SEPTEMBER 6, 2016
Representing District 17:
Midtown, University, and East Anchorage
I Answer to You!
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Anchorage LIO, Room 412
Anchorage, AK 99501
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Announcements and Hearings Report
Dear Friends and Neighbors,
As this fast-paced summer transitions into autumn, I wanted to keep you updated on some recent events and highlight a few important happenings this past summer.
Celebrating the National Park Service’s 100th Anniversary
August 25 marked the 100th Anniversary of the creation of the National Park Service by Congress in 1916. I was honored to present a citation from the Alaska Legislature to NPS Deputy Regional Director, Joel Hard at the Anchorage celebration honoring the centennial. The citation commemorated the National Park Service’s role in managing some of the country’s most treasured places. The citation also served as a reminder that Alaska’s national parks are truly special places and exemplify why protecting these public lands is “America’s Best Idea.”
NPS Alaska officials received a citation from the Alaska Legislature commemorating the agency’s centennial
Congratulations to the University of Alaska-Anchorage’s Volleyball and Women’s Basketball Teams
This summer I had the privilege of presenting citations from the Alaska Legislature to the UAA Volleyball and Women’s Basketball teams for their excellence in the 2015-2016 seasons. The UAA Volleyball team posted a 27-3 record in 2015, claimed the conference championship, and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament. The UAA Women’s Basketball team went 38-3, also won their conference tournament championship, and was the runner-up in the NCAA Division II National Championship. It was a privilege to be able to honor these amazing student athletes.
The UAA volleyball team received a citation from the Alaska Legislature
An Update on the future of the Alaska LNG Project
On August 24 and 25, I participated in the Legislature’s Joint Resources Committee hearing on the Alaska Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) Project. The purpose of the hearing was to receive updates on the project, including the Governor’s “New Concept Plan,” which calls for opening the gas pipeline project to independent, third-party investors. The original plan, proposed by the Legislature in SB 138, was for the State of Alaska to partner with three major oil companies, each with a one-quarter stake in the $42 billion project—consisting of a gas treatment plant, pipeline, and liquefaction plant. The Committee heard testimony from experts suggesting that the original plan’s finances won’t work, but that under the Governor’s plan, third-party investors may be willing to accept rates of return that make the project economically feasible.
Another issue that came up in the hearing was the question of whether the State of Alaska should pursue an engineering design approach for the LNG Project called Front-End Engineering and Design (FEED). The basic idea of FEED is that the project is divided into different components, each with different bidding processes, contracts, and design risks. At the hearing, it became clear that industry partners believed FEED cannot be made feasible during current economic conditions when gas prices are so low. The industry partners pushed hard for an approach that would postpone the Legislature’s decision on FEED for 1 year while focusing on regulatory and permitting issues.
Ultimately, the hearing demonstrated that the future of the LNG Project gas line is simply less bright than it once was. Many questions remain before decisions on the LNG Project can be made, perhaps none more important than the uncertain future of worldwide gas prices. In the meantime, I will continue working hard to represent Alaskans’ best interests and study the issues with my colleagues.
Rep. Geran Tarr and I studying the materials during the Committee Hearing
Announcing New Legislative Staff to Serve You
I am pleased to announce two new members of my legislative staff who will be helping me serve all of you. Caroline Storm is a retired architect and dedicated public school advocate. Caroline will be working in the Anchorage office through December. Andy Erickson will be working with Caroline in Anchorage until December and then travel to Juneau with me for the session. Andy is a Harry S. Truman Scholar, former advisor to U.S. Senator Max Baucus, and attorney in Anchorage.
As always, it’s been a pleasure working for all of you. I look forward to seeing and meeting many of you as I head out to walk the neighborhoods and discuss the issues this fall. Please feel free to let me know if you have any comments, concerns, or inspiration.
I Answer to You!
Representative Andy Josephson
State Capitol Bldg., Room 430