Interior Delegation Members Comment on SB 23
Fairbanks LNG gas trucking project bill signed into law tonight
Wednesday, May 29, 2013, Fairbanks, Alaska – The Alaska House of Representatives’ members of the Interior Delegation tonight released the following statements marking the Governor’s signature on Senate Bill 23, authorizing state participation in and aid in establishing a Fairbanks liquefied natural gas (LNG) trucking project.
House Majority Leader Lance Pruitt, R-Anchorage, joined the delegation in commemorating the event, which comes after years of hard work, legislative hearings and public input. “Last session the House Majority recognized the immediate energy needs of Fairbanks and the Interior, supporting Senate Bill 23. Our Interior Delegation, led by staunch community advocates, worked tirelessly to keep this issue at the front of the conversation down in Juneau. I applaud their efforts,” Pruitt said. “This project will also help to build the framework required for Fairbanks to begin using natural gas in anticipation of a gas pipeline project.”
House Interior Delegation Chair Pete Higgins, R-Fairbanks, said he was ecstatic to see passage in his first session down in Juneau. “I am very glad to be part of such a major accomplishment,” Higgins said. “It's been a long hard-fought battle and it's good to be on the winning side. There's no more question of when we're going to do it; we can see the light at the end of the tunnel.”
Rep. Tammie Wilson, R-North Pole/Fairbanks, and a member of the House Finance Committee, said she was grateful for the Governor’s signature today after making the issue one of her top two for the 28th Legislature. "I've been working hard to address the Borough's two most pressing issues this session - energy and air quality,” Wilson said. “We are excited to put together a project that will provide more affordable energy to the Interior and help the Fairbanks North Star Borough reach EPA air quality compliance."
Fellow Finance Committee member Steve Thompson, R-Fairbanks, echoed Rep. Higgins’ comment on a light at the end of the tunnel, adding “And in a few years’ time it’ll be a pilot light heating homes for our residents at a much more manageable price for a family’s budget. There’s no perfect solution, we all know that – but Senate Bill 23 will provide a very real, impactful benefit to the Interior.”
House Energy Committee Co-Chair Doug Isaacson, R-North Pole, said tonight’s event was another significant step forward, but more remain. “Senate Bill 23 could be a game-changer for the Interior, providing for a future with lower cost energy if the community embraces the project and idea, and works together. I believe we can.”
SB 23 takes effect immediately, meaning the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority (AIDEA) can begin work on offering bonds and looking into financing options for a potential project, authorizing them to bond for up to $275 million for a liquefaction plant. $57.5 million in capital funding was appropriated this past session, and $30 million in gas storage credits are available to advance the project.