• 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

  • News

    1 injured in Parks Highway crash near Talkeetna

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Nov 24, 14:45

    A woman was flown to Anchorage for treatment after she was injured in a head-on collision along the Parks Highway Monday afternoon, Alaska State Troopers say. The woman was driving north when she lost control of her Subaru Outback, crossed the center line and collided with a southbound Dodge Ram truck at Mile 101.5 of […]

  • News

    Hilcorp acquires LNG plant that supplies Fairbanks

    by Associated Press on Nov 24, 14:08

    Hilcorp Corp. will buy the liquefied natural gas plant that supplies Fairbanks Natural Gas. The Alaska Journal of Commerce (http://bit.ly/1xuN5nf) reports Hilcorp will buy the Point MacKenzie LNG plant from Titan Alaska LNG, a subsidiary of Fairbanks Natural Gas. Fairbanks Natural Gas President and CEO Dan Britton says the sale grew from discussions between Fairbanks […]

  • News

    Parent objects to showing of drug documentary

    by Associated Press on Nov 24, 11:20

    A Juneau mother says her 12-year-old daughter came home from a school health class with a little too much insight into how to cook and smoke methamphetamine. The Juneau Empire (http://bit.ly/1vFP3pQ) reports Tauni Duncan objected after her daughter watched a documentary, the National Geographic Channel’s “World’s Most Dangerous Drug,” as part of a drug awareness […]

  • On-Air

    Teacher of the Week: John Bruce

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Nov 24, 10:37

    You wouldn’t consider these seventh-grade algebra students football fanatics. But you can bet they know who the defending Super Bowl champions are. In a way, Seattle Seahawks fan John Bruce is like coach in the classroom, teaching his students ways to use math in the real world. “Kids always ask you, ‘why are we doing […]

  • News

    Hawaii and Alaska pay more for Thanksgiving feasts

    by Associated Press on Nov 24, 8:57

    Residents of Hawaii pay the highest prices in the nation for their tasty birds and fixings on Thanksgiving, and Alaska feasts are almost as expensive. That’s according to an analysis by the personal finance website NerdWallet. Most food has to be flown or shipped into both states. The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reports (http://goo.gl/6HhPO2) that Hilo and […]

  • Sports

    UAA rebounds with a 4-0 win against Northern Michigan

    by KTVA Sports on Nov 24, 8:12

    It should be a happy Thanksgiving for the UAA hockey team after a victory over the Northern Michigan Wildcats over the weekend.

  • Sports

    UAA teams gain momentum ahead of Great Alaska Shootout

    by KTVA Sports on Nov 24, 8:04

    As the Great Alaska Shootout approaches, the UAA men’s and women’s basketball teams are headed in the right direction. The tournament, which kicks off Tuesday, will be held at the Alaska Airlines Center.

  • Weather

    Daybreak weather, Nov. 24

    by Brett Shepard on Nov 24, 7:50

    Mostly cloudy skies today with a few showers over the Kenai Peninsula and Prince William Sound. In the Southeast skies will be cloudy with rain at times. In the Interior skies will be cloudy. On the North Slope there will be mostly to partly cloudy skies with flurries and fog. Out West skies will be […]