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Uncertainty surrounds LNG gasline advisory board's role

Posted: March 31, 2014 - 9:36pm

Municipal leaders throughout the state say they are pleased with the development of the Municipal Advisory Gas Project Review Board, but participation concerns remain.

The concerns were expressed in a Monday press release.

Kenai Peninsula Borough Mayor Mike Navarre said while establishing the board is an attempt at giving the local government leaders some involvement questions about what the board will have access to and how its recommendations will be incorporated remain.

“It’s not really well-defined at this point,” he said.

According to the release, negotiations regarding the Alaska Pipeline Project to run an 800-mile liquefied natural gas pipeline through the state to an LNG plant and terminal currently lack a mechanism for the board to participate or offer suggestions in negotiations.

“One of the things that the mayors … have been raising is that there’s a lot of potential impacts here that really … they’re not available for analyzing at this point and we won’t have a chance to do that until after (the state and producers) reached their agreement,” Navarre said.

In the release, the mayors advise that potential changes to the existing tax structure should be applied only to new infrastructure and evaluated so taxpayers aren’t faced with excessive financial burdens as a result of the project.

Navarre said there is uncertainty about how changes to the existing tax structure to possibly a payment in lieu of tax structure would affect both state and local governments’ long-term revenues.

The Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly earlier this year allocated $50,000 toward hiring a consultant, if necessary, to determine impacts of the project.

“The state should to (an) impact analysis,” Navarre said. “We shouldn’t have to spend that money unless we’re trying to effect legislation next year.”

Gov. Sean Parnell met various local government mayors on March 24 and signed an administrative order to establish the board.

In a March 25 press release from the governor’s office, Parnell said: “As we continue to advance an Alaska gasline, I am committed to ensuring local participation.”

The board will be made up of:

■ the mayors of the North Slope, Fairbanks North Star, Denali, Mat-Su and Kenai Peninsula Boroughs;

■ the Commissioner of the Department of Revenue;

■ the Commissioner of the Department of Natural Resources;

■ the Commissioner of the Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development;

■ one organization member representing all state municipalities;

■ two members of the public who live outside of the five already represented boroughs.

The board will review available information, hold public meetings and provide annual reports including information about benefits and impacts, recommendations for tax statutes and other issues related to the project.

According to the release from the mayors, “alignment between our state and local governments should be at least as important as alignment between the state and producers.”

“We’re just not sure how it all fits together, but what we’ve been trying to do is, I guess, raise the fact that it’s a … big impact on (municipalities) and on the state,” Navarre said.

Kaylee Osowski can be reached at

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WinchesterM1 04/01/14 - 01:49 pm
Enough is enough. Time to kill ASB138 and HB77

I would advise the municipalities to not give away their current taxing authority.
Even more troubling than that, is when the Speaker of our own House, (obviously on Parnell`s urging), proposes legislation to allow non-Alaskans to sit on and chair a board that sets taxes on an industry that they have spent their lives receiving employment and retirements from, as well as jobs. That is an obvious conflict, and invitation to corruption, that could be gotten around by just having Alaska citizens appointed to our state boards. Hire consultants if needed to help set values and rates, just like the legislature is currently doing with ANALYTICA, in pushing the Governor`s agenda for a company-controlled SB138 gasline project.
The ability to set, and lock in LOWER rates, without each municipality being able to respond to deleterious impacts on it`s "political subdivision" from operations or events affecting their fiscal health, is a disenfranchisement, that cannot be allowed in Alaska.
Rights and freedoms lost are very hard to ever regain without a long long legal fight with an industry who we know can drag things out for decades.
SB138 only gives the cartel more ammo in it`s fight against ANY taxes, not just gas taxes. It also will diminish, if passed, revenues to the state from our oil as well, as they want to write-off gas expenses on their oil income. The state and industry can overreach as well as the Feds Governor Parnell. You need to take a lesson.
Speaker Mike Chenault of the House is carrying Parnell and the industry`s water on this sneaky way to hire oil men and install them on Alaska`s tax assessing boards, is more than troubling. Chenault says we should "seek the best" when hiring people to make important decisions for Alaskans. HUH??? How about seeking "the best" Alaskans?
He implies Alaskans don`t have enough knowledge or experience to read and write, and add and subtract and make sensible judgements about what goes on in their own municipalities. Some bright reporter needs to ask Parnell why the Alaskan citizens on "the board" (which state law says they must be Alaska citizens, currently) why the muni`s couldn`t just hire an expert for a few days or weeks?, like the legislature does? Sudden changes and announcements about project construction impacts or changes, and how any muni will have to allow or prepare for a new development that would or could hurt their ability to tax as swiftly and as effectively as needed to protect the interest of the taxpayers in that muni, are best handled by local people at the local level, not outsiders packed in by a governor who thinks little of the State Constitution, and who puts oil on his pancakes in the mornings.

This whole SB138 is bad news, but MAINLY the "PILTS" are worse than the old "ELF" tax scheme. The whole aim here is to gut Alaska`s fiscal sovereignty for decades (I`ll say it..blackmail) just to access some of our own gas.
The three companies controlling our slope production, got out of paying ANY production taxes under the old "ELF" tax scheme for a decade on fifteen of the largest oil fields ON THE NORTH AMERICAN CONTINENT! Now they want tax suspension by another name,.. "PILTS".
Alaskans will be foolish to allow SB138 or HB77 to pass. They are both aimed at disenfranchising Alaskans and making Alaska into a corporate-controlled energy colony that can just continue to be milked like a cow, with taxes suspended, making even higher record profits at our expense of laying off teachers and bleeding our schools (more blackmail by this oil-friendly Governor).
ELF cost Alaska an estimated 60 billion dollars in fiscal losses over it`s life. SB138 will enshrine those losses at an ever higher loss rate, by a factor of ten, to the state, if we partner with TC and pass SB138 as-is, just because we are told by the gerrymandered and conflicted majority in Juneau that we don`t have the "credit" to invest without TC????
That has already been discredited by Roger Marks` testimony yesterday in the House Resource Committee. Alaska needs a gasline, but not at any price. It`s our gas, we should be able to access it without giving away our own equity, as well as our chartered constitutional rights, and sovereignty, to decide to tax when and where our citizens deem necessary. Alaskans can not, as Parnell would have it, leave that to a "board" packed by an industry-friendly governor with oil buddies from outside the state.
We are being "steamrolled" to forfeit our own sovereignty to just get our own gas to our burner tops!!!
If a gasline is not feasible without state "partnering",..then we`d better heed that yellow flashing warning light. We are being sold a bridge to nowhere.
Giving up our fiscal sovereignty certainly at least prematurely in SB138, just to "discuss" and "study" this on-going project for five years until "FID" is reached (Final-Investment-Decision) is ridiculous on it`s face.
They asked for the moon my fellow Alaskans,..and Parnell is handing it over to them just like he did SB21. bad business. We have one chance to fix it thanks to the folks who gathered those 51,000 signatures to overturn SB21 and return the the fair and equitable "ACES" tax system, which could be simply adjusted at the progressivity level and that would add directly to the companies` bottom lines.
Please vote YES on 1 in August fellow Alaskans, to keep our oil and gas production taxes fair,.. and to keep outsiders from sliding into powerful positions in our state`s fiscal machinery. You listening Chenault? We can stop it by voting "yes on 1" in August, to fiscally take Alaska back and secure our rights as the sovereign we are.

WinchesterM1 04/01/14 - 12:52 pm
..and no sitting legislators

..and no sitting legislators should be allowed to sit on boards or commissions that were created while they were in office for a period of five years. And certainly not outsiders over Alaskans. You listening APOC? You listening Parnell?..Chennault?

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