UAF sets up engineering school in Mongolia

FAIRBANKS (AP) — Seven professors from the University of Alaska Fairbanks are helping establish an engineering school at the new American University of Mongolia.

Professors are helping develop curriculum and designing classrooms at the new university, located in the Mongolian capital of Ulan Bator, radio station KUAC reported.

The university signed a contract with American University this spring.

Commerce official encourages Alaska export growth

ANCHORAGE — In a June 7 speech before the Export Council of Alaska, U.S. Department of Commerce Under Secretary for International Trade Francisco Sanchez outlined federal efforts to improve the national export economy.

U.S. exports grew by 4.5 percent in 2012 to a record $2.2 trillion, Sanchez told the council. In 2009, American companies exported $1.58 trillion worth of goods and services, according to the Commerce Department.

“Nationwide, exports support nearly 10 million American jobs,” he said.

Major spill response drill held at Valdez oil terminal

A two-day oil spill containment and cleanup drill at the Valdez Marine Terminal took place June 12-13.

Spill response crews practiced dealing with a simulated 90,000 barrel spill during crude oil loading at the Valdez terminal, Coast Guard Lt. Allie Ferko said.

This is considered a “worst case” for a loading accident at the terminal, Ferko said.

The U.S. Coast Guard and Alyeska Pipeline Service Co. led the exercise.

Parnell signs deal for Flint Hills refinery

Flint Hills Resources has a guaranteed supply of state royalty oil for its refinery at North Pole, east of Fairbanks in Alaska’s Interior.

Gov. Sean Parnell signed legislation June 11 approving a new contract to supply royalty oil to the refinery. The contract, which is for five years, allows Flint Hills to draw up to 30,000 barrels per day of state oil from the trans-Alaska pipeline system near the refinery.

Parnell signed the bill during a visit to the refinery.

SVT monitors air quality along Jakolof Bay Road

The strange equipment visible along Seldovia’s Jakolof Bay Road isn’t a birdhouse, a UFO or a Little Chief Smoker with strips of salmon hanging inside.

It’s a project by Seldovia Village Tribe’s Environmental Office to monitor summertime dust by using high-volume samplers on loan from the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation.

Treadwell announces U.S. Senate campaign

JUNEAU — Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell on Tuesday announced plans to seek the U.S. Senate seat currently held by Democrat Mark Begich, saying Alaska would be better served with Republicans in charge.

As long as Democrats control the Senate, Treadwell said serious consideration will never be given to opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil and gas drilling, something Alaska political leaders — including Begich — support. 

Farmers’ Market survey will attempt to assess damage caused by harsh winter

You could say this has been an odd year for weather. You probably won’t hear much complaining right now, however, since everyone is so glad to see this much sun after two terribly dreary summers in a row.  

At last week’s Homer Farmers’ Market I talked to some producers who take note of the weather. Those who are depending on rain catchment to water their high tunnels are either starting to get nervous or already are buying water.

Fairbanks gas territory up for grabs

A competition has emerged between Fairbanks Natural Gas Co. and the Interior Alaska Natural Gas Utility over who will serve the Fairbanks North Star Borough with natural gas.

Fairbanks Natural Gas, or FNG, filed an application with the state Regulatory Commission on April 5 to expand its service area to include nearly all of the populated areas of the Fairbanks North Star Borough. The area runs south and east from Fairbanks to North Pole and the area surrounding Eielson Air Force Base.

Two business workshops offered this month

The Alaska Small Business Development Center will host two workshops this month at the Homer Chamber of Commerce.

There will be a free “Starting a Business” workshop from 1-3 p.m. June 17. Bryan Zak, regional director, will answer basic questions and offer helpful resources to give participants the tools they need to start their own business on the Kenai Peninsula.

Coast Guard offers free safety exams to fishermen

ANCHORAGE (AP) — The Coast Guard is offering free dockside safety exams to fishermen in Bristol Bay communities who request them.

The exams began Monday and will continue through June 20.

The Coast Guard is working with the state Department of Fish and Game and the Alaska Marine Safety Education Association for the effort in Dillingham, King Salmon, Naknek and Egegik.

The Coast Guard says the exams give fishermen a chance to find and address safety issues before they set out for sea.

Council votes for new restrictions on bycatch

JUNEAU (AP) — The Gulf of Alaska trawl fleet faces new restrictions, as fisheries managers seek to limit the number of chinook salmon it unintentionally takes.

The North Pacific Fishery Management Council passed a policy over the weekend that lowers its cap on bycatch of the fish. It’s expected to take a year and a half before the federal government formally adopts the policy, APRN reported.

Ninilchik Emergency Services expands to new site

With the ground finally thawing, Ninilchik Emergency Services held the official groundbreaking at the site for its new building Saturday.

“Thanks to our then legislators, Mike Chenault, Tom Wagoner and Kurt Olson, we obtained a legislative grant of $2.275 million to build a new building,” said Steve Vanek, NES president, of funding made possible by former legislators. 

Pebble Partnership official shares progress on project

Business leaders from the central Kenai Peninsula heard from the Pebble Ltd. Partnership during a joint Kenai and Soldotna Chamber of Commerce luncheon June 5.

Matthew Fagnani, Pebble’s vice president of business development, spoke for about an hour about the proposed mining project, its benefits and what detractors say on the potential harm of natural resource extraction.

Farmers’ Market

This weekend’s Homer Farmers’ Market will be the fourth one this season. That’s one month of markets already. It’s hard to believe, unless you are looking at the offerings. There are already turnips available, as well as kale, onions and a variety of greens.

Did I say greens? 

Buccaneer prefers subsea system to develop its Cosmopolitan site

Independent oil and gas explorer Buccaneer Energy says it would prefer a subsea production system for the development of Cosmopolitan, an oil and gas deposit the company is now testing in Cook Inlet.

It would be the first subsea development in the inlet, where conventional platforms have operated since the 1960s. Buccaneer is one of several independent companies now active in southern Alaska.

Subsea production systems are common in the North Sea, Gulf of Mexico and other offshore regions producing oil and gas.


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