• 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

    The deal is off: Berkowitz says muni won’t trade park land to airport

    by Daniella Rivera on Sep 03, 23:07

    A controversial land swap between the Municipality of Anchorage and Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport is off, according to Mayor Ethan Berkowitz. The deal would have turned some of Point Woronzof Park and part of the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail into a runway. Many people in Anchorage who enjoy the park and trail and have been […]

  • News

    French investigators: Wing part is from Malaysia Airlines Flight 370

    by CBS News on Sep 03, 22:35

    French investigators have formally identified a washed-up piece of airplane debris found in July on a remote island in the Indian Ocean as part of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, a Boeing 777 that disappeared more than a year ago with 239 people aboard. Investigators have been examining the wing part, called a flaperon, since it was […]

  • Weather

    Evening News Weather, Sept. 3

    by KTVA Weather on Sep 03, 21:26

    Kenai Peninsula/Prince William Sound Rain will be likely all across the Kenai and Prince William Sound for Friday as our current weather system will continue to bring showers to the area. Highs will be mainly in the mid 50s.   Southeast Further south, expect mostly cloudy skies with maybe a hit or miss shower while to […]

  • Lifestyle

    Swift swine race at the Alaska State Fair

    by Shannon Ballard on Sep 03, 21:15

    Which little piggy will win the big pig races the Alaska State Fair? Three times a day, six piglets get geared up and ready to run. They have some creative names, like Ham Solo and Lord Voldepork, but what you might not realize is these piggies sprint at about 17 miles per hour. They are American […]

  • On-Air

    Alaska Fishing Report for Sept. 3, 2015

    by Carlos Faura on Sep 03, 21:09

    Anchorage Lakes are getting better with the cooling water. Campbell Creek is OK for silvers and trout. Some silvers in Ship Creek below the dam.   Mat-Su Valley streams are getting better for trout. Lakes are cooling — that is good for fishing. Salmon runs are quickly winding down in the streams and rivers.   […]

  • News

    Nordstrom Rack opens in Anchorage

    by Lauren Maxwell on Sep 03, 20:59

    It was an event some shoppers said they’d waited years for as the new Nordstrom Rack opened its doors in Anchorage Thursday morning.  More than 500 shoppers lined up in the rain hours before the store even opened at the Sears Mall. By late afternoon more than 1,300 people had come through the doors. “One of […]

  • News

    Anchorage police warn drivers of recent uptick in vehicle thefts

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Sep 03, 19:09

    The Anchorage Police Department says reports of stolen vehicles have gone up almost 60 percent in July and August. APD data shows 244 vehicles were reported stolen in the Municipality of Anchorage in July and August, compared to 153 stolen vehicles reported in May and June of this year, according to police. The National Highway […]

  • News

    Satellite images reveal scope of Alaska wildfire destruction

    by Eric Ruble on Sep 03, 18:56

    2015 will go down in history as one of the most destructive years for wildfires in Alaska. The state’s Division of Forestry said that more than five million acres have burned statewide since the start of the season. During his visit to Alaska, President Barack Obama said the wildfires were a result of climate change. […]