The leaders of the state Senate Resources Committee today (Monday) opened a way for the public to participate in developing a statewide energy plan.
Bill Wielechowski and Lesil McGuire – both of Anchorage – released a fifty-page draft plan they have put together from listening to the public at legislative hearings and studying policies in other states and several other countries. They are encouraging people to weigh in on the issues they raise – for or against any of about seventy items – or to add new proposals to the plan.
McGuire listed the overall goals of the plan, from making sure that everyone in the state has access to affordable energy, to continuing exploration and development of oil and gas sources, to promoting energy research in the state. She said the mission is to provide energy for the people.
We know that without energy sources, that people won’t live here and they won’t continue to raise their families here, they won’t stay here for schools and they won’t build their businesses here. So this is a look at the next hundred years of Alaska’s future and we think it’s bright.
Wielchowsi calls the plan “comprehensive.” And he says the hope is to see at least some of the plan passed during next year’s legislative session. He says he believes Alaskans want it.
What we’re doing is we’re saying, “we’re going to lower the energy costs for every single Alaskan through the policies that we create. And I think we can significantly lower the cost of energy that people pay for all across Alaska if we adopt a number of these policies. And I think the people of Alaska will support that if they understand this is ultimately going to save them money – and it will make our businesses more profitable as well.
McGuire and Wielechowski plan to hold public hearings on their draft plan beginning early in the legislative session. You can get the full list of recommendations and supporting documents from the committee’s website at energy.aksenate.org.