Skip to comments.Bush urges Alaska on natural gas pipeline
Posted on 06/29/2006 7:55:12 PM PDT by NormsRevenge
JUNEAU, Alaska - The Bush administration is pressuring state lawmakers to pass legislation that would advance a proposed multibillion dollar natural gas pipeline.
In letters to the Alaska House and Senate, Vice President Dick Cheney urged prompt action during the upcoming special session.
"You have it in your hands to help ensure that the Alaska Gas Pipeline ultimately furnishes dependable, affordable, and environmentally sound energy for America's future," Cheney wrote in his letter, dated Tuesday.
Adding to the pressure was an announcement Thursday from the federal energy department, which said plans were in place to expedite the federal permitting process once a final contract is signed.
House Speaker John Harris, R-Valdez, said lawmakers also want to see the gas brought to market, but want to ensure Alaska gets a good deal.
"I think most of the senators and members of the House will probably look at that and say `That's nice, so glad they're thinking about us' and go on and do what we need to do for Alaskans," Harris said.
Alaska lawmakers will convene July 12 for a second special session to consider replacing the production tax on oil companies operating in the state. Lawmakers also will again consider legislation granting Gov. Frank Murkowski the authority to negotiate changes in a proposed fiscal contract with the three oil companies who would build and own the line along with the state.
Lawmakers adjourned the last special session June 8 after failing to reach an agreement on measures the governor said are necessary for reaching a final deal, including setting the tax rate on oil companies' Alaska profits.
Murkowski wants the tax rate set at 20 percent. Lawmakers want a higher base tax, but couldn't agree on what that should be in the special session. A measure setting the tax rate at 22.8 percent failed as the session died. At current oil prices, a 1 percent different would amount to about $150 million for the state treasury.
Still others want to see a tax placed on gross production instead.
Meanwhile, doubts have emerged in the last month over the contract proposal itself, particularly with the state's role as a 20 percent owner of the pipeline, the work commitments to build the pipeline, plans to lock in oil and gas taxes for decades to come and a proposal for the state to take tax and royalties in gas instead of cash.
If the Legislature reaches agreement, the governor will negotiate a deal with ConocoPhillips, BP PLC and Exxon Mobil Corp. The companies will decide whether to build the pipeline about four years after the contract is signed.
The memorandum of understanding between the Department of Energy and 14 other departments and agencies lays out a framework for streamlining federal review of the project and reducing bureaucratic delays if the project moves forward.
The federal Alaska Natural Gas Pipeline Act in 2004 established the expedited review and incentives for the Alaska project.
The estimated $19 billion to $27 billion pipeline would stretch at least 2,100 miles from Prudhoe Bay to Alberta, Canada, and perhaps another 1,500 miles to Chicago. The pipeline would carry about 4 billion cubic feet of natural gas each day. It would supply about 10 percent of future U.S natural gas demand
Alaskans also want to see Alaska benefit from it's resources. Last 100 years Alaska has always been last on the list to see full benefit from it's resources; why REPUB legislators are not so quick to sell out this time.
I pay 40 cents KWH after 500 KWHs. Also pay right under 5 bucks a gal for fuel. Alaska forsees a energy shortage here in Alaska. Now a few years back, I sat in Nick Begich's dining room and listened to his ideas on resource development. Now I know Nick Begich, he's out there they might say; ALOT LIKE WALLY HICKEL. Nick felt that gas development should benefit Alaska too. He believed that every community should have gas well or access to gas from slope to generate clean cheap power. Let the PFD board run the program and keep the politicals out.
More I hear and see, more I do believe he had the best plan for gas development; though at the time I thought the idea was off base.
Cheney expresses support for gas line