House Passes Historic In-State Gasline Enabling Bill
House Bill 4 allows AK Gasline Development Corp. to continue on ASAP track,
Bring long-held dream of N Slope natural gas to Alaskan homes and businesses
Monday, April 1, 2013, Juneau, Alaska – The Alaska House of Representatives tonight passed historic legislation enabling the state’s gasline development corporation to continue progressing towards building its Alaska Stand Alone Pipeline (ASAP) project. The Alaska Gasline Development Corporation is planning a 500 million cubic feet per day buried natural gas pipeline from the North Slope to tidewater in Southcentral.
House Bill 4, sponsored by Representative Mike Hawker and Alaska House Speaker Mike Chenault, empowers AGDC to connect Alaskans with clean, secure, reasonably priced natural gas. The legislation establishes AGDC as an independent state corporation; provides a clear, strong regulatory framework; and calls on the state to assist AGDC in getting gas to Alaskans within six years. The Legislature created AGDC through passage of House Bill 369 in 2010.
“Passing HB 4 is a vital step forward connecting Alaskans with our vast North Slope gas resources at the least possible cost without delay,” Hawker, R-Anchorage, said. “HB 4 provides the state with the tools we need to move a gasline project forward or participate in any project that moves forward, as long as it provides affordable gas to Alaskans.”
An HB 4 fact sheet prepared by the sponsors is available here. Important sections defining AGDC’s duties and responsibilities, information sharing between state agencies, confidentiality to protect the state and potential bidders, and allow AGDC to enter ownership and operating partnerships, among others.
“Alaskans deserve the secure, clean-burning, and consistent gas this project would provide,” Chenault, R-Nikiski, said. “Legislative passage of HB 4 would mean we’re being pro-active and doing everything in our power to make sure we have a stable supply of gas in place before the next great energy crisis comes. Cook Inlet and Southcentral users are struggling now, but imagine if we fail to act and the day comes where Alaskans are forced to pay to import gas. We’ve got hundreds of years’ worth of gas on the Slope. We’re taking politics out of the pipeline process now, letting the market decide.”
HB 4 passage this session would allow AGDC to progress to Open Season without delay, with the financial backing necessary to get a project to sanction and a build or no-build decision.
“I appreciate the diligent work done in the House on HB 4 and I look forward to working with the Senate as they undertake their part in our legislative process,” Hawker said.
“A majority of Alaskans, two-thirds according to our latest Dittman Research poll, support the purpose of HB 4,” Chenault said. “They also support the state participating. I am thankful my peers in the House passed the bill and am raring to go to work with senators.”
Speaker Chenault said HB 4 follows the Majority’s Guiding Principle of Affordable Energy, by building on the past success of HB 369 and boldly pursuing a long-term energy solution.
HB 4, which passed by a vote of 30-9, now moves to the Alaska Senate for consideration.