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Begich Announces Legislation to Create Incentives for In-State Natural Gas Delivery System

In response to skyrocketing energy prices in Interior and rural Alaska, Sen. Mark Begich today announced legislation to apply one-stop permitting benefits to any natural-gas transportation mechanism – be it an in-state pipeline, trucking natural gas to a community distribution network, or any combination of transportation systems to get Alaska’s North Slope natural gas to Alaska or foreign consumers.

The legislation amends the Alaska Natural Gas Pipeline Act of 2004, which created a federal office to coordinate with more than 20 federal agencies, the Canadian government, the State of Alaska, tribal governments and other stakeholders with the goal of seeing a natural gas pipeline constructed that would move Alaska’s natural gas to Lower 48 or Canadian markets.

Begich’s bill adds an in-state natural-gas transportation system and in-state gasline and associated liquefied natural gas project to the purview of the Office of the Federal Coordinator of Alaska Natural Gas Transportation Projects.

“Alaskans are crying out for some kind of solution to the rising cost of energy – particularly in rural Alaska and communities like Fairbanks,” Begich said. “High energy prices and potential energy shortages threaten our state’s economic stability. We have to start proposing solutions in an effort to bring costs down.”

The legislation provides the same regulatory deadlines, expedited judicial review and tax advantages currently applicable to a natural-gas pipeline traveling the Dalton Highway to Canada to any natural gas project bringing North Slope gas to a market in Alaska or elsewhere.

“I have always said the market will determine if we can build a project and where,” Begich said. “It’s government’s role to provide a swift and certain regulatory environment and then get out of the way. This bill does just that. Federal permitting and tax benefits for an instate natural gas project will make any option more financially feasible for private-sector developers and hopefully bring relief to Alaskans facing high energy prices.”

Begich will seek further comment from stakeholders before formally introducing the bill.

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