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Governor Signs Bills on Kensington AIDEA Funding,
School Term, and Rural Bulk Fuel Loan Program


June 05, 2004

Juneau, Alaska - Governor Frank Murkowski on Thursday afternoon signed into law three bills, including one to authorize AIDEA funding for the Kensington mine, one relating to the length of the school year, and one that amends the bulk fuel revolving loan fund.

HB 556, by the House State Affairs committee, gives the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority (AIDEA) the authorization to issue up to $20 million in debt for facilities to support the development of the Kensington mine near Juneau. The tax-exempt bonds will help reduce construction costs of a port development project located at Slate Creek Cove and Cascade Point on Lynn Canal. Production at the mine is projected to be Feb. 2006, creating 300 high paying jobs, providing $7.5 million in local construction purchases, and providing $16 million in payroll and benefits to the local economy. State law requires legislative approval for all AIDEA debt issued over $10 million.

SB 239, by Sen. Fred Dyson, gives school districts additional flexibility to meet the minimum requirements of a school term. Current law requires a school term to be no less than 180 days unless the commissioner finds that a school board has submitted a plan that would provide an equivalent education in not less than 170 days. The bill amends the 170-day exemption and replaces it with 740 hours of instruction for kindergarten, first and second grades, and 900 hours of instruction for 3rd through 12th grades. The intent of the bill is to allow new flexibility to be used to develop innovative programs that are designed to improve the value of instruction.

SB 377, introduced at the request of the Department of Community and Economic Development, amends the Bulk Fuel Revolving Loan Fund program by authorizing loans to other entities such as corporations, cooperatives and joint ventures. Currently, a cooperative that is interested in purchasing bulk fuel for the benefit of a rural community is not eligible to use this program (only individuals). The bill also amends the Power Project Fund program by expanding the definition of what a power project is to include energy efficiency projects. The bill makes state statutes consistent with federal and state appropriations for this purpose. The bill also extends the current tax credit for ethanol fuels derived from wood and seafood wasted until 2009, a provision that will allow a continuing opportunity for innovative uses of waste-to-energy for Alaska products.


Source of News Release:

Office of the Governor
Web Site



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