Gene Peltola, husband of Rep. Mary Peltola, is trying to get a piece of Alaska’s emerging carbon market.

Gov. Mike Dunleavy (R – Alaska), who was re-elected in November, has made selling carbon credits a top priority for his second term as a means of raising new state revenue. Members of his administration have been briefing lawmakers and the press on a “Carbon Management Bill” that he plans to introduce soon.

Gene Peltola, the husband of Congresswoman Mary Peltola (D – Alaska), has been trying to get a piece of this nascent Alaskan industry since July of last year through a company he co-owns, according to documents obtained by Landmine. .

A January 12 press release from Dunleavy’s office stated:

We will shortly be presenting our Carbon Management Act package to launch the State into the emerging carbon market. Managing this resource is clearly in Alaska’s best interest. It is aligned with our constitutional mandate to develop all resources. This opportunity does not preclude or adversely affect existing industries in Alaska, such as logging. Carbon monetization has the very real potential to generate millions, if not billions, of dollars in revenue for the state of Alaska. We will ask legislators to seriously consider the legislation that will be introduced.

On July 11, 2022, a company called Alaska Carbon Solutions registered as an LLC in the state of Alaska. The company has four equal owners, one of whom is Gene Peltola. Peltola and three others each own 25% of the company. Eight days after the formation of Alaska Carbon Solutions, an additional five LLCs were registered, all 100% owned by Alaska Carbon Solutions. They are called Alaska Carbon Solutions 1-5.

On July 5 and 10, 2022, Peltola, Jack Barksdale, and Robert Nantz met with Dunleavy in Anchorage and Houston, according to Dunleavy’s official schedule. The day after the July 10 meeting, Alaska Carbon Solutions registered as an Alaska LLC. Pletola, Barksdale and Nantz were each listed as 25% owners.

Peltola told Landmine that after retiring from his position at the Bureau of Indian Affairs in May, he was looking for his next opportunity and settled on carbon sequestration. She said she executed him by ethics, who said he was fine since she didn’t violate his one-year probationary period in fishing and tribal service work. He also said that he has known Dunleavy since he was a coach in the Northwest Arctic District when Dunleavy was superintendent.

Peltola said that after meetings last summer with Tyson Gallagher, Dunleavy’s then-interim chief of staff, and Brandon Brefczynski, Dunleavy’s then-deputy chief of staff, they asked him to submit a proposal for carbon offsetting.

Documents obtained by Landmine show that at some point in July, Alaska Carbon Solutions proposed a “binding memorandum of understanding between the State of Alaska and Alaska Carbon Solutions regarding forestry-based carbon solutions.”

The contract that Alaska Carbon Solutions sent to Dunleavy was not signed. Sources confirm that the Law Department told the Governor’s Office that the state could not enter into the deal because a sole-source contract would have violated the state’s procurement code, and there is no mechanism for selling carbon credits in the state. Alaska law. The carbon bill that Dunleavy is introducing would create that framework in state law.

Under the proposed agreement, Alaska Carbon Solutions would pay to survey and develop state lands dedicated to carbon offsetting and would pay the state $200 million in exchange for 69% of the revenue after recovering the initial payment of $200 million.

A July 15 letter, sent by Advantage Capital to Alaska Carbon Solutions, says that Advantage Capital is “very interested in facilitating the financing of carbon offset projects in the state of Alaska with Alaska Carbon Solutions.” Advantage Capital is a venture capital firm with offices across the country.

The proposal did not say how many acres of state land they planned to use for carbon offsets, but additional documents obtained by Landmine indicate the deal would involve 18.6 million acres, spread across five areas of the state.

Last Wednesday, January 18, Dunleavy and members of his Cabinet, including Lieutenant Governor Nancy Dahlstrom (R – Alaska), Natural Resources Commissioner David Boyle and Revenue Commissioner Adam Crum met with dozens of lawmakers in the Hall of the Governor’s Cabinet to inform you about its carbon emissions policy. Alaska Carbon Solutions’ Peltola and Barksdale Credit Plan were in the room for that meeting, as were employees of Boreal Carbon, a Canadian company that is involved in the carbon credit business.

Peltola said they were all invited by the Governor’s Office to present to lawmakers. Also present at the meeting was John Tichotsky, a former employee of the Department of Revenue and a known agent of the Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich. Peltola said Tichotsky is involved with his company financially. Following the meeting in the Governor’s Cabinet Room, there was an event at the Governor’s Mansion attended by many of the same people who attended the briefing. Peltola, Barksdale and Tichotsky attended.

The day before that meeting, lobbyist Andy Baker registered Peltola Solutions as a new client for an annual fee of $1,000. When contacted and asked if he was doing any work for Peltola related to carbon credits or offsets, Baker said: “I’m working on whatever he wants me to work on related to development.”

Peltola said he hired Baker because he has been doing internal outreach but needed help and wanted to hire an Alaska Native lobbyist. Peltola is in Juneau this week and said he met with 5-6 legislators today to discuss carbon credits. He also says his company plans to pursue a carbon contract as long as the Legislature passes a bill.

A Dunleavy spokesperson provided the following comment when asked about his involvement with Peltola and Alaska Carbon Solutions:

Governor Dunleavy is not involved with Alaska Carbon Solutions beyond the discussions they started, indicating that they were interested in doing business with the state of Alaska to monetize carbon. The governor informed the company that state statutes do not allow exclusive sourcing and that he would discuss carbon and how best to monetize it with legislators.

The Dunleavy Administration will introduce legislation in the near future that allows for a competitive RFP process for carbon monetization that could generate significant new revenue for the state government.

Carbon offset programs are a relatively new industry. In theory, they allow one entity to “offset” its greenhouse gas production by paying another entity to reduce greenhouse gas production elsewhere. This, again, in theory, should create an efficient carbon market in which greenhouse gas production is reduced as cheaply as possible. However, critics allege that carbon offset programs do nothing to reduce greenhouse gas production by individuals or companies, and that providers of carbon credits often exaggerate the amount of carbon they have reduced. or claim credit for carbon that would never have entered the atmosphere anyway. Once Dunleavy’s bill is introduced, it will surely be hotly debated in the Legislature.