Alaska lawmakers pleased by Chinese gas agreement
State lawmakers on both sides of the aisle say they were pleased by Gov. Bill Walker's announcement late Wednesday of a gas agreement with China.
The five-party memorandum of understanding with Chinese organizations comes after decades of initiatives to try to build a gas pipeline in Alaska.
"Notice that we had the president of the two biggest economies on the planet sitting there when this was signed," said Sen. Bert Stedman (R-Sitka), a member of the Senate Resources Committee. "This isn’t, you know, a cold call trying to sell a product. This is of national interest both to the United States of America and China."
"I’m hopeful that this could finally be the real thing. Now we have a lot of information to gather and we’re in sort of a wait and see posture," said Rep. Andy Josephson (D-Anchorage), Co-Chair of the House Resources Committee.
The state's latest project, Alaska LNG, is estimated to cost more than $40 billion.
Wednesday's announcement doesn’t include any concrete agreements on who will pay for the project. On Thursday, members of the legislature were divided on whether to keep AKLNG going through next year.
"I would say likely not, cuz this is too preliminary, but if this looked T’s are crossed and I’s are dotted, and that there really could be a project in the 2020s then yes," said Josephson.
Stedman called the agreement a huge development.
"The legislature, in no way, is going to stop this project when you have the United States of America and China sitting at the table, wanting this project to move forward to the next several steps," Stedman said.
State funding for AKLNG runs out at the end of this fiscal year, in June of 2018.
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