• 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

    Obama highlights Sitka School District’s efforts in technology

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Nov 22, 13:00

    This week, the Sitka School District got a shout-out from President Barack Obama. Superintendent of Sitka Schools Mary Wegner was in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday, joining more than 100 superintendents from across the country gathered together at the White House for the ConnectED to the Future conference. The day-long event recognized some of the nation’s […]

  • News

    Fairbanks prisoner accused of soliciting murder

    by Associated Press on Nov 22, 12:01

    An imprisoned former chiropractor and gun dealer from Fairbanks has been accused of attempting to solicit the murder of federal officers while behind bars. The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner (http://goo.gl/VVMn92 ) reports Guy Christopher Mannino, 56, has been in prison since Oct. 2013 awaiting sentencing for federal weapons charges. The office of the U.S. Attorney says […]

  • News

    Alaska Gov.-elect Walker names full transition team

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Nov 22, 11:47

    Gov.-elect Bill Walker has taken his first big step towards taking over the helm of outgoing Gov. Sean Parnell. Walker kicked off his transition conference Friday night at the Alaska Airlines Center. There, about 300 people showed up to hear the incoming administration’s overview of Alaska’s current financial situation. Walker was blunt in his address, saying […]

  • News

    5,000 toys to be delivered to tots around Alaska

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Nov 22, 11:06

    Alaska Airlines and the U.S. Marines are getting into the holiday spirit and children around Alaska are reaping the benefits. Friday, Marines delivered nearly 5,000 toys to the airline’s cargo hanger to be shipped out to children across the state. As part of their annual Toys for Tots program, all of the gifts were donated […]

  • News

    Winter gives cold shoulder to Anchorage snow-based business

    by Dave Leval on Nov 21, 22:35

    Plow trucks usually hit the road around Alaska this time of year, clearing snow from parking lots and roads. But this year, most are parked in driveways, waiting for the next big snowfall to hit the Anchorage area. “We’ve got all the plows off the trucks,” said Mike Anderson, owner of Alaska Premier Services. It’s […]

  • News

    Caring for our soldiers at home

    by Bonney Bowman on Nov 21, 21:51

    Alaska soldiers deployed to Afghanistan have been home for a couple days; getting used to life away from the war and back with their families. It can be a tough adjustment, but the U.S. Army works to help the soldiers make a smooth transition. 1st Lt. Nathan Seaman and his fellow soldiers are going through […]

  • News

    Alaskan advocates optimistic about Obama immigration plan

    by Shannon Ballard on Nov 21, 20:52

    Alaskans are reacting to President Obama’s controversial plans to take executive action on immigration. Obama’s plan offers temporary legal status to millions of undocumented immigrants, including thousands in the 49th state. It also protects undocumented parents of children born in the states. Republicans are questioning the president’s right to bypass Congress and act on his own. […]

  • Weather

    Evening News weather, Nov. 21

    by KTVA Weather on Nov 21, 20:19

      Kenai Peninsula and Prince William Sound - Skies will be cloudy with a chance of showers. Southeast - The panhandle will have showers with snow levels 1000′ to the north and 1400′ around Juneau. Interior and North Slope - Areas will have a mix of sun and clouds with some snow showers by Delta Junction. Slope areas […]