Although some areas in the state are bemoaning budget losses, the cuts were not unexpected. Governor Parnell cited declining oil production as one reason for the cuts, and that decline is spurring inclusion in the budget of money aimed at upgrading infrastructure friendly to oil development.
One of those projects affects Anaktuvuk Pass. The budget includes $8 million for a road to Umiat that will affect the remote community. The road will provide access to mining leases. Anaktuvuk Pass Mayor Esther Hugo has been outspoken in opposing the road.
Despite Parnell’s stated objective to fill up Trans-Alaska Pipeline System with millions of gallons of crude a day, REAP, or Renewable Energy Alaska Project, director Chris Rose says he’s pleased with the inclusion in the budget of funds aimed at renewable energy projects.
Rose says two other important programs also were fully funded – the emerging energy technology fund and the new revolving loan program which allows commercial entities to borrow money to do energy efficiency projects.
Doug Griffen, city manager in Palmer was also pleased with Governor Parnell’s budget decisions. He says the Matanusaka Valley city avoided all vetoes.
Griffen says a couple of Palmer requests for funding did not even make it into the original budget.
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