Compromise Found For In-State Gas Plans

By Dave Donaldson

A gasline directly from the North Slope to SouthCentral Alaska got extra force today as sponsors of two competing development paths began to work together.   A bill sponsored by House Speaker Mike Chenault would set up a semi-independent development team headed by the Executive Director of the Alaska Housing Finance Corporation – Dan Fauske – with the mandate of having a plan completely planned and ready for a legislative go-ahead decision in the summer of 2011.

Senate Resources Co-Chair Lesil McGuire had proposed giving more responsibility to the Alaska RailRoad.

Chenault says he and McGuire recognized that their mutual goal was to get a project built – not to debate their separate ways of doing that.

I don’t need political cover.  I don’t think the Senator needs it.  No one at this table needs it.  What we’re interested in is trying to move forward a project that provides Alaska with the energy security that they need.   And this is the best way to get us there.

The new compromise will allow Fauske to head up the development team – consisting of the governor’s In-state gasline coordinator,  the Chief Executive Officer of the Alaska Natural Gas Development Authority,  the commissioner of the state Department of Transportation,  and the Chairman of the Board of the Railroad, John Binkley.

They have the same basic requirements as Chenault proposed.   That measure has already passed the House and needs only Senate approval.

Fauske and the Housing Finance Corporation have experience dealing with the economics of managing projects.  Fauske says he’s more interested in what can be gathered from the other people working on the project – and he’s seeing a lot of optimism from all directions.

I had a nice visit with the Governor yesterday, and I sense a lot of excitement from moving forward with the process.   I had a nice meeting with John Binkley,  we met for about an hour in my office.  I’m thrilled by the excitement I’m seeing from people.   What I bring is the ability to get a good team together, share information and try to move something forward.  And I enjoy doing that.

The formal compromise requires action in both the House and Senate before going to the governor.   Once the work begins,  Fauske will give monthly reports to lawmakers and will recommend to next year’s legislature what statutory changes they will need to complete their planning.


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