Three U.S. secretaries confirm, then cancel trip to Alaska energy fair
The 12th annual Renewable Energy Fair at the Chena Hot Springs Resort Sunday turned the heads of some key figures in Washington D.C., including U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry.
Perry was to be a keynote speaker at the event, along with Agriculture Secretary Sonny Purdue, and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke.
The fair showcases on renewable energy projects from around the globe and ideas for sustainable living.
The three secretaries were taken off the agenda just before the start of the event. Bernie Karl, owner of the Chena Hot Springs Resort chalks it up to unpredictable schedules.
"When you're that high up in the government, everything's fluid," said Karl. "And to be honest with you I can't tell you what happened, as of just yesterday Congressman Don Young told me that the Secretary of Interior was going to be here."
Karl says in the case of Purdue, it was nuclear developments in North Korea that kept him from being able to break away from D.C.
"He called me and said he's apologetic, but this is what I got to do, I've got to be in Washington," said Karl. "I mean, who am I to say what the secretaries are supposed to do? And I don't know what happened to Agriculture because we actually met with the undersecretary when we were in D.C. and they haven't gotten back with me, so you know as much as I know."
Deputy Secretary of Energy, Dan Brouillette subbed in for Perry Sunday. Brouillette told KTVA President Trump's decision to withdraw from the Paris agreement doesn't impact the department's operations.
Brouillette said he is particularly interested in how Alaskans have been able to implement micro grids in rural parts of the state, calling Alaska a pioneer for renewable energy.
Gov. Bill Walker, Sen. Lisa Murkowski and China-based company Kaishan also expressed their support innovation in the state.
Kaishan developed a new piece of equipment unveiled at the fair Sunday. The company's screw expander now allows more of the Chena Hot Springs resort to be powered by geothermal energy.