AKLeg Special Session, Day 3: Lawmakers consider TransCanada expertise
Lawmakers heard more testimony from Gov. Bill Walker’s administration Monday on why to buy more ownership in a natural gas pipeline project known as AKLNG. As legislators weighed the pros and cons of whether to buy out TransCanada Corporation, members of the Senate Finance Committee said they need answers to more specific questions, like who will hold decision-making power for Alaska on the project.
At a committee meeting Tuesday morning with the Department of Natural Resources, Senate Finance members said they’re waiting on the governor’s administration to give them an organizational chart of the hierarchy on the project.
“We’d like to see some names in those boxes, or at least some criteria for who’s going to fill those boxes. And I think we’re stalled until we see,” said Sen. Peter Micciche, a Republican from Soldotna. “And this is coming from someone who’s largely in support of this deal.”
In her presentation to the committee, Marty Rutherford, DNR deputy commissioner, named Dan Fauske and Joe Dubler as Alaska Gasline Development Corporation’s leaders on the project.
Sen. Donald Olson questioned whether or not AGDC would have the necessary expertise.
“As you look at Mr. Dubler and Mr. Fauske, I don’t remember in their resume any extensive experience in dealing with a megaproject like this,” Olson said.
Rutherford said Rigdon Boykin, a South Carolina-based attorney, will continue to work as a consultant on the project.
Olson said he’s not sure if Boykin’s a good choice.
“I was on a teleconference back in November and Mr. Boykin came on and one of his blustery comments was, ‘I tend to get my way when I’m in negotiations,’” Olson said. “And when somebody comes on with that type of forcefulness, it almost reminds me of Donald Trump.”
Members of the Senate questioned whether the team could match TransCanada’s level of expertise on the project. Rutherford said that as a team, they could.
“I think any of us who are working with the state, we don’t have the same competencies that a lot of the experts, some of our outside consultants have,” Rutherford said. “But I firmly believe that a team approach as we move forward with those negotiations, we need to be fully utilizing those experts that we’ve hired to bring in.”
In a statement, Walker said:
Joe Dubler and Dan Fauske are both successful and sophisticated finance professionals who have been involved in gasline efforts for a number of years. Under SB 138, the Legislature assigned the Alaska Gasline Development Corporation a role in the Alaska LNG framework. By acquiring TransCanada’s current duties, AGDC will simply expand their level of participation to include pipeline and gas treatment plant work. This scope of work is similar to AGDC’s current efforts on the Alaska Stand Alone Pipeline.
Members of the Senate will hear from members of AGDC, including Dubler, Tuesday.
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