Elizabeth Earl

Board of Fisheries to consider Tanner strategy and Kenai dipnet boats

SOLDOTNA — The Board of Fisheries wrapped up its Soldotna worksession with the discussion of a board-generated proposal to limit the size of boats in the Kenai River personal-use dipnet fishery.

The board members heard several public comments Tuesday asking them to regulate the Kenai River dipnet fishery to make it safer. One agenda change request which was denied Wednesday, asked the board to limit boats to 50 horsepower or less and ban specifically Thunderjet boats from operating in the area.

ACLU asks Kenai assembly to stop praying

The American Civil Liberties Union of Alaska has asked the Kenai Peninsula Borough to back down from its newly passed invocation policy.

The organization, which advocates for individual constitutional liberties, frequently through litigation, sent a letter to Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly President Blaine Gilman claiming the policy violates religious liberty because those seeking to give an invocation must pass a religious test.

Board of Fisheries addresses Agenda Change Requests

SOLDOTNA — On the second day of its worksession in Soldotna on Wednesday, the Board of Fisheries discussed a number of agenda change requests, or ACRs — requests for fisheries regulations submitted outside the regular cycles — to take up at its upcoming meetings this winter. The ACRs addressed issues around the state, not just the fisheries that have their regular cycles this winter.

The Board of Fisheries chose not to take up an agenda change request related to limiting the size of boats in the Kenai River personal-use dipnet fishery in this cycle.

Public gets open mic at first day of fish board meeting

SOLDOTNA — Fishermen and the fisheries-inclined turned out by the dozens Tuesday for an open hearing before the Board of Fisheries to air their concerns on a host of issues.

The Board of Fisheries, preparing to enter its 2016-2017 cycle, is holding a work session in Soldotna this week to discuss Agenda Change Requests and non-regulatory proposals and to take public comments. When the session was scheduled in October 2014, the board set aside an entire day for fishermen to make public comments on any issue they wanted to address.

Title 16

Alaska Gasline Development Corporation takes the lead on LNG Project

The board of directors for the Alaska Gasline Development Corporation, which represents the state’s interests in a gasline project, met at Kenai’s Cannery Lodge Thursday to discuss work on the Alaska LNG Project and recent gas marketing efforts in Asia.

“We want to reach an agreement, and then we have a number of transition activities that are going right now that will wrap up by the end of the year," said AGDC President Keith Meyer. He presented updates to the board, saying the negotiations around the transfer of the project’s assets “are continuing in a cooperative manner.”

Lower oil prices may be here to stay

The lower oil prices that Alaskans have been anxiously hoping will go back up may be the trend for the next several years.

Voters to decide on Kenai sales tax

More goods and services may be subject to sales tax in the Kenai Peninsula Borough if voters pass Proposition 3 in the October municipal general election.

Borough voters will be asked to approve an ordinance to raise the cap for amounts subject to sales tax from $500 to $1,000 per transaction. Currently, if someone purchases a $501 item, the tax will not increase any more for the additional dollar.

Summer AK LNG fieldwork winds down

KENAI — Fieldwork in Nikiski is winding down and future plans are uncertain for the Alaska LNG Project as the summer slides into autumn.

An evaluation from consulting firm Wood McKenzie presented Aug. 24 to the Legislature’s Joint Resources Committee ranked the project as one of the least economically competitive liquefied natural gas projects in the world at this time. Natural gas prices worldwide have fallen due to a flooded market, and the project as presently planned is too expensive to balance out, the report concluded.

Walker talks finances, LNG in Kenai

Gov. Bill Walker reiterated a call Monday for a fix to Alaska’s budget deficit while also signing into law a tax credit designed to incentivize fertilizer company Agrium to reopen its Nikiski plant.

With the sponsor, Speaker of the Alaska House of Representatives Mike Chenault (R-Nikiski), looking on, Walker signed the bill after speaking at a joint Kenai and Soldotna chambers of commerce luncheon in Kenai on Monday.

Kenai Assembly passes sales tax changes

The Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly passed a number of revisions to update and clarify the borough’s sales tax code Tuesday night.

Borough Mayor Mike Navarre’s administration has been working on a comprehensive rewrite to the sales and property tax code for approximately a year, clarifying language, updating some provisions and adding others. From the rewrite came four ordinances, all of which have now been reviewed and passed by the assembly.

Walker appoints Nick Miller to MCB

Gov. Bill Walker on Wednesday appointed marijuana industry representative Nick Miller to the Marijuana Control Board.

The appointment fills the seat left vacant by Bruce Schulte, the former chair of the board whom Walker ejected from the board on July 29. Miller, the chair of the Anchorage Cannabis Business Association, is in the process of opening a retail store in Anchorage.

Sport humpy record broken twice in a day

SOLDOTNA — After 42 years, the Alaska state record for a sport-caught pink salmon was broken — twice.

Thomas Salas hauled a monster pink salmon out of the Kenai River near Big Eddy in Soldotna on Aug. 22. The California resident, who said he visits the Kenai every other year or so, was originally going to throw it back when a friend told him to hang on to it.

“(He) said, ‘You gotta keep it, that might be a record,’” Salas said.

Alaska LNG Project submits second draft of resource reports to FERC

Members of the public can get another look at the results of years of fieldwork conducted by the Alaska LNG Project now in the reports submitted to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

The resource report drafts, which detail everything about the project from a general overview to where potential workers’ children would go to school, are the culmination of about three years of summer geotechnical and geophysical work as well as public meetings and comments.

BOEM takes comments on Cook Inlet lease sale

KENAI — A few Kenai-area residents turned out Aug. 18 to offer their advice on a draft environmental impact statement for a proposed oil and gas lease sale in Lower Cook Inlet.

The draft, prepared by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, the federal agency that oversees oil and gas leasing in federal waters, outlines a proposed sale in an area of Cook Inlet beginning south of Kalgin Island and ending at a line extending westward from Seldovia. If the Secretary of the Department of the Interior approves the plan, a lease sale would take place in June 2017.

Ninilchik tribe finishes Kenai subsistence season

The heads of passing boaters swiveled toward the bank, curious to see the only subsistence gillnet allowed in the Kenai River.

The Ninilchik Traditional Council’s subsistence gillnet takes up about 30 feet of bank. The net swayed in the strong current, bucking when a fish struck the mesh. Though the gear made it in the water this season, whether it will make its way through the regulatory process next year is unclear yet.

“Seeing any rainbows?” a boater called out to the tribal staff near the net as his boat passed.

KPB marijuana ban petition won't be on October ballot

A citizen initiative seeking to ask voters whether commercial marijuana is legal in the Kenai Peninsula Borough outside the cities is a no-go.

The borough clerk’s office finished verifying the signatures Friday and found the petition came up short. The petitioners were 62 signatures shy of the 898 they needed to qualify for the Oct. 4 general election ballot, said Borough Clerk Johni Blankenship.

“They submitted 998 signatures,” Blankenship said. “We were only able to validate 836.”

Upper Cook Inlet commercial fishermen near 2M salmon harvest

KENAI — Salmon are rolling into Upper Cook Inlet’s commercial fishery.

The drift fleet and setnetters in Cook Inlet have been out frequently in the past two weeks and were out for extended hours Thursday. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game also opened the drift gillnet fishery in the Expanded Kenai and Expanded Kasilof Sections of the Upper Subdistrict and the Anchor Point Section of the Lower Subdistrict for an additional 12-hour period on Friday to increase harvest on the sockeye salmon bound for the Kenai and Kasilof rivers, according to an emergency order issued Thursday.

Marine jobs the dominant sector for Kenai Peninsula

KENAI — The Kenai Peninsula’s economy depends even more on the ocean and rivers than is apparent on paper.

Some are obvious: commercial fishing, shipping and marine fishing guiding all depend on the ocean directly. However, others — such as fish processing, oil and gas support services and fishing gear retailers — only “touch” the water and may not be counted in a cursory glance.

Oil, gas properties boost Kenai Peninsula Borough tax take by $1.1M

KENAI — The values of some oil and gas properties in the Kenai Peninsula Borough jumped in the most recent state assessment, producing about $1.1 million more for the borough in property taxes.

Much of that increase comes from the Nikiski area, where the tax values for the year increased by approximately $559,991, according to the borough’s fiscal year 2017 budget.

The increase allowed for a mill rate decrease for residents of Nikiski from 2.90 to 2.80 for the next year. The borough assembly approved the new mill rate at its June 7 meeting.

Murkowski hosts Kenai field hearing on federal conflicts

KENAI — Sen. Lisa Murkowski visited Kenai on May 31 to hold a field hearing for the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee that she chairs on how federal management conflicts with local management on the Kenai Peninsula.

Wildfire management drove much of the conversation, but federal land management that limits access to fishing and hunting were also major points.

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - Elizabeth Earl