Palin asks state lawmakers to approve funds for in-state gas pipeline

Alaska Gov. Sarah H. Palin urged state legislators on Apr. 17 to approve $9 million in preparatory funding for pipeline work in an effort to avoid delays in constructing an in-state natural gas system.

Alaska Gov. Sarah H. Palin urged state legislators on Apr. 17 to approve $9 million in preparatory funding for pipeline work in an effort to avoid delays in constructing an in-state natural gas system.

Her action came after some members of the state's House Finance Committee expressed concern the night before that the governor's administration had not adequately communicated its position on an in-state gas pipeline.

Originally proposed as part of the huge proposed project to move gas from Alaska's North Slope to markets in the Lower 48 states, a system to bring gas to the state's widely scattered communities has attracted growing support as a stand-alone project from several government officials in the state.

"My focus is Alaska, and this administration has not shifted from our top priority: commercializing natural gas for Alaskans. This session, we have been working diligently to address statewide energy needs, and the in-state gas pipeline project is a critical component of that effort. I appreciate lawmakers' assistance in moving this effort along," Palin said.

Members of her administration have testified before state legislative committees and the proposed project's manager, Harry Noah, has conducted open working groups with legislators, she noted. Palin said that she also has met with Alaska House and Senate leaders to discuss plans to jump-state an in-state gas pipeline's development.

She said that she introduced two in-state gas development bills, HB 163/SB 135 and HB 164/SB 136, which have been heard in House and Senate energy committees. The House and Senate have passed several in-state gas resolutions, and the House amended HB 44 on Apr. 14 to include language for HB 163, the governor's bill, to expand the Alaska Natural Gas Development Authority's powers, she said.

The $9 million of funding would advance the proposed project through the second phase of a four-phased plan to develop an in-state gas pipeline, which her administration presented on Mar. 3, Palin said. Her office distributed an overview of the plan to House Finance Committee members on Apr. 17, she said.

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com

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