JUNEAU, Alaska – Governor Sean Parnell announced yesterday that his Fiscal Year 2013 budget proposal will contain funding for increased access to Alaskaâ€™s resources to grow economic opportunities for all Alaskans.
“Better transportation corridors will open up petroleum and mining opportunities,” Governor Parnell said. “Mineral exploration expenditures are up, and with our efforts to streamline the permitting process, we are working to secure Alaska’s resources for Alaskans’ benefit.”
Roads to Resources ($28.5 million) – This appropriation includes funding for access to the Ambler Mining District, Umiat-Foothills West, a western access route through Tanana, the Klondike Industrial Use Highway, and other resource roads. The funding will be used for project definition, permitting, environmental work, and right-of-way acquisition.
Road to Umiat ($10 million)- This funding provides for continued EIS work; continued evaluation of routes from Umiat to existing industry roads on the North Slope, and definition of a preferred alternative; and securing environmental permits and right-of-way for the Umiat project. The project has $25 million in previous funding.
Road to Tanana ($10 million) – This funding supports western access via construction work on the road to Tanana.
Ambler Mining District Road ($4 million) – This funding provides all-season access for exploration and development of mineral resources within the Ambler Mining District. The project will define an optimal corridor, proceed with permitting and environmental work, and establish a right-of–way. A public-private partnership will be explored to proceed with financing and construction. The project has $5,250 in previous appropriations.
Klondike Industrial Use Highway and other resource roads ($4.5 million) – $2.5 million is included for refurbishing and strengthening the pavement and bridge structures on the Klondike Highway to accommodate the large increase in traffic from the transporting of ore from Canadian mines to the Port of Skagway for shipment to ore smelters around the world. $2 million is available for smaller resource road opportunities to promote significant revenue and employment opportunities.
Streamline Permitting ($3.3 million) – Between 85% and 90% of the state’s general fund revenue comes from the development and use of state land and natural resources. This project will streamline the permitting process to provide more timely decision making for mining, timber, public access, land sales and transfers, and other resource development applications.
Rare Earth Elements and Strategic Minerals ($2.7 million) – This 3-year project will provide critical information assessing Alaska’s rare earth elements (REE) and strategic minerals potential. The area around Bokan Mountain, near Ketchikan, is potentially one of the largest REE deposits in North America, and there are more than 150 known mineral occurrences across the state.
Shale Oil Assessment ($1.1 million) – This funding will provide a needed geologic assessment of shale oil on the North Slope and other areas of Alaska.
Statewide Digital Mapping ($15.9 million total) – The Digital Elevation model (DEM) is foundational to all infrastructure development. USGS topographic maps are more than 50 years old, inaccurate, and do not meet national mapping standards. Accurate elevation data is vital to responsible resource and economic development, aviation safety, navigational devices, modern emergency response, disaster preparation, floodplain management, tsunami studies, and routing for roads and pipelines. $3.7 million is proposed from the state’s general funds, with the balance from federal funds.
“Responsible resource development is the key to Alaska’s economic future,” Governor Parnell added. “Alaska has an abundance of oil, gas, timber, and other natural resources. Turning oil production around and filling the pipeline serves two important purposes: providing economic opportunities for Alaskans, and helping secure energy independence for our nation.”
Source: Office of the Governor-Alaska