Legislative Update – Jan. 19, 2012

The 27th Legislative Session Convenes

My staff and I are looking forward to the 2nd session of the 27th Legislature here in Juneau. My staff will remain the same as last year. I look forward to the work we will be accomplishing during these 90 days.

From left to right:
Sydney Seay, Loren Peterson, Senator Donald Olson, David Scott, and Denise Liccioli.

Fuel Delivery Makes It to Nome

I’m grateful I was able to be in Nome for the fuel delivery. The tanker, Renda, was able to successfully make the 5,000 mile journey overcoming some obstacles including high seas and thick ice. I am very relieved that our residents of Nome will be able to have fuel to make it through the winter ahead. This saves the community from bearing the expense of air transportation for emergency fuel.

Sitnasuak CEO Dave Hoffman, Sen. Donny Olson, Nome Legislative Aide, Laura Lawrence and Sitnasuak Board Chair Jason Evans 1/15/12.
Photo by Bonnie Piscoya Stettenbenz

I’d like to commend the Sitnasuak Native Corporation for their leadership to get the fuel delivered. Sitnasuak owns the local fuel company, Bonanza Fuel, and has been working closely with Vitus Marine, the supplier that arranged for the delivery of the 1.3 million gallons of fuel. Without the Renda’s delivery, it is estimated Nome would run out of fuel by March or April, long before the next barge delivery is possible.

I, along with other state, federal, local, and tribal representatives have been monitoring the delivery and corresponding with the Coast Guard. We appreciate the Coast Guard working with the city, the state, and industry to address this issue. I am grateful for their effort and support the USCGC S/V Healy’s continued presence until the fuel is delivered and the delivery vessels leave Alaskan waters.

Once again, I offer my sincere thanks to the Coast Guard for its efforts. I believe this incident highlights the US and global development of Arctic waters.

Alaska Coastal Management Program

I have been fully supportive of the Statewide Ballot Initiative to bring back the Alaska Coastal Management Program (ACMP). I am very thankful to all of those Alaskans that added their signature to petition booklets endorsing the restoration of the ACMP. The Alaska Sea Party announced that it reached the requirement of 26,000 signatures by the start of this year’s legislative session. It was announced that more than 33,500 voters signed this important petition and I’d like to thank those rural Alaskans for contributing about 1/3 or approximately 12,000 signatures to put this initiative on this year’s ballot. I understand this particular petition was the fastest initiative signature gathering effort in Alaska’s history which shows this program is very much needed. The ACMP allows for local input in developing our coastal resources and gives our state primacy over federal developments in our coast. I commend each voter for signing their names and showing our government that the people’s voice will not be ignored. I will be closely monitoring the movement of this ballot initiative and will be strongly supportive of any bills that will be introduced calling for the restoration of the ACMP. The Division of Elections will take 60 days to review every signature against the voter registration records.

Permanent Fund Dividend

It is that time of year again to apply for the Permanent Fund Dividend. The application deadline is March 31, 2012. The PFD’s are very helpful in offsetting the high cost of living in rural areas. You may file online at http://www.pfd.state.ak.us/. If you have any questions or need to appeal to the department, the toll free number for the Permanent Dividend Division is 1-800-733-8813.

Native Artwork Showcased in the Capitol

Alaska Native Artwork made by Nome Elementary students displayed
in the Alaska State Capitol.

I was delighted to see Alaska Native artwork that is being placed in the State Capitol stairwell this session. The ‘Art in the Capitol’ is an initiative by the Legislative Information Office. The artists of the fine sealskin hearts and beadwork artwork are from the Nome Elementary School listed as follows:

Brema Scholten 1st Grade Raina McRae 2nd Grade Colin McFarland 2nd
Haily Goodwin 3rd Grade Kelly Lyon 4th Grade Paige Shield 6th Grade

I’d like to wish everyone a happy new year and I look forward to seeing my constituents this session and wish everyone safe travels this winter.

Take care,
[signed] Donald Olson

Senator Donald Olson

Web Site: http://olson.aksenate.org/
Email: Senator_Donny_Olson@legis.state.ak.us