Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin asked state legislators for a redo Friday, as she delivered a revamped natural gas pipeline bill that she said was "fair, transparent and competitive."
Dubbed the Alaska Gasline Inducement Act (AGIA), the 21-page bill sets the framework for what incentives would be offered to potential pipeline builders in exchange for their commitment to move Alaska's gas to market.
"Our nation's energy markets are hungry for Alaska's gas resources, and Alaskans have waited for decades to see these resources developed," Palin said in her letter to Lyda Green, president of the Alaska Senate. The governor said her meetings with federal officials in Washington, DC, a few days ago "affirmed for me that it is time for Alaska's natural gas resources to be developed in order to meet the energy demands of our nation."
The bill includes:
The bill would require applicants to commit to expanding the pipeline project when new gas is available, and it would require applicants to evaluate the demand for pipe expansion at least every two years. Costs for expansion would be collected through rolled-in rates that pass those expansion costs on to all shippers in the gasline. The AGIA would cap the cost of rolled-in price increases at up to 15% of initial rates.
Palin wants a strict timeline enacted for the pipeline, basically moving from legislative approval to pipeline fieldwork by the summer of 2008. The public would be able to participate in selecting the developer. The proposal would create the position of state pipeline coordinator to streamline permitting processes. The coordinator would work directly with federal officials under a plan created last year by President Bush to oversee Alaska's pipeline approval.
To benefit Alaskans, Palin's proposal requires the builder to give the state at least five places within the state where gas may be taken out for intrastate use. The builder also has to actively recruit within Alaska to hire state residents, and the builder has to have a local office in the state. In return, the state would provide training to ensure qualified personnel would be able to work on the project.
To read the 21-page bill, click here.
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