Alaska to get $80 million in coastal impact aid

Alaska will receive as much as $80 million of coastal impact assistance authorized under Section 384 of the Energy Policy Act of 2005, said the US Minerals Management Service on Oct. 16.

Nick Snow
Washington Editor

WASHINGTON, DC, Oct. 18 -- Alaska will receive as much as $80 million of coastal impact assistance authorized under Section 384 of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (EPACT 2005), said the US Minerals Management Service on Oct. 16. The state and eight eligible boroughs will share the money, it said.

The law, including the Coastal Impact Assistance Program (CIAP), authorizes the US Interior secretary to distribute $250 million/year to six Outer Continental Shelf oil and gas-producing states in fiscal 2007-10, MMS said. Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, and California and are the other five states, it indicated.

Alaska is the second of the six eligible states to receive funding under the program, MMS Director Randall B. Luthi said during a ceremony at Kincaid Park in Anchorage.

CIAP funding must be used for coastal area and wetlands conservation, preservation, or restoration projects; fish, wildlife, or natural resources damage mitigation; planning assistance and costs associated with CIAP legislative compliance; implementation of a federally-approved marine, coastal, or comprehensive management plan; or mitigation of the impact of OCS activities through funding of onshore infrastructure projects and public service needs, according to the US Department of the Interior agency.

Annual payouts to rise
MMS said Alaska will receive $2.5 million/year each for fiscal years 2007 and 2008. The annual payout will climb to $30-40 million in fiscal 2009 and 2010 as a result of federal OCS Lease Sale No. 193 in the Chukchi Sea, which was held this past February. Funding revenue was determined by OCS revenue, with the first 2 years based on the fiscal 2006 total and the last 2 years based on the fiscal 2008 figure, MMS said.

It said Alaska will receive 65% of the funding, and the balance will be shared by the Anchorage, Bristol Bay, Kenai Peninsula, Kodiak Island, Lake & Peninsula, Matanuska-Susitna, North Slope, and Northwest Arctic boroughs. Borough shares, which range from 0.08% for Bristol Bay to 35.27% for North Slope, are determined by a formula in EPACT, it said.

Alaska's plan currently contains 51 projects covering all 4 years of the program, but it was developed before the Chukchi Sea lease sale results were known, MMS said. Consequently, the state is amending its plan to consider a broader array of projects, it noted.

In a separate announcement, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin's office said on Oct. 15 that the state would solicit additional projects soon through the Governor's Office Policy Cabinet for implementation by the state's Department of Natural Resources.

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com.

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