ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - Alaska and Texas have many connections, perhaps the largest being the oil industry, the military and the sheer size of the states. According to IRS numbers for the past 14 years, the greatest amounts of people who moved to Alaska, from out-of-state, came from Washington, California and Texas. Texas ranked third.
So when a hurricane hits in Texas, chances are Alaskans are worried, and know someone, or someplace, that's been impacted.
The IRS numbers, complied by the state of Alaska, cannot be broken down by industry; however, a top researcher with the Department of Labor and Workforce Development says about 2,000 people typically come to Alaska, from Texas, annually.
"It's between 2,000 and up to almost 3,000, in 2011 to 2012," DOLWD researcher Dan Robinson said. "The numbers probably have gone down in the last few years, because of our oil industry losses and the Texas oil industry is actually doing quit well."
But now, the Texas industry is being majorly impacted by Hurricane Harvey.
Dozens of oil and gas production platforms in the Gulf of Mexico have shutdown temporarily. But that probably won't mean an increase in demand for Alaska's oil; although, it could have a slight impact on crude oil prices.
"Short term, there could be a price increase on all fuels and in crude too, which would have some short-term benefit to our state treasury," said Tim Bradner, the editor of the Alaska Economic Report and Alaska Inc. Magazine. "But you know, I would suspect the affect here, in Alaska, would be pretty marginal. And in the country, as a whole, it's too early to say."
Bradner says this shows vulnerabilities, because so much of the country's energy infrastructure is concentrated in one area.
"Our country has such a large share of our existing petroleum infrastructure in the U.S. Gulf that something like this can have a major impact," Bradner said.
Meanwhile, Governor Bill Walker sent a letter to Governor Greg Abbott of Texas, offering help in the Hurricane Harvey recovery efforts. In the letter he wrote:
"Our thoughts and prayers go out to the people of Texas, as they deal with historic flooding and damage from Hurricane Harvey. I’ll never forget how big of an impact small acts of kindness meant to Valdez after the 1964 earthquake. In the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, I want to extend to Texas the Alaskan spirit of pulling together, and offer help. To aid Texas, Alaska has deployed more than 20 personnel from the 249th Airlift Squadron and the Alaska Air National Guard. May God watch over them and those affected by the hurricane."