• 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

  • Weather

    Daybreak weather, Dec. 18

    by Brett Shepard on Dec 18, 7:52

    Skies will be mostly to partly cloudy today in Southcentral. In the Southeast rain and wind will be found over the southern half of the Panhandle with mostly to partly cloudy skies to the north. In the Interior skies will be mostly to partly sunny. On the North Slope skies will be mostly cloudy with […]

  • News

    Group to provide rural dog care in YK villages

    by Associated Press on Dec 18, 7:29

    A nonprofit veterinary group will provide free spay and neutering services for dogs in two Yukon-Kuskokwim villages this week. KYUK reports (http://is.gd/E1bPqX) the Alaska Native Rural Veterinary group will be in Tuntutuliak and Kongiganak on Wednesday and Thursday. Group leader Angie Fitch in Fairbanks says it’s too expensive for people in rural Alaska to fly […]

  • Sports

    International coach sparks speedskating in Anchorage

    by KTVA Sports on Dec 18, 7:12

    John Monroe says speedskating has been lacking in Alaska, and he’s out to change that. Monroe has been all over the world competing and, more recently, coaching the sport of speedskating. He was an assistant coach with the U.S. short-track team, took over the Dutch team after the Torino Olympics and through the Vancouver games. After […]

  • News

    Anchorage man hopes to revitalize Ahtna language with new children’s book

    by Heather Hintze on Dec 17, 21:32

    It all starts with a story. “Ndoxe Tiziyaas?” asked Grant Rebne. That’s half of the title of his new children’s book, with the other half translating to English as “Where are you going?” Rebne hopes the book will inspire people to learn and preserve his native language, Ahtna. “Our language shows our culture,” Rebne said. “It’s who […]

  • News

    Alaska Zoo takes in orphaned bear cubs

    by Bonney Bowman on Dec 17, 21:21

    Two orphaned black bear cubs will have a second shot at life thanks to some TLC at the Alaska Zoo. One of the cubs, a 29-pound male, was found living under a porch in Eagle with an infected bite wound. The other, a 15-pound female, is from Kasilof. She was very underweight, according to zoo executives. […]

  • News

    2 Alaskan women receive Congressional Gold Medal for WWII service

    by Lauren Maxwell on Dec 17, 19:26

    Two Alaskan women share a special honor. Jean White and Jane Soeten were recently awarded a Congressional Gold Medal in Washington, D.C. for their volunteer service in the Civil Air Patrol during World War II. White is 93 years old and has lived in Anchorage for over 50 years. Soeten, 87, moved to Wasilla two years ago. […]

  • News

    200 baby turtles rescued at Anchorage airport

    by Shannon Ballard on Dec 17, 18:24

    The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service seized more than 200 live, baby turtles that were being smuggled to China for the food and pet trade in September. As the turtles made their way through Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport in September, officials discovered them packed inside boots, according to the National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium. As […]

  • News

    Sony cancels Christmas release of ‘The Interview’

    by CNN / AP on Dec 17, 15:59

    WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama says his administration is taking the cyberattack against Sony studios seriously. He says people should “go to the movies.” Sony said Wednesday it was canceling the Dec. 25 release of “The Interview” after many theaters said they would hold off on screening the film. Threats have been made against theaters […]