The Susitna Dam committee of the Talkeetna Community Council made some headway this week in a meeting with Representative Mark Neuman’s Chief of Staff. Rex Shattuck showed up unexpectedly at the committee meeting and spent two hours with the committee discussing issues and concerns surrounding the proposed project.
The committee worked diligently in the legislative session to send emails and letters to legislators to slow the proposal until some questions on the project could be answered.
The committee expressed their frustration through the process so far, including a meeting this winter with Alaska Energy Authority.
Shattuck gave the committee advice on dealing with individual lawmakers as well as the governor. He said some of the problems in dealing with projects comes from the state having no energy policy.
The committee is hoping to plan a meeting at the end of August or early September with Alaska Energy Authority and others to start the long public process that is associated with the construction of the hydroelectric project. Meanwhile, they are working on a strategy to deal with economic and resource issues concerning the proposed dam.
The dam is currently in the capital budget and will receive over $65 million for further planning unless vetoed by the governor.
The governor recently sent a letter to all state governors urging them to join Alaska in taking steps to increase energy production in their states. He asked them to shape a national energy policy through Congress to achieve more domestic oil production, even though Alaska itself does not have a clear energy policy.