Last week, Governor Sean Parnell asked for a budget supplement of more than $32 million for the Susitna-Watana Hydroelectric Project. The nature of the supplement has raised some questions, and it’s not clear at this time whether the state legislature will ultimately approve the additional spending.
At a meeting of the House Finance Committee last week, Karen Rehfeld, Director of the state Office of Management and Budget, fielded a number of questions from legislators regarding the Governor’s request for additional funding for the Susitna-Watana project. Representative Les Gara of Anchorage compared the potential power output of the proposed dam against the state’s current gas line project.
“We spent $170 million, so far. Why would we spend another $32 million at the same time we’re working on a large diameter gas line that would provide more energy than we can use–about eight times more energy than we can use–in tight fiscal times?” (more…)