Republican Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn’s annual “Wastebook” released Tuesday purports to document cases of wasteful federal spending.
No. 59 in the 100-item list is a $450,000 federal grant awarded to Juneau’s Alaskan Brewing Company. The Wastebook says the grant gives the already successful company “a big profit boost courtesy of the federal government.”
The money covered a quarter of the cost of the brewing company’s first-of-its-kind boiler that generates heat from the spent grains used to make beer.
Andy Kline is the spokesman for Alaskan Brewing.
“So that was a significant risk to be the first, you know, brewery in the world to try this system, and the USDA’s grant helped us mitigate a portion of that risk.”
They’re taking the listing in stride.
“I think it gives us an opportunity to talk about a project that we’re incredibly proud of,” Kline said with a chuckle. “You know, I think this guy has his opinion, but, in fact, it’s barely negative.”
Kline says the environment and federal government also benefit.
“Part of the point of what the senator said is that we’re a successful brand and we’re enjoyed in 15 states. We’re happy with that success, and that success lets us pay about $2 million annually in federal excise taxes. So on a dollar figure alone, the federal government’s getting a pretty good return on that investment.”
Kline says no one from the senator’s office has contacted the company about the listing.
(Full disclosure: Alaskan Brewing sponsors many public radio events in Juneau and Kline often volunteers his time.)
- The Department of Fish and Game will pull the north line of the Ugashik District back away from the haulout site again, Salomone said, the same as last year. The exact coordinates will be published with the first announcement from Fish and Game about June 1.
- The Navy will scan Kodiak and Unalaska waters for World War II-era munitions using underwater drones next month, as part of an ongoing effort to eventually remove the explosives. What could happen and whether the historic weapons would detonate is unclear.
- Whales might be the largest animals on the planet, but they haven't always been so huge. Researchers say the ocean giants only became enormous fairly recently, and over a short period of time.
- Typical criminal cases go to local district attorneys for consideration. The head of the Office of Special Prosecutions wouldn't elaborate on why this case was in his office.