Coffee with Rep. Tarr!
Please join me this Saturday from 10 to 11 am at Yes! Bistro, located in the district at 3801 Debarr Road, for a morning cup of coffee and conversation on issues important to you.
Delta Farm Tour with House Resources
Food Security Subcommittee
It was fantastic to join my colleagues, Rep. George Rauscher, Rep. Harriet Drummond, Rep. Dave Talerico of the House Resources Food Security Subcommittee, along with federal Farm Service Agency Director Brian Scoresby, UAF Cooperative Extension’s Phil Kaspari, Alaska Division of Agriculture Director Arthur Keyes, Sen. Mike Shower, and Margaret from Sen. Sullivan’s office in Delta Junction on Saturday to learn first-hand about what farmers are working on in the Delta region.(Pictured on the right.) Rep. George Rauscher arranged the tour with the help of Alaska Farm Bureau President and Alaska Flour Company owner Bryce Wrigley. It was excellent! We know that agriculture in Alaska can provide food security while stabilizing rural communities, provide rural and urban jobs, and diversify our economy. From what I saw, there is unlimited potential!
We met Cathie McCollum of the family-run Delta Meat and Sausage store and processing facility, Mike and Scott Shultz who raise barley, oats, wheat, canola and grass, and the Green family, who grow hay, barley, oats, wheat, and peas. We met Zack Knight with the Alaska Farmer’s Cooperative and toured Bryce Wrigleys family-run Alaska Flour Company, which now sells barley flour, Cream of Barley Cereal, Barley Couscous, Great Alaska Pancake Mix, and several varieties of cookie mixes. They are selling their products in stores across the state! We ended the evening tasting products from the Mugrage family farm, where they raise beef cattle, Rocky Mountain Elk, hay, barley and oats.
In addition to learning about the farming industry and the ways the state can help, we took time on our road trip to investigate the potential for investing in infrastructure for our outdoor recreation economy. We camped at the Delta State Recreation Area on our drive up and at Tangle Lakes campground on the Denali Highway on the way back. It’s a long but spectacular drive. I encourage you all to take time this summer to see our beautiful state. There is huge potential to increase rural tourism year round and winter tourism in particular, and the concept of an 800 mile trail along the trans-Alaska pipeline is one that holds promise. Mark your calendar for September 12-13 for the Confluence Outdoor Recreation Summit in Valdez to learn more.
AKLNG Update & Oil and Gas Working Group Meet in Anchorage
The House and Senate Resources Committees met together last Wednesday to get an update about the Alaska Liquified Natural Gas (AKLNG) project. The State has about $1 billion and 30 years of investment in this project, and it appears to be moving forward. Legislation was passed several years ago creating the Alaska Gasline Development Corporation, and they gave presentations about recent milestones, including their success in securing federal permits for the Stand Alone Gas Pipeline (ASAP). The ASAP project is separate from the AKLNG but covers 80% of the project route. This work can be incorporated into AKLNG thus adding value to the project. They reported having 15 letters of intent/MOUs signed for purchasers and have an agreement with BP for gas sales. They also reported having secured Goldman Sachs and the Bank of China as their capital coordinators.
On Tuesday, the Oil and Gas Fiscal System Working Group, which I also co-chair, met to learn about trends in Alaska’s oil and gas and labor industries on the North Slope and Cook Inlet. The best news is that the price per barrel of oil has risen over the past few months, and there is optimism in the air about the state’s finances. Vince Beltrami of the Alaska laborers gave a somber report about the oil and gas and construction recessions in Alaska, with an unemployment rate of 7.2% and a poor ranking for job growth in the U.S. He also highlighted the 40% non-resident hires in the oil industry. Alaska Oil and Gas Association President/CEO Kara Moriarty wrapped up the meeting with a look at the strength of industry jobs to Alaska’s economy, and new opportunities for development, including Caelus’ Nuna Project, Hilcorp’s Liberty Project and Glacier Oil and Gas’s future plans at Badami. We are gathering information now and future meetings will consider different policies.