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Home » Caucus Press » NEWS: Senate Democrats Offer Amendments To Improve Gasline Legislation, Protect Alaskans

NEWS: Senate Democrats Offer Amendments To Improve Gasline Legislation, Protect Alaskans

For Immediate Release: March 18th, 2014

Senate Democrats Offer Amendments To Improve Gasline Legislation, Protect Alaskans

Amendments defend Alaska sovereignty, protect property tax payers and potential Alaska gas consumers 

         JUNEAU – Members of the Senate Democratic Caucus offered amendments today on the Senate floor to improve enabling gasline legislation, Senate Bill 138.  Recently released reports by independent consultants retained by the Legislative Budget and Audit Committee raised important questions about project economics, particularly if Alaska partners with TransCanada as proposed by the Governor. 

         In total, Senate Democrats offered 16 amendments.  To view the amendments, click here:

         http://alaskasenatedems.com/docs/031814_gasline-amendments.pdf

         Senator Hollis French (D-Anchorage) presented an amendment to establish the state of Alaska as a 51% owner of any sanctioned LNG project.  Analysis of the current proposed project by independent consultants indicates Alaska receives little value from a minority equity position.

         “Alaska is an Owner-State.  Trading away our precious sovereignty in exchange for a position as a junior investment partner with the most sophisticated and successful corporations in world history is a recipe for disaster.  We own the gas, period.  The head of the table is the only seat we belong in,” said Senator French. 

         Senator Johnny Ellis (D-Anchorage) offered a “No PILT (payment in lieu of taxes)” amendment to protect municipalities and boroughs ability to fund the expansion of schools, roads, and public safety services due to the influx of people and infrastructure related to construction of a gas pipeline. 

         “Alaska municipalities and boroughs deserve their fair share.  The PILT payments unfairly burden the local governments that provide essential services such as public safety, roads, and schools.  In the end, if it remains unchanged, the Governor’s bill will pass on that burden to property tax payers, and that should have been unacceptable to every lawmaker. We want and support a gasline, not another giveaway,” stated Senator Ellis. 

         Senator Berta Gardner (D-Anchorage) proposed an amendment that would halt payment from the state of Alaska to TransCanada, or any other midstream partners, if the project is not sanctioned.

         “The heart of this project is an effort to align the interests of all stakeholders for both risk and reward, yet Alaska is taking TransCanada’s risk – on the hook for repaying all TransCanada costs, with interest, if the project does not move forward to the next stage, regardless of which partner pulls out.  This is not alignment,” said Senator Gardner.

         Senator Bill Wielechowski (D-Anchorage) offered an amendment to ensure the North Slope’s three major oil producers, who together would control and own a majority stake in the gas pipeline as currently proposed, could not write off gasline construction expenditures on oil tax payments. 

         “This legislation sacrifices Alaska’s sovereignty and awards the biggest sole source contract in state history.  Alaska needs to stop studying this issue and start building a gas line,” stated Senator Wielechowski.

         To view Legislative Budget and Audit Committee consultant reports on SB 138, click here:

         http://alaskasenatedems.com/docs/031714_SB138-HB277_Marks-evaluation.pdf

         http://alaskasenatedems.com/docs/031714_AK_Pipeline-LNG_report.pdf

         For more information contact Myer Hutchinson at (907) 465-5319.

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