• 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

    UPDATE: MEA restores power to all but 835 customers

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on May 25, 22:35

    Last updated at 12:15 a.m. on Thursday, May 26 The Matanuska Electric Association reported late Wednesday night that all but 835 customers had power restored after a vehicle crash knocked down a utility pole. “Everyone is back on except those affected by a damaged feeder,” the company said on its Twitter account. The company stated […]

  • Crime

    Shooting at South Anchorage gas station leaves 1 dead

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on May 25, 21:25

    Last updated at 10:58 p.m. on Wednesday, May 25 The Anchorage Police Department says someone was killed in a shooting at a Holiday gas station on Abbott Road Wednesday night. The shooting was reported around 9 p.m., according to a statement from police. When police arrived at the scene, they found a person dead from […]

  • News

    Kittens in need of foster families

    by Bonney Bowman on May 25, 20:29

    Anchorage Animal Care and Control (AACC) says it is seeing an influx of kittens and needs more people to care for them by fostering them. The goal of fostering is to socialize the kittens and get them ready for adoption. Jay Jackson has been a kitten foster mom for four years, and said it’s rewarding […]

  • News

    Inside a classified Cold War-era antenna site, now shut down

    by Bonney Bowman on May 25, 19:49

    After 50 years monitoring radio waves, the AN/FLR 9 antenna array on Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson was shut down Wednesday. The site, also known as the “elephant cage,” is a relic from the Cold War. At 40 acres in size and standing 120 feet tall, the antenna array stands mostly unchanged from when it was built […]

  • Lifestyle

    Bean’s Café chef hoping to win Food Network challenge

    by Shannon Ballard on May 25, 19:08

    Shawn Dinkins is a chef at Bean’s Café who helps serve around 800 hot meals daily and is almost always hustling to make sure lunch is ready on time for those who might not otherwise have it. “I know I could have worked at any other restaurant and I love restaurants, but this is where my […]

  • News

    Anchorage gets first canine wildlife inspector

    by Lauren Maxwell on May 25, 18:53

    He may seem like an unlikely hero, but U.S. Department of Fish and Wildlife officers are hoping Dock, an 18-month-old Labrador retriever who started life as a shelter dog, can help them solve a serious problem. Anchorage is one of the busiest cargo hubs in the world, but not everything that comes through the state […]

  • Crime

    DOC commissioner calls officer’s arrest a victory for new unit

    by Eric Ruble on May 25, 16:55

    The Department of Corrections said Wednesday the arrest of one of their own was frustrating for commissioner Dean Williams, but a small victory for a new DOC internal affairs unit. At a press conference, Williams credited the successful investigation and arrest of Goose Creek Corrections officer Adam Spindler, 32, to the commissioner’s new Professional Conduct […]

  • News

    Town Square Park fountain will be removed to address public safety concerns

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on May 25, 14:49

    Anchorage’s Town Square Park fountain will soon be taken down in an effort by the municipality to combat public safety concerns, according to Mayor Ethan Berkowitz. “This fountain is a way of camouflaging criminal activity that I don’t think we just need to tolerate,” Berkowitz said. The mayor made the announcement late-Wednesday morning inside of […]