TUCK COMES UP SHORT ON UNION VOTE: Rep. Chris Tuck has been running for election, but not for his District 23 House seat. He had hoped to land the job of business manager for the IBEW 1547 and was in a runoff election, which ended July 10. Tuck lost to Dave Reaves, who has been assistant business manager at IBEW for a couple of years. Reaves took 68 percent of the vote to Tuck’s 32 percent.
Tuck made a concession statement on Facebook.
ENI GETS NOD FOR OFF-SHORE BEAUFORT: The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management has approved Eni US’ plan to drill four exploration wells on submerged lands in the Beaufort Sea. The drilling site is northwest of Prudhoe Bay and will begin in December, supported by an ice road to the Spy Island location at Nikiatchuq.
TOP COP: Juneau has a new police chief. Ed Mercer, currently deputy chief, will take over when Chief Bryce Johnson leaves for a position in Idaho later this month. Mercer has spent 17 years with PFD, working his way through the ranks. Before that, he was a police officer in Sitka.
NEW POLITICAL REPORTER, FBX: Erin Granger is the new state government reporter for the Fairbanks News-Miner. Most recently she was an intern at the Juneau Empire, and wrote for the UAF student paper, the Sun Star. She replaces Matt Buxton who now writes for a political blog, MidnightSunAK.
CONOCOPHILLIPS SHUTS LNG PLANT: The last remaining asset that ConocoPhillips has in Nikiski has been up for sale for some time, but with no immediate buyers for an aging LNG plant, the company is putting it on ice.
The global market for LNG is flooded, and no exports are on the horizon soon for Alaska.
The business decision was made during a time when Gov. Bill Walker is attempting to build the largest infrastructure project in North America, the AK-LNG gasline, which would allow exports to Asia of Alaska’s natural gas, where supplies are plentiful now. The governor hopes that condition will change by 2025.
About 18 employees will be impacted by the closure of the facility.
The Kenai Peninsula has seen a drop in employment in 2015 and 2016, with nearly 1,000 fewer jobs. More than half of the 675 jobs in oil and gas that existed in 2015 were gone by the this time last year.