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Legislature Approves Historic In-State Gasline Bill

Saturday, April 13, 2013, Juneau, Alaska – The 28th Alaska Legislature today took a historic step, voting to send the Governor a bill to enable the Alaska Gasline Development Corporation to continue progressing toward building its Alaska Stand Alone Pipeline (ASAP) project. The corporation plans a 500 million cubic feet per day buried natural gas pipeline from the North Slope to Southcentral Alaska.

House Bill 4, co-sponsored by Representative Mike Hawker and Speaker Mike Chenault, empowers AGDC to connect Alaskans with clean, secure, reasonably priced natural gas. HB 4 also directs AGDC to consider ways to get gas and propane to even more Alaskans using other transportation mechanisms. The bill 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 at the lowest possible rates. The Legislature created AGDC through passage of House Bill 369 in 2010.

“This Legislature has taken a critical step forward in securing a reliable, reasonably priced, long-term energy solution for Alaskans,” Hawker, R-Anchorage, said. “House Bill 4 represents the best effort to bring our vast stores of gas off the North Slope for use in our homes and businesses, and in economic development. We truly respect the effort of our colleagues in the other body, and look toward AGDC to continue its work without delay. The state can now participate in any project put forward, not just ASAP or AGIA, as long as it provides affordable gas for Alaskans.”

“It’s fair to say that passing House Bill 4 is the farthest we’ve come during my time in the House in trying to realize our long-sought goal of turning our North Slope gas into fuel for our homes and businesses,” Chenault, R-Nikiski, said. “It took a lot of courage by our colleagues in the House and Senate to get us here, because we’ve voted to take ourselves out of the process – politics won’t dictate where or how the project progresses, the market will. That is critical. It clears the way for the best market-driven project to go forward, providing the best deal to Alaskans. Let’s turn dirt. I wish it were that easy.”

The co-sponsors gave credit to AGDC and its work to date advancing an instate gas solution for Alaskans, along with Hawker aide Rena Delbridge, who carried the bill through the legislative process. “We have full confidence that AGDC’s expert team will advance this project with participation of the private sector, delivering on the decades-old promise to connect an Alaska resource with Alaskans,” Hawker said.

With HB 4, AGDC plans an open season in 2014 to secure long-term shipping contracts that would finance the pipeline. Construction would start in 2016, with gas to Alaskans in 2019.

HB 4 passed after the House concurred in Senate changes, and now heads to the Governor for signature.

An HB 4 fact sheet prepared by the sponsors is available here.

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