Despite fears that their voices would not be heard, at least one borough mayor returned from the inaugural meeting of the Municipal Advisory Gas Project Review Board with more faith about the input local governments will have in the development process of a proposed gasline project.
Discussions at the two-day meeting of the new, governor-created board which seeks to review and understand the potential impacts the Alaska LNG Project LLC could have on local governments, has reassured Kenai Peninsula Borough Mayor Mike Navarre about the board’s role.
“I have a better comfort level,” he said. … “Obviously, we’re going to have to wait and see as things go along and what happens when legislation is actually introduced before the legislature, but at least I feel like we’ll have an opportunity to provide input into the process and certainly during our meetings of this board.”
The board is primarily made up of borough mayors throughout the state. The meeting was held in Anchorage Tuesday and Wednesday. Presentations were given about the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, oil and gas property tax and global liquefied natural gas markets among other topics.
“There was a lot of good information that was put out about global markets, what we’re competing with, the window of opportunity that comes and goes with major gas projects and which other ones are on the horizon around the world that are being considered,” Navarre said.
Navarre said the board discussed the studies that must be done when Alaska LNG Project sends its application to FERC, which, according to presentation documents, starts with pre-filing. Alaska LNG plans to do this year, according to documents. Pre-filing includes an environmental impact statement, and resource reports that cover air and noise quality; reliability and safety; cultural resources; fish, wildlife and vegetation and socioeconomic, among other reports.
“All of that was really interesting and gave me … complete comfort that the socioeconomic impacts will be considered and evaluated,” he said. “But it’s also important that local governments who will be impacted by it pay attention to what’s written in those studies and weigh in on it with information of their own of what they see as impact so that they can be included.”
One concern Navarre discussed in previous interviews with the Clarion is tax structuring and the impacts different options, such as a payment in lieu of taxes, would have on the borough.
He said the board didn’t debate tax structure at the meeting.
“We touched on it but didn’t really get into a lot of the details on it,” he said.
The board plans to try to meet monthly between now and December, he said.
Meeting documents and presentations are available on the Alaska Department of Revenue website: dor.alaska.gov/MunicipalAdvisoryGasProjectReviewBoard.aspx.
Kaylee Osowski can be reached at email@example.com