Governor Sean Parnell is asking the Legislature for more money for the Susitna-Watana Hydroelectric Project, but there’s a catch. To get the funds, the Alaska Energy Authority must secure land access to study areas owned by seven Alaska Native Corporations.
Earlier this month, AEA Executive Director Sara Fisher-Goad said that all progress had been made on land access, and she expected an agreement by the end of February. That came after Governor Parnell cited a lack of access as his reason for funding just $10 million of the $110 million AEA says it needs to complete the studies and other work needed to obtain a federal license for the dam. In his amended budget request, Governor Parnell is asking for an additional $32.7 million for the current fiscal year. According to the Governor’s office, that funding would be contingent on AEA securing access to the study sites. (more…)