• Forecast
  • News Tip
  • Categories
Temperature Precipitation
Estimated read time
2m 39s

Senators reflect on passage of LNG legislation

By Rhonda McBride 9:49 AM March 20, 2014

Democrats hope House will vet multibillion-dollar proposal

JUNEAU – There was plenty of quarterbacking going on at the Capitol Thursday morning after the passage of Senate Bill 138, the legislation which sets the stage for a liquefied natural gas project.

Now  that SB 138 has moved to the House, Democrats are hopeful some changes can be made to the House version of the bill, HB 277.

“I really believe the House is going to take a much harder look,” said Sen. Hollis French. “I think you’ll see a much different bill come back.”

Once the House passes its version of the bill, both bodies get together to reconcile the differences and vote again.

French and other Democrats introduced 16 amendments to SB 138 during the debate leading up to the vote.

The amendments pointed out flaws identified by two consultants, who raise doubts about the legislation and the partnership the administration of Gov. Sean Parnell formed between the state, ExxonMobil, ConocoPhillips, BP and TransCanada to develop an LNG project.

Although the amendments did not survive, Democrats said they feel they have raised awareness about potential problems with the deal now before the Legislature.

“It was extremely valuable,” said Sen. Bill Wielechowski, an Anchorage Democrat who helped fight for the amendments during the floor debate. “I think what it did was crystalize the concerns that existed.”

The amendments raise questions about a number of issues that include the state’s partnership with TransCanada, the ability of municipalities and boroughs to levy property taxes and the risks of the state taking royalty and tax payments in gas rather than cash.

The Senate majority argues the potential rewards outweigh the risks, which at this point involve a cash outlay of less than $100 million.

They also point to the lopsided 15-5 vote, which they say shows the confidence the majority of the Senate has in the bill.

Sen. Anna Fairclough quoted from Mary Anne Radmacher, author of “Lean Forward.”

“If you were asked to take a seat on a rocket ship, you don’t ask which seat. You get on board,” Fairclough said.

The rocket is taking off, and now it’s up to the House to make changes to a bill that would do something that’s never been done before — give the state ownership in an energy megaproject.

Sen. Peter Micciche, a Republican from Soldotna, voted for SB 138. He said it has all the tools to move the project forward.

But he expects the House to make more changes.

“Personally, I’ve not seen a piece of legislation that the Senate has blessed that the House has ever improved,” Micciche said jokingly.

Although Democrats and Republicans remain far apart on the legislation, Fairclough said Tuesday’s debate was impressive.

“We had statesmen on the floor yesterday on both sides of the aisle,” Fairclough said. “I appreciated that nothing got personal, that we talked about the issues important to Alaskans. I really applaud the minority for their efforts.”

And one effort might pay off – the Democrats’ push to hear from two consultants critical of the governor’s natural gas proposal, Roger Marks and Rick Harper. Fairclough believes it’s likely lawmakers in the House will want to question them in upcoming committee hearings.

Latest Stories

  • Lifestyle

    Here’s when hospital patients are less likely to die

    by Amy Norton / Health Day / CBS on Mar 25, 18:05

    Hospital patients may be less likely to die if they are treated during weeks that inspectors are checking on the staff, a new study suggests. In the United States, hospitals are accredited by a body known as the Joint Commission. Inspectors from the commission make unannounced visits to each hospital every 18 to 36 months, […]

  • News

    Trump budget proposal cuts funding for after-school, free meal programs in Alaska

    by Heather Hintze on Mar 25, 17:58

    One of President Donald Trump’s budget proposals could leave thousands of Alaska kids without after-school programs or summer lunches. Trump’s plan calls to eliminate $1.2 billion in grants for the 21st Century Community Learning Centers. In Alaska, there are about 5,700 students in 37 of those federally funded programs. The Mountain View Elementary School after-school program regularly […]

  • Sports

    Lions, Grizzlies crowned 3A champs in ASAA high school basketball state tournament finals

    by KTVA Sports on Mar 25, 17:51

    The final games for the 3A and 4A classifications in the Alaska School Activities Association (ASAA) high school basketball state tournament were set to take place this weekend at the Alaska Airlines Center in Anchorage.  Last weekend, the 1A titles were taken home by the Scammon Bay Lady Eagles and the Ninilchik Wolverines, while the Bristol Bay Lady Angels and Petersburg […]

  • News

    Royal Suite Lodge fire child victims receive a special gift from Anchorage woman

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Mar 25, 17:43

    When Denise Bogue-Skoniecski first heard about the fatal Royal Suite Lodge fire, she said she knew things were bad, but hearing about what the youngest of the victims lost drove her to do something. “When I heard about the two little girls – trying not to cry – who lost their mama, the Lord laid […]

  • Lifestyle

    ‘Solar-powered skin’ could open new doors for prosthetics

    by Ashley Welch / CBS News on Mar 25, 12:58

    Engineers have developed a new way of harnessing the sun’s rays to power “synthetic skin” that they hope can be used to create advanced prosthetic limbs capable of returning the sense of touch to amputees. The researchers from the University of Glasgow had previously created “electronic skin” for prosthetic hands made from graphene, a highly […]

  • News

    London attacker Khalid Masood taught English in Saudi Arabia

    by CBS/AP on Mar 25, 12:49

    The British man who killed four people during a London rampage had made three trips to Saudi Arabia: He taught English there twice on a work visa and returned on a visa usually granted to those going on a religious pilgrimage. More details about attacker Khalid Masood’s travels, confirmed by the Saudi Arabian embassy in […]

  • Sports

    Alaska’s Hebard leads Oregon to another NCAA win

    by Dave Goldman on Mar 25, 12:21

    They did it again. West Valley High School’s Ruthy Hebard helped the 10th-seeded University of Oregon Ducks women’s basketball team to another upset win in the NCAA tournament. This time it was a 77-63 shocker over the third-seeded Maryland Terps at the regional in Bridgeport, Connecticut. The victory puts the Ducks into the Elite Eight […]

  • Lifestyle

    In lavish style, entourage of Chinese tourists and crew runs its own ‘Iditarod’

    by Tyler Stup / KNOM on Mar 25, 12:03

    Days before the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race finished, on Sunday, March 12, a group of Chinese tourists arrived at Nome’s burled arch after mushing the trail themselves. But unlike the competitive finishers of Iditarod 2017, these first-time mushers had been aided in their run by a large entourage of traveling trail staff, with a bevy […]