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Murkowski, Begich Introduce Legislation to Train Alaskans for Gas line Jobs

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Alaska Gas Line Worker Training Center Modification bill was introduced today by Alaska's U.S. Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Mark Begich. The legislation would make a minor technical change to a provision that Congress approved in 2004 to further construction of a pipeline system to move Alaska's natural gas to market.

"The last time we built a pipeline many of the workers came from outside Alaska," Murkowski said. "When it comes time to build the gas line, I want to make sure that Alaskans are well trained and ready to fill the jobs it will create."

"Alaskans need to be at the front of the line when hiring begins for the gas line, and building the training center now builds on our strengths," Begich said. "Industry in Alaska has developed cutting edge technologies for oil and gas development over the years. Now that safety is foremost in our minds, and we're tackling new challenges, it's time for us to get to work again, training Alaskans for tomorrow's jobs."

Background
In 2004, Congress approved two pieces of legislation to help facilitate construction of an Alaska natural gas pipeline:
  • Public Law 108-324 approved a federal loan guarantee program, streamlined regulatory processes and approved a worker training program to guarantee a domestic labor supply for construction of the largest private-sector capital infrastructure project in the world's history;
  • Public Law 108-357 approved tax changes to provide accelerated depreciation for the pipe and a related gas-conditioning plant needed for the project.
The legislation introduced on Tuesday attempts to fix problems with the availability of skilled workers for jobs relating to the pipeline. The bill would authorize federal funding to be released immediately upon the request of the governor of Alaska to fund construction of the training center and to broaden the center to permit it also to train oil, as well as gas field workers and environmental response employees.

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