevor is an active board member of the Alaska Small Business Development Center and often leads meetings and lunches with small business owners educating them on many financial related topics. Providence Health &Service Alaska has named a new chief medical officer and Providence Medical Group Alaska a chief executive. Dr. Michael Bernstein, M.D., will join Providence as chief medical officer effective Nov. 12. Dr. Thomas Yetman, M.D., began serving as PMGA chief executive on Oct. 1. Bernstein comes to Alaska from Providence St. Joseph Health in Los Angeles, where he served most recently as chief medical officer of Providence Medical Foundations and president of Providence Specialty Medical Group. He earned a bachelor’s degree in East Asian studies from Harvard University and completed his doctorate in medicine at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine in Cleveland. He completed his medical residency at the University of Washington in Seattle and clinical fellowships in pulmonary and critical care medicine at the University of California, San Francisco. During his time in Los Angeles, Dr. Bernstein worked with more than 650 employed physicians across three medical foundations and 900 affiliated physicians in Los Angeles County. Yetman will oversee an organization that provides primary and specialty care to Alaskans and is connected to Providence Alaska Medical Center and The Children’s Hospital at Providence. With more than 30 years in health care, Yetman joins Providence Alaska from Providence Medical Group Northwest Washington in Everett, Wash., where he served as chief executive and then chief medical officer. A graduate of the University of California, San Diego, with a bachelor’s degree in biology, Yetman received his medical degree from George Washington University. Upon completion of a family practice internship at the U.S. Navy Hospital in Bremerton, Wash., he spent time on active duty as part of the U.S. Navy Medical Corps at the Navy hospital in Guam. He then completed training in obstetrics and gynecology at the U.S. Navy Hospital in Portsmouth, Va.

CP nets $1.8B in Q3 with $427M in Alaska; greenlights GMT-2

ConocoPhillips continued its increasingly strong earnings trend by reporting a third quarter profit of more than $1.8 billion on Oct. 25. In Alaska, the state’s largest producer by volume netted $427 million during the quarter, bringing its year-to-date earnings in the state to more than $1.3 billion. The $1.8 billion profit was on the back of $10.1 billion in revenue, the largest such figures ConocoPhillips has realized in several years, more than quadrupling its net income of $420 million in the third quarter of 2017. So far in 2018 the Houston-based company has netted nearly $4.4 billion on $28.3 billion in revenue compared to the $855 million loss it absorbed in 2017 on $32.5 billion of revenue it generated last year. The improved financials can largely be attributed to higher oil prices — ConocoPhillips’ crude sold for an average of $51.96 per barrel in 2017 versus $69.74 per barrel year-to-date in 2018 — but CEO Ryan Lance said improved internal operations have also contributed to the better returns. “We’re delivering another year of strong performance by successfully executing our disciplined, returns-focused plan. We’ve accomplished many strategic, financial and operational milestones this year, ahead of our original schedule,” Lance said in a prepared statement. “Our strategy is designed to generate superior returns through cycles by maintaining discipline, focusing on free cash flow and allocating this cash according to clear, shareholder-friendly priorities. This is what the market can expect from us again in 2019.” In October the company announced the start of production from its roughly $1 billion Greater Mooses Tooth-1 project in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska, which marks the first oil production on federal acreage within the reserve boundary. It also got a favorable permitting decision from the Bureau of Land Management and sanctioned the similar, but slightly larger, $1.5 billion GMT-2 project in the NPR-A. Lowman said via email the company would be laying gravel for the GMT-2 road and pad this coming winter; the project is expected to come online in late 2021 and produce up to 40,000 barrels of oil per day at its peak. The quarterly profit translated into earnings of $1.59 per share compared to quarterly earnings of 34 cents per share year-over-year. ConocoPhillips stock sold for $68.48 per share near the end of the trading day OCt. 25 after the positive results, up from an Oct. 24 closing price of $65.69 per share. The company ended the quarter holding roughly $4.8 billion in cash and short-term investments. Its third quarter dividend was increased by 7 percent to 30.5 cents per share. ConocoPhillips also repurchased $900 million worth of common shares in the third quarter, bringing its 2018 share repurchase total to $2.1 billion, according to an earnings release. BP and ExxonMobil, the other large producers in the state, were set to issue their third quarter earnings reports Oct. 30 and Nov. 2, respectively. Specifically to Alaska, the company had pre-tax net income of $535 million in the third quarter. It estimated its tax and royalty payments to the state during the period at $321 million, according to Alaska spokeswoman Natalie Lowman. ConocoPhillips also spent $190 million of its $1.6 billion overall quarterly capital budget in the state, which brought its Alaska investment total to just more than $1 billion so far in 2018, Lowman noted. Year-to-date the company has made roughly $5.1 billion of capital investments worldwide, making Alaska about 20 percent of the company’s overall capital budget, which is on par with recent years. ConocoPhillips produced an average of 152,000 barrels of oil per day during the quarter, compared with 154,000 barrels per day for the same period in 2017. The company’s total production in Alaska — including natural gas and gas liquids — averaged 165,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day, which was about 13 percent of its global production for the quarter. Comparatively, Alaska accounted for 23 percent of ConocoPhillips net earnings for the period. Elwood Brehmer can be reached at [email protected]

Movers and Shakers for Oct. 28

KPMG LLP announced a hire and a promotion. Mike Fink was hired as an audit senior manager. Fink brings 14 years of accounting and advisory experience with a variety of organizations, including telecommunications and Alaska Native corporations. He was born and raised in Fairbanks and earned bachelor’s degrees in accounting and in finance from the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Melissa Jay was promoted to audit senior manager. Jay provides audit and accounting advisory services to several types of clients including Alaska Native corporations, not-for-profit organizations, and oil field service companies. Jay is also active in recruiting, frequently attending events at the University of Alaska Anchorage. She was raised in Anchorage and joined KPMG in 2011 after earning bachelor’s degrees in accounting and in finance from the University of Alaska Anchorage and a master’s degree in accounting from the University of Utah. Tom Garrett, PE, has joined global engineering, architecture, and consulting firm Stantec as a senior civil engineer in the firm’s transportation group in Anchorage. Garrett will apply his 20 years of experience to serve and expand the firm’s Alaska transportation practice. Garrett’s project design experience includes site development, road reconstruction and resurfacing, grading and drainage plans, retaining wall design and utility main extensions. Since joining Stantec, he has worked on a variety of projects, including those for the state, utilities and the oil and gas industry. Garrett holds bachelor’s degree from the University of Alaska Anchorage and is a member of the Institute of Transportation Engineers. Ahtna Inc. announce several new hires within its subsidiaries. Ahtna Environmental Inc., welcomes David Bennett to its team as business development director. With a bachelor’s degree in civil/environmental engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and 24 years of experience in understanding client operations, needs, planning, and project execution. Morgan Bruno, PE, joins Ahtna Engineering Services LLC as a project manager. Bruno is an environmental engineer with nine years of experience including preparation of remedial investigation/feasibility study-related documents; data evaluation; groundwater, surface water, soil, sediment, and vapor intrusion sampling; geoprobe, hollow stem auger, and sonic drilling oversight; risk analysis; non-aqueous phase liquid mobility analysis; and bench-scale treatability experiments, among others. She holds a master’s degree in chemical engineering from Oregon State University and a bachelor’s degree in biological and agricultural engineering from the University of Idaho. Michael Selhay joins Ahtna Environmental Inc., as a senior construction manager with more than 18 years of construction and management experience leading all phases of construction planning and development, design coordination, and contract administration. Selhay earned a bachelor’s of science degree in construction management from Arizona State University and attended the Del E. Webb School of Construction. Selhay was the Project Manager of the Alaska Vocational Technical Center Culinary Arts Facility Project and the Dormitory Replacement project in Seward, which both won the 2011 and 2013 Alaska General Contractor’s Challenge Award for the $5 million to $15M project category. Also joining Ahtna Environmental, Inc., is Nelson Crone as the firm’s GIS specialist. He works with Global Positioning System equipment and has provided operation, ArcCollector deployment and operation, ArcPad, and other various data collection techniques for field technicians. He works with remote sensing systems performing image analysis and has worked with UAV systems creating imagery products. He has also worked with SDSFIE database creation for federal projects and has worked with EQuIS databases for environmental data. Crone has a master’s degree in GIS for development and environment from Clark University and a bachelor’s of science degree in geography and environmental studies from the University of Alaska Fairbanks. PND Engineers Inc. announced several hires. Javed Miandad joins the Anchorage office as a geotechnical staff engineer. He recently completed his master’s degree in geological engineering at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, where he worked as a teaching assistant in the engineering geology and soil mechanics lab while conducting his master’s research on landslides in Interior Alaska. Miandad will oversee geotechnical efforts on projects and perform geotechnical explorations. Dominick Frank brings his geology background to PND’s geotechnical department. Frank received his bachelor’s degree in geology from Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colo. His background includes soils lab experience while at HDL Engineering Consultants and hydrographic survey experience gained at TerraSond. He also has experience working for construction contractors and holds AK-CESCL, OSHA, and HAZWOPER certificates. Frank will be tasked with running PND’s AASHTO-accredited Soils Material Lab and assisting with geotechnical tasks and other engineering fieldwork as necessary. Logan Imlach, EIT, was recently brought on as a structural staff engineer. Imlach graduated from University of Alaska Anchorage with a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering. He has 10 years of professional engineering experience, having previously worked as a construction project manager for Clark Management and as a project engineer for Parker Drilling. Imlach also worked as a design engineer for Armada Skis, where he was responsible for design and development of new ski models. His primary responsibilities with PND will include structural design for marine and oil and gas industry projects. Seth Anderson, PE, brings eight years of engineering experience to the Anchorage office. His background includes providing construction support for several major construction projects throughout Alaska — including the Akutan Airport design-build — while employed with Kiewit Infrastructure West, and working on civil projects in mining, power, and flood protection for Barr Engineering in Minnesota. Anderson’s primary responsibilities with PND will include civil design projects including road improvement design and plans and water, sewer, and stormwater system design. Andrew Reeves brings 15 years of IT experience to his position as a systems administrator for PND. His began his career as a computer repairman for a small family-owned shop when he was still in high school. He later joined the U.S. Marine Corps, serving for five years as a data systems and network specialist, and completing a tour of duty in the Helmand Province of Afghanistan. Most recently, Reeves was a systems technician for the Matanuska-Susitna Borough School District for three years. At PND, his responsibilities include maintaining all end-user hardware and software, and network and server hardware and software. Aaron Unterreiner has joined the Anchorage office as marketing coordinator. Unterreiner is originally from St. Louis, has a communications degree from Missouri State University, and started his career in Durango, Colo., where he worked at The Durango Herald as a sportswriter, sports editor, and news editor. Most recently, he was a copyeditor and a page designer for The McClatchy Company in Sacramento editing and designing news and sports content across all McClatchy newspapers. Unterreiner will assist in the development of competitive proposals, provide editing support to all departments, help maintain PND’s online presence, and participate in all marketing activities.

Mat-Su, Kenai boroughs continue sparring over LNG plant site

The Matanuska-Susitna and Kenai Peninsula boroughs continue to file comments with federal regulators as they each defend their own community as the best site for the proposed Alaska LNG project’s gas liquefaction plant and marine terminal. The Mat-Su Borough on Oct. 16 asked that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission request additional information from the state team leading the development, the Alaska Gasline Development Corp., “so that the commission can perform an adequate alternatives analysis related to the proposed liquefaction facility.” The borough is promoting its underused property at Port MacKenzie, across Knik Arm from Anchorage, as a better site for the LNG plant than Nikiski, on the Kenai Peninsula, which the project development team selected early in the planning process five years ago. The borough and AGDC have traded filings in the FERC docket the past few months, disputing the attributes — or detractions — of Port MacKenzie. The state corporation has provided FERC with multiple reasons why it believes Port MacKenzie is not a viable option to Nikiski. “Since AGDC continues to show an unwillingness to provide any information regarding Port MacKenzie unless specifically requested by the commission, the Matanuska-Susitna Borough respectfully requests that FERC consider issuing additional information requests to AGDC … to demonstrate why it prefers Nikiski over Port MacKenzie,” according to the filing. Among the questions the borough wants FERC to present to the state team are: • Why AGDC believes the existing road to the port is inadequate. • Why the Knik Arm Shoal shipping channel would need widening to accommodate the estimated 240 LNG carriers a year that would dock at Port MacKenzie. • And why the additional 116 miles for a round-trip voyage to Asia from Port MacKenzie rather than Nikiski “are material in light of the overall length of a trans-Pacific journey.” A few years ago, the project team — then led by North Slope producers ExxonMobil, BP and ConocoPhillips — acquired more than 600 acres of private land at Nikiski toward the final footprint of about 900 acres. The producers stopped buying land when they decided not to pursue the LNG project. AGDC, which took over project management, does not have money to buy the remaining acres at this time. The Kenai Peninsula Borough, in an Oct. 11 filing with FERC, argues that the commission “should defer to the selection” of Nikiski by the state, “unless there are clear and overwhelming environmental, social or safety reasons for rejecting the site — which there are not.” The Kenai Borough contends that since the Alaska Legislature created AGDC to develop a North Slope natural gas project, the corporation’s decision to go with Nikiski “is in effect a selection by the State of Alaska through its delegation of authority to the AGDC.” The Kenai Borough argued to FERC: “The Mat-Su Borough is therefore advocating for a site for the Alaska LNG Project that is contrary to the site preferred by AGDC, an instrumentality of the State of Alaska, the superior governmental body in Alaska.” FERC is scheduled to release its draft environmental impact statement for the Alaska project in February 2019, with the final EIS planned for release November 2019. However, in a letter to AGDC on Oct. 2, with 63 pages of follow-up questions and additional data requests, FERC cautioned that its EIS schedule is subject to change. Though some of the questions related to Port MacKenzie, most covered a wide range of other project design, construction and environmental issues. “You should be aware that the information described in the enclosure is necessary for us to continue preparation of the draft environmental impact statement,” FERC told the state team. “The forecasted schedule for both the draft and final EIS is based on AGDC providing complete and timely responses to this and any future data requests.” Federal law requires an environmental impact statement to review alternatives to multiple aspects of a project. In the case of Alaska LNG, that will include some pipeline routings, construction methods, river crossings — and the LNG plant site, too. If FERC stays on its EIS schedule, the full commission could vote on the state’s project application in February 2020. If AGDC can lock down investors, financing, LNG customers, firm sales agreements to buy gas from North Slope producers, and all the other pieces of the $43 billion project to move Alaska gas to market, the corporation could be in position to make a final investment decision after the FERC vote. However, without additional state funding from the legislature or private investors, AGDC could run out of money before January 2020. The corporation plans to make its pitch to investors by early 2019. In a Sept. 14 filing with FERC, the Mat-Su Borough went much further in its challenge, urging a stop to the EIS process. “FERC must not proceed with its review of AGDC’s application” until the state team “has presented a fair and accurate analysis of Port MacKenzie as an alternative site,” the borough said. The commission is not required to respond to the borough’s stop-action plea. In its Oct. 16 filing, the Mat-Su Borough did not repeat its call for FEERC to stop the environmental review process, blaming AGDC for any delays. “AGDC has caused undue delay and provided late filings as a result of its continued resistance to performing an adequate analysis of Port MacKenzie as an alternative site for the proposed liquefaction facility.” The borough said it is pushing FERC “to ensure that the draft environmental impact statement produced by the commission is based on accurate information relative to Port MacKenzie.” AGDC believes its analysis of Port MacKenzie is accurate, the corporation told FERC on Oct. 2. “The fact that the Matanuska-Susitna Borough disagrees with AGDC’s analysis does not indicate a lack of consultation or bad faith,” the state project team said. The borough’s assertions “are devoid of merit,” AGDC said. “The incendiary accusations are baseless, entirely inappropriate and should be disregarded.” Larry Persily is a former Alaska journalist, state and federal official who has long tracked oil and gas markets and projects worldwide.

Movers and Shakers for Oct. 21

Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities Statewide Airport Operations Superintendent Jeremy Worrall has been elected to the board of directors of the Northwest Chapter of the American Association of Airport Executives for 2018-19. The organization is made up of more than 300 aviation professionals from the states of Alaska, Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Colorado, Utah, Montana, Wyoming and western provinces of Canada. Its mission is to promote airports by developing, connecting, and educating aviation industry professionals. The Alaska Superintendents Association announced Andi Story of Juneau as recipient of the 2018 ASA Don MacKinnon Educational Excellence and Human Recognition Award. Story has been recognized as an outstanding school board member who has dedicated the past 15 years to public education through her service on the Juneau School District Board of Education. Story was part of a school board that established new higher standards for math and literacy, raised the credit requirements for graduation while at the same time increasing the graduation rate, increased teacher and staff professional development, improved student achievement and prepared graduates for post-secondary success. The MacKinnon Educational Excellence and Human Recognition Award was established in 1985 to recognize Don MacKinnon and his service to education in Alaska. MacKinnon was instrumental in forming a cooperative alliance among all school administrators and public education partners and was the first Executive Director of the Alaska Association of School Administrators now ASA and the Alaska Council of School Administrators. The Alaska Travel Industry Association announced its 2018 Visitor Industry Awards recipients at its annual convention in Fairbanks. Award winners are selected by visitor industry peers based on professional excellence and service to Alaska’s tourism industry. Alyeska Award: Lazy Otter Charters, Whittier; Chuck West Award: Alaska Photo Treks, Anchorage; Denali Award: Deb Hickok, Fairbanks; Lifetime Achievement Award: Dee Dee O’Brien, Anchorage; Special Recognition Award: UnCruise Adventures, Seattle; Spirit of Alaska Award: Northern Alaska Tour Co., Fairbanks; Stan Stephens Stewardship Award: Colleen Stephens, Valdez; Visitor Industry Hall of Fame Award: Steve Mahay, Talkeetna. The Alaska Travel Industry Association announced its 2018-19 board of directors on Oct. 11 at the ATIA Annual Convention in Fairbanks. The Executive Committee is: Chair Elizabeth Hall, John Hall’s Alaska Cruises &Tours; At-Large Vice Chair Dan Oberlatz, Alaska Alpine Adventures; Southwest Past Chair Dennis McDonnell, Alaska Coach Tours; Southeast Secretary/Membership Chair Holly Johnson, Wings of Alaska &Taku Glacier Lodge; Southeast Treasurer/Finance Chair Bill Pedlar, Knightly Tours; Outside Marketing Chair Colleen Stephens, Stan Stephens Glacier &Wildlife Cruises; At-Large Marketing Vice Chair Linda Springmann, Holland America Line; Outside Government Relations Chair Scott Habberstad, Alaska Airlines; Outside Tourism Policy &Planning Chair Patti Mackey, Ketchikan Visitors Bureau; Southeast President &CEO, Sarah Leonard, ATIA. The board of directors is: Bonnie Quill, Mat-Su Convention &Visitors Bureau, Southcentral; Brett Carlson, Northern Alaska Tour Co., Far North; Dave McGlothlin, Holland America Group, Outside; Deb Hickok, Explore Fairbanks, Interior; John Binkley, CLIA/Alaska Cruise Association, Riverboat Discovery; At Large Josh Howes, Premier Alaska Tours, Southcentral; Julie Saupe, Visit Anchorage, Southcentral; Kirk Hoessle, Alaska Wildland Adventures, At Large; Kory Eberhardt, A Taste of Alaska Lodge, Interior; Tennelle Peterson Wise, Grande Denali LLC, Interior. Northrim Bank announced Associate Vice President Jason Gentry as the new lending branch manager in Ketchikan. Gentry joins Northrim Bank with more than six years in the financial industry and 24 years in customer service in Alaska. A longtime Alaskan, Gentry grew up in Barrow/Utqiagvik and attended the University of Alaska Fairbanks. He has received multiple awards from Carrs/Safeway for customer service and profitability and was a member of the Wells Fargo “All Star” commercial loan production club. BLM seeks nominations for citizen councils The Bureau of Land Management in Alaska is reopening the public call for nominations for 10 open positions on its citizen-based advisory council. Resource Advisory Councils provide advice and recommendations for the BLM to consider on a range of resource and land management issues. The BLM maintains 38 such chartered advisory committees located in the West. Each Council consists of 10 to 15 members from diverse interests in local communities, and they assist in the development of committee recommendations that address public land management issues. RACs are critical in assisting the BLM in continuing to be a good neighbor in communities served by the Bureau. An individual may self-nominate or nominate others to serve on a council. Nominees must be residents of Alaska and will be reviewed on the basis of their training, education, and knowledge of the council’s geographic area. Nominees should also demonstrate a commitment to consensus building and collaborative decision-making. A letter of reference must accompany all nominations from any represented interests or organizations per the categories below, also a completed RAC application, and any other information that speaks to the nominee’s qualifications. The 10 positions open on the RAC are in the following categories: Category one: Public land ranchers and representatives of organizations associated with energy and mineral development, the commercial timber industry, transportation or rights-of-way, off-highway vehicle use, and commercial recreation. Category two: Representatives of nationally or regionally recognized environmental organizations, archaeological and historical organizations, dispersed recreation activities, and wild horse and burro organizations. Category three: Representatives of state, county, or local elected office; representatives and employees of a state agency responsible for the management of natural resources; representatives of Indian tribes within or adjacent to the area for which the RAC is organized, Alaska Natives as appropriate to the state of Alaska; representatives and employees of academic institutions who are involved in natural sciences; and the public-at-large. A term on a RAC is for three years. As published in a notice in the Oct. 1 Federal Register, the BLM will consider nominations for 30 days, until Oct. 31. There are six positions opening in 2018, and another four in 2019. Please send nominations by Oct. 31 to Lesli Ellis-Wouters: (907) 271-4418; [email protected]

Movers and Shakers for Oct. 14

Alaska USA Federal Credit Union announced that Stephanie Maxwell has been promoted to the position of vice president, digital channels. She was previously manager, digital channels. Maxwell brings a wealth of experience to the position, having started with Alaska USA as a teller and accepting positions of increased responsibility over her 10-year career with the credit union. The University of Alaska Anchorage Office of Alumni Relations and the UAA Alumni Association announced the recipients of the 2018 UAA Alumni of Distinction awards. These three distinguished UAA alumni were to be honored for their outstanding contributions to their chosen fields and communities at the university’s Homecoming Breakfast on Oct. 12 at Lucy Cuddy Hall on UAA’s campus. Jason Hart, clinical practice manager, Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium (BBA, 2007; MBA, 2010), received the Alumni Emerging Leader Award. Since 2008, Hart has served in varying capacities with Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium, leading to his current position as clinical practice manager. He also serves as acting vice president of medical and multi-specialty clinics at the Alaska Native Medical Center. Hart has a long record of devoting time as a volunteer through his efforts with the Food Bank of Alaska, Alaska State Commission for Human Rights and the Alaska Military Youth Academy. Hart is also a seven-year veteran in the National Guard where he received the Excellence Award for exemplary service. He was a member of the Alaska Journal of Commerce Top Forty Under 40 in 2016. Jocelyn “Josie” Wilson, director of strategic communications, HDR Inc. (MBA, 2009) received the Alumni Humanitarian Award. Prior to her current role at architecture firm HDR, Wilson was the director of community relations and development for the Salvation Army. She is a prominent figure in the not-for-profit sector, having worked with organizations such as the Anchorage Police and Fire Chaplains, Alaska Center for the Performing Arts, Anchorage Petroleum Women’s Association and American Cancer Society. Wilson has received awards for her community work and leadership, including the 2017 Heart of Gold Award from the HCA Corp., the 2015 Dale Carnegie Highest Award of Achievement, and was named to the Alaska Journal of Commerce Top Forty Under 40 in 2011. Jennifer Thompson, President and CEO, Thompson &Co. Public Relations, received the Alumni of Achievement Award. Thompson began her career as an intern at the Anchorage PR firm Bernholz &Graham in 1999. She worked her way to becoming president of the company in 2009 and purchased the agency in 2009, renaming it Thompson &Co. as it’s known today. Under her leadership, the firm has grown to add offices in Houston and New York City. Thompson has received numerous accolades throughout her 18-year career, including being honored as the 2016 Alumni of the Year from UAA’s Department of Journalism and Public Communications, being named one of PR News’ Top 50 Women in PR in 2015, and being inducted into the Anchorage Athena Society in 2016. In recognition of decades of service to survivors of domestic violence, Attorney General Jahna Lindemuth presented Michael Gershel with the Attorney General’s Award for Pro Bono Service at the Domestic Violence Action Month opening ceremonies. Since the legal organizations began keeping records in 2000, Gershel has personally represented clients in seven pro bono cases through the Alaska Network on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault and 14 cases through Alaska Legal Services Corp. In addition, he has often used his expertise in family law to mentor other attorneys who volunteer to work for these providers but who do not have the same level of experience. In 2003, Gershel received the Alaska Bar Association’s Pro Bono Lifetime Achievement Award. Michael is also affiliated with the Alaska Association of Collaborative Professionals. Alaska Pediatric Surgery, the state’s only locally owned, full-time pediatric surgical practice, welcomed Dr. Jarod McAteer as a new pediatric surgeon. McAteer joined the practice from a pediatric surgery fellowship at Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, D.C. He joins Dr. Brent Roaten and Dr. Monja Proctor and becomes the third pediatric surgeon in Alaska. Originally from Casper, Wyo., McAteer earned his medical degree from the University of Washington School of Medicine, a master of public health in epidemiology from the University of Washington School of Public Health and a bachelor of science in molecular, cellular and developmental biology from Yale University. He completed residency at the University of Washington and a two-year research fellowship at Seattle Children’s Hospital. Most recently, McAteer completed a pediatric surgery fellowship at the Children’s National Health System in Washington, D.C. The Rasmuson Foundation hired program officer Jeff Baird as its first chief of staff to coordinate the work of the finance and administration, program, and external affairs units. Baird grew up in a suburb of Chicago and started his working life as a newspaper reporter in Minnesota and North Dakota. He went back to school in 2005 and earned his law degree from the University of St. Thomas School of Law in Minneapolis. He arrived in Alaska in 2008 for a yearlong judicial clerkship in the Southwestern hub in Bethel and took a second clerkship in Anchorage. He landed at the Foundation in 2011 as a program associate and until now has stayed with the program team, which handles grant-making. He became a program officer and began handling larger grants as well as other projects. He’s handled grant requests for health clinics and the Alaska Cares child advocacy center, for historic buildings and library improvements. He helped to restructure the Foundation’s arts program and is one of two program officers who leads the Foundation’s Individual Artist Awards, with 350 to 450 artists a year applying for up to 36 awards.

COMMENTARY: A reasonable approach to protecting Alaska’s wild salmon and habitat

I’ve always considered living in Alaska special. While I grew up in a big city, I fell in love with the outdoors as a biology major, and was thrilled to land a job with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Better yet, I treasured the opportunity, along with my husband, to have raised our two kids — now in their 20s — surrounded by world-class outdoor recreational opportunities and an appreciation for being able to catch and eat wild salmon amidst incredibly beautiful surroundings. I spent 19 years as Field Supervisor for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Anchorage Field Office, where we evaluated how proposed water projects could impact our state’s fish and wildlife, and how to best mitigate those impacts. I also oversaw the Service’s fish habitat restoration projects throughout Southcentral and Western Alaska. From that vantage point, I see Ballot Measure 1 as a balanced, reasonable, and responsible approach to protect wild salmon and their habitats, while supporting sustainable job opportunities for all Alaskans. The Alaska departments of Fish and Game and Environmental Conservation, along with other federal agencies, were typically a partner in those project reviews I mentioned. But over the years, the state’s involvement shrunk, as state budgets shrunk. Meanwhile, the need for close scrutiny for large projects in fish habitat has grown with the increased scale of recent projects. Ballot Measure 1 will right-size state involvement in developments around Alaska. Its tiered system ensures projects meeting specific scientific criteria would not need a permit and would proceed as they now do. Others would require either minor or major habitat permits depending on established standards. It would also allow general permits for similar activities that would not cause significant adverse effects and where such effects can be avoided by certain conditions and stipulations. This is similar to the general permit process for wetlands developments in Anchorage that has been effectively implemented by the municipality over the past few decades. Ballot Measure 1 will rightfully shift the greatest onus to the developers whose proposals would cause the greatest impacts to our anadromous habitats. It provides an opportunity for public input on those very large, high-impact projects. Also important, Ballot Measure 1 will require a realistic performance bond to restore habitats where permittees are not in compliance with required permit conditions and stipulations. Let’s look at habitat impacts and restoration. The cost and feasibility of restoration is steep. From 2011-16, one program, the National Fish Habitat Partnership and its partners, invested nearly $14 million in habitat restoration projects just in Bristol Bay, the Mat-Su, and the Kenai. Fish habitat restoration in the Copper River Delta, Buskin River Watershed, and Kenai Peninsula is being been funded with over $22 million of Exxon Valdez Oil Spill funding for fiscal years 2015-22. While significant, available funds only address some current restoration needs, for example, about 20 percent of blocked crossings on the Kenai. In the Mat-Su, over $6 million was required from fiscal years 2005-13 to address about 20 percent of blocked salmon streams. These projects primarily restore relatively small sections of stream banks, replace poorly designed culverts blocking fish, and remove other barriers to upstream fish passage. None involve major mining projects or other extensive habitat alterations from one single project. We do not even know if it is ecologically feasible to restore salmon habitats that are strip-mined or undergo major changes over a larger area. Look at the billions of dollars that have been spent — with little success — on salmon restoration in the Pacific Northwest. Once the habitat is gone, populations are gone. Given the high stakes, the state’s estimated $2.75 million cost for implementing Ballot Measure 1 would be a shrewd, proactive investment. That money will be spent on biologists, managers, and engineers to conduct the careful analyses, determine needed conditions, and develop the permits for major projects. Those analyses will protect the thousands of rural residents for whom salmon is a primary, reliable, affordable, and nutritious food source. Implementing Ballot Measure 1 will safeguard more than 30,000 jobs that directly depend on Alaska’s fisheries— our largest private sector employer. And it’s insurance for the $1.4 billion in fishing recreation economy that’s driven by outside visitors to Alaska. It ensures the continued place for our salmon resources in the culture and lifestyles of nearly ALL Alaskans — including our children. Salmon are a renewable resource — as long as we take care of their habitats. That is what Ballot Measure 1 will do, and that is why I encourage you to help pass it by voting Yes on November 6. ^ Ann Rappoport is a 39-year Alaska resident, now retired after a 33-year career with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Alaska, including 19 years as Field Supervisor in the Anchorage Fish and Wildlife Field Office.

Movers and Shakers for Oct. 7

KeyBank has promoted Jesse Wolf to commercial analyst, a role in which he will assist with client and sales support to Alaska’s Commercial Bank relationship team. He has served as a branch manager since 2008. In that position, he was accountable for soliciting consumer and business accounts to grow branch profitability and was consistently honored as a top producer in Key’s Alaska district. He began his career with Alaska USA Federal Credit Union before moving to KeyBank, and held FINRA–Series 6 and Series 63 licenses. Rural Alaska Community Action Program, Inc. named L. Tiel Smith the new chief operating officer in August. Smith brings more than 15 years of management and strategic leadership experience to the agency which works to improve the quality of life for low-income Alaskans. The COO is responsible for strategic planning, process improvement, and compliance, along with the agency’s accreditation maintenance through the Council on Accreditation. Prior to accepting the COO position, Smith was a consultant specializing in corporate strategic planning, land and resource management, and information technology solutions; the general manager of Bristol Alliance Fuels; and vice-president of Lands and Natural Resources at Bristol Bay Native Corp. Additionally, he served as the BBNC corporate information technology director. Originally from Dillingham, Smith is an Aleut shareholder of BBNC and Choggiung Ltd. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Utah State University and an MBA from Alaska Pacific University. Nathan Dennis joinedR&M Consultants Inc. as an environmental specialist in the Environmental Services Group. His experience includes gathering environmental baseline data, Phase I and II ESAs, storm water management and field environmental services. He previously worked for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game where he was involved with numerous fish habitat preservation and erosion mitigation projects. His work there included gathering environmental baseline data to assist with erosion mitigation on the Talchulitna River; reviewing and editing EIS documents for the Kasilof River; and conducting fish sampling, counting and other relevant environmental baseline data about the salmon run in the Judd Lake fish weir. He also compiled ESA Phase I information and dealt with regulatory permitting restrictions for land use in that area. Since joining R&M, Dennis has supported environmental efforts for the Interior Alaska Veterans Cemetery, UAA campus well permitting, Port of Alaska and Alaska Aerospace Corp. environmental assessment reevaluation. Nathan has a bachelor’s degree in environmental science from the University of Idaho. First National Bank Alaska announced several personnel moves. Pamela Keeler was named compliance senior legal counsel and appointed senior vice president. Her legal expertise is rooted in a diverse education, with a number of degrees in political science-public service, education and law from the University of California Davis, Western Washington University and University of the Pacific’s McGeorge School of Law. With more than 16 years of financial experience, Stephanie Daniels is Cash Management’s newest services specialist and was appointed business development officer. A decorated Army veteran, Rob Parrish was appointed branch manager of the Sitka Branch. A graduate of the bank’s Management Associate Program, Parrish spent time honing his financial skills in Anchorage, Bethel, Eagle River, Kenai, Palmer and Wasilla. Trust Account Administrator Amy Robinson, appointed to trust officer, has extensive knowledge in complex commercial transactions and consumer finance regulation. Aldrich CPAs + Advisors hired Lia Patton, CPA, in its Anchorage office. Patton brings with her nearly two decades of experience in audit and accounting and a unique knowledge of the Alaska business community. Patton oversees federal and State of Alaska single audits, as well as audits for Alaska Native corporations, nonprofit entities, and employee benefit plans. An Anchorage resident for more than 20 years, Patton was a partner at BDO LLP’s Anchorage office, formerly Mikunda Cottrell and Co.

Trustees keep up push for inflation-proofing Permanent Fund

Those closest to the Permanent Fund are beginning to talk more openly about their wishes for the $65 billion endowment as its management becomes increasingly politicized. Alaska Permanent Fund Corp. staff recommended to the Board of Trustees Sept. 26 that the board approve a resolution urging legislators to fortify protections against gradual degradation of the Fund’s value. The resolution reemphasized two that the seven trustees approved during their 2017 annual meeting. Last year’s resolutions requested legislation to prioritize the amount needed to inflation-proof the corpus of the Fund before the tally of its statutory net income — gains or losses — every year. Permanent Fund Corp. CEO Angela Rodell said the current state law definition of the Fund’s “net income” is not accounting based. “This would subtract inflation-proofing from the statutory net income and allow it to stay back” in the corpus, Rodell explained. Rodell has expressed concern — as several of the trustees did during the meeting — that not making an annual transfer from the Earnings Reserve Account to the corpus puts the Fund’s long-term health in jeopardy. The Earnings Reserve Account is where the Fund’s annual earnings are deposited in most years, and where investment losses are pulled from in rare bad years. It can be spent via a majority vote of the Legislature; the corpus is constitutionally protected from being spent. APFC Trustee and former Natural Resources Commissioner Marty Rutherford said the board needs to remind legislators that they have a responsibility to manage the fund for future Alaskans, not just present-day challenges. For years, the Legislature made the inflation-proofing appropriation without issue. However, legislators declined to approve the transfer in fiscal years 2016-2018 as they debated whether or not to utilize a portion of the Fund’s earnings for government spending. And while they made $942 million inflation-proofing payment to the corpus last year, they rejected Gov. Bill Walker’s proposal to make the retroactive payments and now the precedent to not make they appropriation has been set. “I think what we’re saying is because you haven’t inflation-proofed for three years we want the law to change so that inflation-proofing occurs automatically,” trustee and former Attorney General Craig Richards said. Richards was also elected chairman of the APFC board on Sept. 27. The board ultimately tabled the issue until a later date, which was done at Richards’ request despite his support for the resolution. He asked for a one-day late October work session for the board to draft additional recommendations for the Legislature on how it deals with the Fund. In a brief interview, Richards said he wants the trustees to form a concise message about the need for sticking to sustainable draws from the Permanent Fund, avoiding ad-hoc appropriations from the Earnings Reserve and predictability in how the Fund will be used. “Follow whatever formulas are on the books,” he said. In May, legislators passed legislation establishing an annual 5.25 percent of market value, or POMV, draw from the Fund to pay both Permanent Fund dividends and support government services. The POMV draw will automatically be reduced to 5 percent per year after three years, but several of the trustees noted that changes are likely coming to Senate Bill 26 — the law that established it — in the next legislative session that starts in January. While the Alaska Supreme Court ruled unanimously in August 2017 that the Legislature’s power of appropriation supersedes it’s need to follow other laws it has passed, Permanent Fund managers have consistently stressed a worry that shifting politics will play into how the state spends money from the Earnings Reserve. Not knowing what will be asked of them and how much money will be needed at a given time hampers their ability to protect the Fund’s investments and maximize its earning potential, they contend. ^ Elwood Brehmer can be reached at [email protected]

Movers and Shakers for Sept. 30

Elliott Bay Design Group has added Sarah Nichols as a full-time marine engineer to its Ketchikan office. Nichols will provide onsite technical engineering support to some of the firm’s major clients. Her background includes six years of project engineer and project management experience within a shipyard environment. Dick Stallone, owner of Stallones in Anchorage was recently elected to a one-year term as vice president of the NW Buyers board of directors. Founded in 1920, with a membership of more than 300 independent men’s clothing stores, NW Buyers is the oldest and largest menswear buying group in the United States. The organization is owned by its member stores and operated solely for their benefit. NW Buyers corporate offices are located in Plymouth, Minn. The 2018 YWCA Alaska/BP Women of Achievement awardees have been selected. An independent selection committee chose to recognize the following ten women who have demonstrated qualities of leadership and excellence in their professional and personal endeavors, as well as their contributions to the larger community. Now in its 29th year, this award has been presented to more than 300 women who devoted their lives to positively impacting the community, many of whom continue to work toward eliminating racism and empowering women throughout Alaska. The 2018 Awardees are: Amy Coffman, special assistant at Municipality of Anchorage-Office of the Mayor; Col. Patricia Csànk, Commander, 673d Air Base Wing, Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson; Ella Goss, CEO of Providence Alaska Medical Center; Mary Katzke, producer and executive director of Affinityfilms; Heather Kendall-Miller, senior staff attorney at Native American Rights Fund; Lourdes “Lo” Linato-Crawford, board president at Bridge Builders of Anchorage; Beth Rose, vice president of Alaska Community Foundation; Doreen Schenkenberger, executive director of Partners for Progress; Krista Scully, Pro Bono director of Alaska Bar Association; Aliy Zirkle, Iditarod musher and owner of SP Kennels. These women will be honored at the Annual YWCA Alaska/BP Women of Achievement &Youth Awards on Nov. 7 at the Alaska Center for the Performing Arts Discovery Theatre. Chip Arnold has been appointed chief operating officer of the Alaska SeaLife Center. Arnold joined ASLC 17 years ago in the IT department, but has served the Center in many ways from facilities to oiled wildlife response. Arnold was promoted to COO from his most recent position as Operations director. In this new position, Arnold will be in charge of daily ASLC operations and oversee Human Resources, Husbandry, and Operations (Life Support, Security, and Custodial). He will also continue to serve as the Dive Safety officer and manage Oiled Wildlife Response Programs.

As more than 3,500 delegates gathered in Barcelona for Gastech, the world’s largest natural gas conference, a continent away in Beijing, capital of the world’s largest energy consumer, the government on Sept. 18 ordered a 10 percent tariff on U.S. liquefied natural gas deliveries to China. It’s not easy to upstage a conference that promoted more than 700 exhibitors, 350 speakers and 250 presentations, but the escalating U.S.-China trade fight made headlines that day. “Ultimately, China has a lot of growth in its LNG demand and the U.S. is a very material source of supply, so having an impediment stopping the two from getting together … that creates an inefficiency in the market, and no one wins from that,” Steve Hill, an executive vice president in Shell’s unit that provides natural gas and LNG, as well as marketing and trading services, told S&P Global Platts an interview on the sidelines of the conference. Few analysts said they expect any impact on global prices in the near term, but longer term many said it will make it harder for proposed U.S. LNG projects to line up customers in China and to secure financing. “The bigger implication will be on the launching of new projects,” Hill said. The longer the trade dispute lasts, the less likely that U.S. projects will find financial backers, said Charlie Riedl, executive director of the Center for Liquefied Natural Gas, a U.S. industry group, speaking with Reuters from Barcelona. China’s decision to impose tariffs, which took effect Sept. 24, means LNG is no longer an “innocent bystander” in the trade fight between the two countries, Riedl told S&P Global Platts. “There is a realistic possibility getting to FID (final investment decision) will be difficult,” he said of the multiple U.S. export projects in various stages of planning, design and permitting. “While we would like to see this resolved quickly, I don’t see that happening right now.” But what may be bad for U.S. gas producers and project developers could be good for other LNG suppliers. “Long-term implication is Chinese money is likely to look to countries they feel they can rely on for gas supply — and that is good news for most of the new non-U.S. LNG projects,” Trevor Sikorski, head of gas research at consultancy Energy Aspects, told the Wall Street Journal. “The tariffs will push Chinese buyers to other sellers in Asia and the Middle East because the U.S. will no longer be considered a low-cost option,” said Ira Joseph, head of gas and power analytics at S&P Global Platts. An October cargo out of Cheniere Energy’s terminal in Sabine Pass, La., fetches $9.04 per million Btu in Guandong Dapeng, China, reported S&P Global Platts Analytics. By comparison, a Qatari cargo to the same port goes for $10.48. A 10 percent tariff would make the U.S. gas less competitive. Speaking at Gastech before China’s announcement, Saad Sherida Al-Kaabi, CEO of Qatar Petroleum, the biggest LNG exporter in the world, said the tariff might help his company but could hurt the industry. “I don’t think that long-term it’s good for the market to have politics and to have taxation on a very important basic requirement for humanity, which is energy,” he said. China ordered the tariff on LNG and a list of more than 5,000 other U.S. products in retaliation for President Donald Trump’s decision a day earlier to impose a 10 percent tariff on $200 billion a year worth of Chinese products imported by the United States, climbing to 25 percent by the end of the year. The 10 percent tariff on U.S. LNG could have been worse — China originally had threatened a 25 percent levy. China is the world’s second-largest LNG buyer and expected to eventually overtake Japan for the No. 1 spot. The nation of almost 1.5 billion people is looking to use more gas and less coal to clean up its notoriously polluted air. The United States, the world’s largest gas producer, has been looking to China as a prime market for export sales. “In the 12 months up until June 2018, China was the second-largest buyer of U.S. LNG, accounting for approximately three million tonnes per year,” Wood Mackenzie research director Giles Farrer said in a note following the tariff order. “There has likely been some longstanding damage done to the perception of reliability of U.S. LNG supply in the eyes of Chinese buyers who will shape the next wave of global LNG projects,” Saul Kavonic, Credit Suisse Group’s director of Asia energy research, was quoted by Bloomberg the day after the news. About 15 U.S. LNG export projects are targeting a final investment decision this year and next. “It is hard to see any of these hopeful projects getting another Chinese buyer signed up for long-term volumes,” Sikorski told Bloomberg. Hours before the tariff news, Laszlo Varro, chief economist at the Paris-based International Energy Agency, told CNBC news at Gastech that a lack of export capacity could force curtailment in the U.S. shale gas boom. “Without additional investments into American liquefied natural gas projects, the American gas industry will have to keep gas in the ground, which would be … economically quite disruptive,” Varro said. A week before Gastech, a senior U.S. Department of Energy official told a Senate committee: “Every molecule of energy that the United States exports is exporting freedom to the world.” Putting that statement in the context of the U.S.-China trade war, a columnist for the London-based Financial Times quoted Nikos Tsafos, a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C.: “This idea that the U.S. is exporting freedom has been somewhat premised on the notion that U.S. LNG is somewhat better, or less risky, than other gas. I think that has been a very difficult thing to say over the past 18 months.” The world has more than enough LNG, the columnist noted, giving China the freedom to choose where to buy gas. Larry Persily is a former Alaska journalist, state and federal official who has long tracked oil and gas markets and projects worldwide.

Growing pains: License delays, enforcement issues irritating marijuana businesses

KENAI — Two years after the state’s first cannabis entrepreneurs received their licenses, business owners are still wrestling with hangups in the regulatory system. Long waits for licenses, complex enforcement questions and expensive requirements are common in Alaska’s cannabis business, frustrating some entrepreneurs. For some, it boils down to what they consider unreasonable obstacles to commerce, and wasn’t what they pictured when Proposition 2 passed in 2014 to legalize recreational cannabis. As of Aug. 15, about 80 would-be licensees were waiting on review through the state Alcohol and Marijuana Control Office. Though state statutes says they should be granted in about 90 days, most of them will likely be waiting for three to five months to even be reviewed, according to a director’s report from AMCO Director Erika McConnell to the Marijuana Control Board for its upcoming Oct. 16 meeting. For Dollynda Phelps of Nikiski, who co-owns limited cultivation business Peace Frog Botanicals, that time is money. She’s been waiting on a standard cultivation license for six months now, and every one of those months, she has been paying rent on a facility for the standard cultivation business, which she’s required to prove she has as part of a complete application. “I put in my application in March and I’m still waiting, and the whole time I’m paying rent and insurance on a building I’m not using,” she said. “There are hundreds of us now, waiting.” The license wait is unacceptable, she said. After the first round of licenses were approved in June 2016, the wait time has steadily increased, occasionally topping a year. Some of that comes down to manpower. Both McConnell and her predecessor, former AMCO director Cynthia Franklin, have cited heavy workloads on a limited staff contributing to wait times. AMCO agrees that the wait is too long. In her director’s report, McConnell wrote that license examiners are spending “an inordinate amount of time” going back and forth with licensees to hammer out pieces of applications that are missing or incomplete. “This can mean that an examiner and an applicant go back and forth on their application documents multiple times,” she wrote. “Sometimes an applicant is resistant to the advice from the examiner, although the examiner is only trying to help the applicant be successful, as the examiners pay attention to what the board comments on in applications.” Staffing has been an issue since the very beginning for the marijuana licensing office, which was born out of the office and staff that previously only managed alcohol licenses and enforcement. A separate board was created, but the director and the staff remained the same with promises of future staff additions. Those staff members haven’t yet materialized, leaving the existing staff with double the work they had before, said Cary Carrigan, the executive director of the industry group the Alaska Marijuana Industry Association. Securing more staff for the office has been one of the association’s goals for a while, he said. Though the industry is raking in money and the program is supposed to cover the office and board’s expenses, the approximately $12.8 million in tax revenue collected from cultivators by the state goes to the general fund and has to be appropriated by the Legislature to the individual departments, so it doesn’t go specifically to AMCO for administering the marijuana program. So frustration mounts on both sides, with unreasonable workloads for the staff and compounding expenses for businesses still waiting on licenses, he said. “It’s my opinion and the opinion of the AMIA board that the (licensing wait time) is an undue burden,” he said. “But what’s the fix?” Licensing isn’t the only thing keeping AMCO busy, though. With the proliferation of businesses and activity, the enforcement side — which covers both alcohol and marijuana licensees — has been busy, too. At an industry meeting among Kenai Peninsula cannabis business owners and employees, many commented that current regulations are unclear, and enforcement agents award notices of violation for items the owners or employees may not have known were against the rules. Obtaining too many violations can result in penalty actions from the board or issues with renewing licenses in the future. The majority of inspections don’t result in a notice of violation, according to a report from AMCO Enforcement Supervisor James Hoelscher to the Marijuana Control Board for the Oct. 16 meeting. The number of them is declining as more business owners learn the rules and the board process, but the amount is still concerning, Carrigan said — if the federal government looks at those numbers and considers them a sign of an unruly cannabis industry, it could jeopardize the state’s control, he said. Cannabis has only been legal for recreational use in the state for a little less than four years, so public opinions are still changing, industry participants are still learning to trust regulators and enforcement officers after being illegal operators for decades, and regulators are still feeling out the best practices for monitoring the industry, Carrigan said. “(The industry members) just need to be sure we’re being heard with one voice,” he said. “A dozen people yelling form the rafters is just a cacophony … We’re trying to move incrementally forward.” The Kenai Peninsula operators have a small laundry list of other issues as well, including increased retention time for security footage, enforcement opposing the exchange of seeds — which cultivators want to use to expand their grow operations and diversify their strains — and plan to request a review of the board’s recently passed requirement for testing on all cannabis trim. The change increases costs for operators by requiring an additional testing fee. Most trim is reprocessed into another product that will also be tested for quality and safety, so the operators feel it’s unnecessary. Phelps said the burden will affect limited cultivation operations significantly, as they don’t have the economy of scale to absorb the cost. And when they can’t swallow the cost, they go under or pass the cost to consumers, which pushes prices up and may encourage them to go back toward the black market for cannabis, where it is not tested or tracked. The Marijuana Control Board will meet Oct. 16-17 in Kenai at 145 Main Street Loop. ^ Elizabeth Earl can be reached at [email protected]

Movers and Shakers for Sept. 23

Bobbie Sue Wolk, MS, PCC, BCC, owner of Rosewood Coaching, and the first International Coaching Federation executive coach in the state of Alaska, recently passed the Health and Wellness Coach Certifying Examination to become National Board Certified for Health and Wellness Coaches. The exam is provided by the Int’l Consortium of Health &Wellness Coaching in partnership with the National Board of Medical Examiners, the same board that certifies physicians. Wolk is able to establish health and wellness corporate programs, and increase participation for those companies with already established programs. Donald “Ralph” Gibbs was appointed as the new director of the Municipality of Anchorage’s Merrill Field, effective Sept. 24. Gibbs comes to the MOA from the University of Alaska Anchorage, where he’s served as the director of Aviation since 2016. He has more than 30 years of experience in the field — both civilian and military — and holds an MBA from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. Central Council of Tlingit &Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska announced that Executive Council 5th Vice President Ralph Wolfe and Cultural Heritage and Education Manager Sarah Dybdahl have been selected by the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development to receive the prestigious “Native American 40 Under 40” award. Wolfe was born and raised in Craig on Prince of Wales Island. He is both Tlingit and Haida and his Tlingit name is Góos’k’ and he is Eagle Frog of the Kooskadee clan. Prior to being elected to the Executive Council in 2016, Wolfe served as Tlingit &Haida’s youth representative and Sealaska’s youth advisor. Wolfe has been a Tlingit &Haida Delegate since 2014 and represents the Tribe on the United States Forest Service Sea Otter Steering Committee, Indigenous People’s Council for Marine Mammals and Rural Alaska Community Action Program Inc. Dybdahl grew up in Klawock and holds a bachelor’s degree in anthropology from Southern Oregon University. Her Tlingit name is Aanshawatk’i and she is from the Taakw.aaneidi clan. Dybdahl formerly served as the executive director of Huna Heritage Foundation as well as on the Alaska Federation of Natives board of directors as the Southeast Village Representative and Native Americans in Philanthropy Board. She worked more than 15 years in various capacities for Sealaska and Sealaska Heritage Institute and currently serves on the Klawock Heenya Corporation board of directors. Alaska Executive Search announced two new hires for staffing professionals. Drew Sharp arrived in Alaska from Washington State, where he worked as a case manager and a healthcare recruiter. He earned his degree in psychology from the University of California Santa Cruz. A fourth-generation Alaskan, Stevie Collins was hired for the Mat-Su Valley. She has more than 10 years of medical experience working in multiple specialties. Tiffany Tutiakoff, president and CEO of Anchorage-based communications firm Northwest Strategies, has been named as a 2018 winner of the Native American 40 Under 40 award. Award winners will be honored at the River Spirit Casino Resort in Tulsa, Okla. on Oct. 29-30 at the event, “Impacting Generations: Honoring a Decade of Exceptional Service and Leadership.” Tutiakoff was named to the Alaska Journal of Commerce Top Forty Under 40 in 2013.

Movers and Shakers for Sept. 16

Alex Slivka was appointed as the chief fiscal officer for the Municipality of Anchorage, effective Oct. 15. Slivka comes to the municipality from McKinley Capital Management LLC, where he served in various leadership capacities. Slivka has more than 35 years of experience in the financial industry and is an active member of a number of community organizations. The Mat-Su Health Foundation has hired Colleen Andrews and Bailey Larousse to support the work of its R.O.C.K. Mat-Su (Raising Our Children with Kindness) collaborative project. Andrews is the organization’s social connections coordinator, and Larousse serves as youth leadership coordinator. Andrews is responsible for identifying, inventorying and promoting a robust and updated database of local social and recreational activities. The database is housed within Connect Mat-Su, a new community resource center network recently established by the Mat-Su Health Foundation. Andrews has previously held positions in corporate compliance, human resources and administration. She earned an associate’s degree in business management from Everest University. Larousse is an AmeriCorps member assigned to and funded by the Mat-Su Health Foundation and serves as youth leadership council coordinator for R.O.C.K. Mat-Su. She is responsible for creating a youth leadership council and managing training, enrichment, and outreach for council members. She also works to enhance collaborations with other non-profits and coalitions surrounding youth voice and issues. Larousse graduated from Mat-Su Central School in 2018 and is attending University of Alaska Anchorage. The Alaska Public Interest Research Group hired Veri di Suvero as executive director. di Suvero will focus on engaging citizens across Alaska on public interest and consumer protection issues, including net neutrality, Census 2020 and redistricting, and utility efficiency. di Suvero has worked with various community and governmental stakeholders on Alaska Native language revitalization as well as language access policy with the Welcoming Anchorage initiative. AKPIRG was founded in 1974 as a non-profit, non-partisan, citizen-oriented statewide organization focused on researching, educating, and advocating on behalf of the public interest. John Hall’s Alaska was named “Most Outstanding Small Group Tour Provider 2018” by Corporate Vision Magazine. For more than 35 years, family-owned, family-operated John Hall’s Alaska has provided an authentic Alaska experience by land, air and sea. By limiting all tours to 28 to 42 passengers, John Hall’s Alaska gains access to remote parts of the state and allow John Hall’s Alaska to cater to the individual traveler’s needs and desires. Although John Hall’s Alaska is best known for its Signature Series “Untamed Alaska,” Denali Explorer” and “Grand Slam Alaska,” tours, the company also offers group tours as part of its Alaska Highway Experience, Adventure Series and Winter Series. In response to client feedback and the growing popularity of winter travel, John Hall’s Alaska now offers two 2019 winter itineraries that include winter adventure days and up to seven nights of northern lights viewing. Alaska USA Federal Credit Union has selected Sharlyn Ruyan for the position of vice president, Member Service Center. Ruyan has worked at Alaska USA for more than nine years, most recently as manager, Member Service Center. She is a graduate of the 2017 Victor Valley Chamber of Commerce Leadership program. Alaska USA Financial Planning and Investment Services’ Michael Klopfer, who has more than 15 years of experience, has earned his Certified Financial Planner designation. The CFP mark is recognized as the highest standard in personal financial planning. Investment advisors who earn the CFP have met the rigorous requirements of the CFP Board and set the standard for responsible and ethical financial planning.

ExxonMobil signs gasline agreements with state

Two out of three ain’t bad, but there is still a lot of work ahead for the Alaska Gasline Development Corp. The state agency in charge of putting together the $43 billion Alaska LNG Project signed a gas sales precedent agreement with ExxonMobil on Sept. 10, meaning two of the three major North Slope natural gas holders have now agreed to key gas pricing and volume terms with AGDC. Those exact terms are confidential, but Gov. Bill Walker said in a formal statement the agreement “means Alaska is one step closer to monetizing the North Slope’s vast and proven natural gas resources.” ExxonMobil operates the Point Thomson gas field and holds a 62 percent stake in the unit (with BP owning nearly all of the remaining share), which sits east of Prudhoe Bay on state land near the edge of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. The company also holds a 36 percent interest in the Prudhoe Bay field. With roughly 28 trillion cubic feet of gas available from Prudhoe and another 8 tcf in Point Thomson, ExxonMobil has rights to nearly 15 tcf of North Slope gas. “This precedent agreement is good for Alaska and ExxonMobil and represents a significant milestone to help advance the state-led gasline project,” ExxonMobil Alaska President Darlene Gates said in an AGDC release. “As the largest holder of discovered gas resources on the North Slope, ExxonMobil has been working for decades to tackle the challenges of bringing Alaska’s gas to market.” The announcement with ExxonMobil means ConocoPhillips is the only major North Slope producer to not yet sign a preliminary gas deal with AGDC. BP and AGDC reached a similar agreement in early May on binding price and volume terms; however, there are numerous finer financial and technical points to be addressed before final gas sales agreements are signed. ExxonMobil’s gas sales precedent agreement — like BP’s — calls for gas to be sold into to the large North Slope gas treatment plant that would be the start of the 807-mile gas pipeline and LNG export project. AGDC spokesman Jesse Carlstrom said the state-owned corporation is actively engaged in similar discussions with ConocoPhillips. Department of Natural Resources Commissioner Andy Mack said in an interview that final gas sales agreements would likely be signed nearly in concurrence with a final investment decision on the overall Alaska LNG Project. “It brings the firepower and brand name of ExxonMobil to the project,” Mack said as AGDC officials begin their major push to attract third-party investors to the project. In a separate but related development, Mack and Attorney General Jahna Lindemuth also signed what is being called a “letter of understanding” with ExxonMobil and BP Alaska leaders on Sept. 10 to suspend key provisions of the 2012 Point Thomson Settlement Agreement as they work on Alaska LNG. The letter removes the requirement for ExxonMobil, as the Point Thomson operator, to move forward with a plan to expand production at the field in a way that doesn’t jive with feeding the LNG project. Before ExxonMobil signed the letter with the state, the 2012 Settlement Agreement signed by then-DNR Commissioner and current Sen. Dan Sullivan required the company to make a final decision on how to increase production at Point Thomson by Dec. 31, 2019. Specifically, it prescribes that the company choose to either increase production at Point Thomson to more than 50,000 barrels per day of natural gas liquids, or condensates, and pipe up to 920 million cubic feet of natural gas per day into Prudhoe Bay, or simply grow condensate production to 20,000 barrels per day and reinject the gas into the Point Thomson reservoir. The current Point Thomson facilities have a production capacity of about 10,000 barrels of condensates and 200 million cubic feet of gas per day. However, the technical challenges of producing gas from and reinjecting into the ultra-high pressure field have hampered ExxonMobil’s production ability. A third, untenable option would be for ExxonMobil and BP to relinquish the leases back to the state, but that would seem unlikely given they spent upwards of $4 billion between 2012 and 2016 to develop the gas field in accordance with the settlement. In July 2017, ExxonMobil submitted a long-range development plan to the Division of Oil and Gas outlining plans to pipe gas more than 60 miles to Prudhoe for injection into the oil field to aide in oil recovery. That plan was initially rejected, but eventually approved by state regulators. Despite that, the Point Thomson development was always meant to feed a large gas project. Some former state officials and Alaska LNG experts have questioned the economics of piping Point Thomson gas to Prudhoe. Mack characterized all the settlement alternatives other than a major gas project as “suboptimal” for the state and the companies, noting the prospect of moving and injecting gas into Prudhoe is not as attractive as it seemed in 2012. With the Sept. 10 letter, the state retains the ability to reinstate the 2012 Settlement provisions at any time, Mack said, stressing that the preferred option is for the companies to help the state be successful with the Alaska LNG Project. “The whole idea is to redirect the (Point Thomson) project back to major gas sales,” he said. If at some point state officials decide Alaska LNG is not going to be successful or ExxonMobil backs away from it, the settlement provisions can be brought back with a 30-month window for the company to comply. Mack said the extra time — versus the 16 months between now and the end of December 2019 — is to allow ExxonMobil to restart its Point Thomson expansion engineering team and work out other related issues with the state. The engineers that have been working on that project will hopefully be put towards advancing the Alaska LNG Project, he said. Mack added that the gas sales precedent agreement and the letter “are definitely related,” noting the signing of the former is a significant show of commitment by ExxonMobil to the state-led LNG project. “This is another critically important step, but there’s many more steps in this process,” Mack said. Elwood Brehmer can be reached at [email protected]

Movers and Shakers for Sept. 9

Veteran athletics administrator Sterling Steward has been chosen as the University of Alaska Fairbanks’ new director of intercollegiate athletics, effective Oct. 8. Steward replaces Gary Gray, who resigned as head of the Alaska Nanooks in December. Steward comes to the Nanooks after serving the past seven years as the director of athletics at Savannah State University, an NCAA Division I program in Georgia. Steward was chosen from a nationwide pool of applicants and was among four finalists who visited the UAF campus this summer. Steward earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in human performance and recreation at the University of Southern Mississippi. Prior to working at SSU, Steward worked in the athletics departments at Mississippi Valley State University, Alabama State University, Kentucky State University, Eastern Oregon University and Xavier University. Corey E. Cooke was appointed as the regional administrator of the U.S. General Services Administration Northwest/Arctic Region. Cooke has been serving as acting regional administrator for the Northwest/Arctic Region since April 2018. As regional administrator, Cooke will continue to oversee all of GSA’s operations in Alaska, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington, including the management of federal real estate and information technology. Cooke will also be responsible for an inventory of more than 500 government-owned or leased buildings, and overseeing more than 400 employees. Cooke served in GSA’s central office as senior advisor for cyber and technology before being named acting regional administrator. Prior to joining GSA, Cooke served in several positions in the U.S. House of Representatives, including as counsel and deputy parliamentarian for the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform and counsel on the Committee on Small Business. Cooke earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and a juris doctor from the University of New Hampshire School of Law. Longtime Fairbanks resident Theresa Bakker has been named the new University of Alaska Fairbanks alumni relations director, effective Sept. 10. She will also serve as the executive director of the UAF Alumni Association. Before accepting her new position at UAF, Bakker served as the marketing and communications manager at the University of Alaska Museum of the North. She has also worked as a producer for KUAC, the public broadcasting station owned and operated by UAF, and as a journalist for a variety of print and broadcast media. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Pennsylvania and a master of fine arts degree in creative writing from Pacific Lutheran University. Bakker takes over for former alumni relations director Kate Ripley, who resigned in May.

Candidate swap launches Republican write-in campaign against LeDoux

A planned write-in campaign by the Alaska Republican Party against incumbent Republican state Rep. Gabrielle LeDoux began Tuesday with a candidate swap. Jake Sloan, a general contractor who lives in Muldoon, said Sept. 4 he plans to run against LeDoux as a write-in candidate in the November election for her East Anchorage state house seat. Sloan is replacing Aaron Weaver, the first-time political candidate who did little campaigning but nearly beat LeDoux in a primary election shrouded in questions of voting irregularities, particularly with absentee ballots. Weaver said he’d been overwhelmed by media attention the past two weeks, ever since the state Division of Elections confirmed it was investigating the irregularities. Questions have surrounded the efforts of the LeDoux campaign to reach out to minority voters in the district. LeDoux is at odds with the state Republican Party, and party officials pledged a write-in campaign. Weaver said he had expected his first campaign would be far more straightforward, and he hasn’t expected a chance at winning. “To have this experience right out of the gate was quite shocking for me,” Weaver said. Weaver said he was happy to “pass the baton” to Sloan. Both men filed earlier this year to run against LeDoux. They said they both believed LeDoux should have a Republican challenger, and generally shared ideas about supporting repeal of the criminal justice reform law, Senate Bill 91, and restoring the Permanent Fund to its original calculation. Since his contracting job took him out of town much of the summer, Sloan said they agreed Weaver should run. After the primary election, with Weaver deciding he would prefer to drop out, state GOP chair Tuckerman Babcock contacted Sloan and asked if he would run, according to Weaver and Sloan. Sloan has lived in East Anchorage with his wife and three children for five years. He said he planned to immediately start knocking on doors and introducing himself to voters. Weaver said he wouldn’t rule out running again in 2020, but that it was too early to say.

BULLETIN: Pogo mine sells; initiative hearings set; concerns over Donlin, Navy exercises

Australia-based company buys Pogo mine from Sumitomo FAIRBANKS (AP) — Ownership of a large gold mine southeast of Fairbanks is being transferred to an Australia-based gold mining company. Japan-based Sumitomo Metal Mining Co. and Sumitomo Corp. are transferring full ownership of the underground mine in Delta Junction to Northern Star Resources Ltd., receiving $260 million in compensation for the transfer, the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reported last week. The companies have agreed to the deal that’s expected to go through in October, the companies said in a joint statement. “By investing in exploration and development, we are confident we can grow the inventory, production and mine life for the benefit of the mine’s employees, contractors, the local community and our shareholders,” said Bill Beament, the executive chairman of Northern Star. The mine produces about 300,000 ounces of gold each year, resulting in more than 3.8 million ounces mined since opening in 2006. It employs 320 direct workers and about 150 contractors. The mine’s current life expectancy runs through 2020. Northern Star is planning to invest in a “targeted intensive drilling program” to extend the mine’s life, according to company documents. Pogo Mine spokeswoman Wendie MacNaughton declined to say why Sumitomo decided to divest its interest in the mine, but noted it had put Pogo up for sale. “They (Northern Star) are going to maintain continuity of operations and employees exactly as it is now,” MacNaughton said. State sets public hearing schedule for Alaska ballot measure JUNEAU (AP) — Public hearings have been scheduled on a ballot initiative that supporters say would protect Alaska salmon. Opponents of the measure, however, say it could hinder resource development. According to a notice issued by the state, the first hearing will be Sept. 7 in Juneau. Additional hearings will be held in Kotzebue, Nome, Anchorage, Sitka, Fairbanks, Bethel and Dillingham. A statewide, teleconference-only session also is planned. The notice states that public testimony will be taken. People also can submit written comments. State law calls for at least two public hearings in each Alaska judicial district on a scheduled ballot initiative. Each hearing is to include written or oral testimony of one supporter of the initiative and one opponent. The so-called Stand for Salmon initiative will appear on November’s general election ballot. Bethel-area residents question aftermath of gold mine BETHEL (AP) — How a massive gold mine proposed in western Alaska will clean up after itself and pay for it were the topics of a public meeting in Bethel. More than two dozen people expressed their views Aug. 28 about the proposed Donlin Gold mine at the meeting requested by the Yukon-Kuskokwim River Alliance, KYUK-AM reported. The Bethel-based organization opposes the open-pit mining project, which is planned for a site 10 miles (16 kilometers) north of the village of Crooked Creek in the Upper Kuskokwim River drainage. The project is proposed for lands owned by The Kuskokwim Corp. and Calista Corp. The meeting was to focus on the state Department of Environmental Conservation’s draft approval of the plans for reclaiming the mine site and its financial assurances. The mine will be required by state law to pay $317 million for the cleanup and land restoration efforts. The mine expects to operate for at least 27 years. Area residents voiced skepticism about the amount, questioning who would pay for the cleanup if the mine goes bankrupt and the state can’t cover the cost. “This is a subsistence economy,” said Alyssa Rogers, a co-founder of the river alliance. “It always will be and it always has been.” Voicing opposition to the mine, William Charlie Brown, an Elder from Eek, said that if a mining accident were to occur, it could contaminate the Kuskokwim River — a vital food source for the region. The Kuskokwim Corp. consulted with independent experts and worked with the mine, the state and Calista Corp. to form the current reclamation plans, said Maver Carey, CEO of The Kuskokwim Corporation. “Responsible economic development is a critical factor for our corporation,” Carey said. “Responsibly developing our land and natural resources was what our forefathers and founders identified when selecting lands, including mineral rich lands, for the betterment of all TKC shareholders.” Northern Edge military exercises in Alaska planned for May KODIAK (AP) — The U.S. military has scheduled its exercises in the Gulf of Alaska for the spring, despite calls for the trainings to be moved to the fall. The U.S. Pacific Command’s 2019 Northern Edge exercises, which involve participation from all military services and other agency partners, are planned for May 13-24, the Kodiak Daily Mirror reported. The exercises that are held every other year are expected to involve more than 6,000 service members, 200 aircraft, and multiple Navy destroyers and Coast Guard cutters. The exercises allow the military to hone its current abilities and “test future applications of combat operations and weapons capabilities,” U.S. Air Force Sgt. George Maddon said. Some of the exercises involve live munitions. Alaska municipalities and preservation groups have opposed the exercises in recent years, citing concerns the event could harm aquatic wildlife and the environment. The Kodiak Island Borough passed a resolution last year, calling for the training to be moved to after September “when overall marine mammal, fish and migratory bird abundances are lower.” The Eyak Preservation Council based in Cordova has also opposed the event. “The issues are that explosive munitions and high-powered sonar can impact fish, sea mammals and seabirds, especially at times of the year when migratory species are present,” said Carol Hoover, the organization’s executive director. Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski requested in 2017 for the military to consider moving the 2019 event to the fall. The Navy’s environmental assessment in 2016 determined the impact on fish and marine mammals would be minimal, Maddon said. “The survey determined most species do not have the capacity to hear sonar,” Maddon said, adding that those species that can hear sonar “would need to be very close to the sonar source for a duration of time that is highly unlikely.” Most of the exercises involve flying over the Joint Pacific Alaska Range Complex, Maddon said. The effects from explosives would be contained to where the detonation occurs, he said. “The impact of explosives within any of these exercises is pretty limited,” Maddon said.


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