The Alaska Senate voted 16-3 Tuesday to authorize funding for a buyout of TransCanada’s share in the state’s proposed natural gas pipeline project, AKLNG.


“We all have challenges, and this is an opportunity to turn a challenge into a victory for Alaska,” said Sen. Anna MacKinnon, co-chair of the Senate Finance Committee. Sen. MacKinnon’s committee introduced a substitute to Gov. Bill Walker’s original bill, SB3001.


Senators MacKinnon, Pete Kelly, Click Bishop, Lyman Hoffman, Peter Micciche, Cathy Geissel and Bill Wielechowski all spoke in favor of the bill, urging their colleagues to vote yes.


Sen. Mike Dunleavy was the only member to say he would be voting no on the bill. He said it wasn’t because he didn’t believe the state should buy out TransCanada, but because he says he wants to send a message to the administration. He says Walker and his administration haven’t been able to satisfy his questions about future leadership on the project.


“I’m going to be voting no on this bill to send a message that we can do better,” Dunleavy said. “We should do better. I’ve got some serious concerns, this project is necessary, but it needs to be done right. ”


Senators Dunleavy, Bill Stoltze and Charlie Huggins voted no on the bill.


In a press release issued Tuesday, Walker responded to the vote.


“I thank Senator MacKinnon and Senator Kelly for their leadership in moving this legislation forward,” Walker said. “I am hopeful the House will similarly understand the importance of this legislation, which will allow us to move forward in a project that best serves Alaska.”


The bill now goes to the Alaska House for a vote.