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Senator McGuire Files Bill to Give Alaska Railroad Responsibility for Bullet Line

JUNEAU, February 19, 2010 - Senator Lesil McGuire, R-Anchorage, today filed a bill to shift responsibility for the Alaska Stand Alone Pipeline Project (more commonly known as the Bullet line) to the Alaska Railroad. The Alaska Railroad is a public corporation that is owned by the state but operates independently under its board of directors.  

"As the Senate Resources and Energy Committees traveled the state this interim working on an energy policy, we heard again and again from Alaskans that they wanted access to North Slope natural gas," said Senator McGuire. "When thinking about the energy challenges facing Alaska, I start from the premise that people want to live, work and invest where energy is available, reliable and affordable."

The Bill expands on the Railroad's existing authority to engage in a North Slope natural gas pipeline project and directs the Railroad to aggressively pursue the permitting, design and financing of a bullet line.

"The railroad is uniquely situated as a public corporation charged with promoting economic development to pursue this project," said Senator McGuire. "In shipping coal and jet fuel, the railroad is already heavily involved in moving energy and, with its existing authorization to issue up to $17 billion in bonds for a gas pipeline, well equipped to move this project forward."

The Bill also grants a conditional right-of-way to the railroad and waives the best-interest finding for the project. 
"AGIA is proceeding on its own path and Alaskans are hopeful that the AGIA project continues to make progress. Someday it may bring Alaska's gas to the Alberta," said Senator McGuire.  "But we cannot put all of our eggs in one basket. My goal is to move the bullet line away from a process driven by state agencies and towards a more take-charge, private-sector oriented effort that public corporations like the Railroad bring to the table."

In addition to transferring responsibility for the Alaska Stand Alone Pipeline to the Railroad, the bill points to the looming gas shortages in Cook Inlet and states that the in-state use of natural gas for economic development and the needs of Alaskans should be the State's priority.

"Frankly," said Senator McGuire, "we need to build Alaska's Stand Alone Pipeline, ASAP."

For more information, contact Senator McGuire or Michael Pawlowski at 907-465-2995.

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