Williams wants local gas line

Borough mayor lobbies Gov. Palin for Cook Inlet land route

Posted: Monday, February 11, 2008

In a recent letter to Gov. Sarah Palin, Borough Mayor John Williams urges consideration of a natural gas pipeline land route to tidewater at Cook Inlet to tie into expanded liquefied natural gas facilities.

The Feb. 4 memo stated that Kenai Peninsula residents, along with the rest of Alaska, were watching the gas pipeline process with great interest, including the second rejection of the Alaska Gasline Port Authority's (AGPA) application under the Alaska Gasline Inducement Act.

AGPA has proposed an all-Alaska route to Valdez. Plans include a possible spur to Southcentral Alaska.

Williams noted the governor's Jan. 30 letter to former Gov. Wally Hickel and David Gottstein, an Anchorage businessman backing an all-Alaska gas line route, in which the governor said she agreed that Alaskans deserved a "full evaluation of both an overland route (to the Lower 48) and a route to tidewater and liquefied natural gas," and is committing her administration to such an evaluation.

"As you are aware the state has spent a considerable amount of money through the Alaska Natural Gas Development Authority (ANGDA) working on a Cook Inlet route," Williams told the governor. "ANGDA has done substantial work on both a spur line as well as a bullet line from the North Slope to the Cook Inlet. As a result of your commitment to evaluate LNG project designs, I am respectfully requesting that your administration consider a Cook Inlet route when you undertake your detailed evaluation."

The borough encouraged the ANGDA board of directors in 2003 to adopt a Cook Inlet route, saying such a route would directly benefit more than 70 percent of Alaska residents.

Williams pointed to what he called "positive factors" in favor of a route to Cook Inlet, namely an established gas infrastructure, major transportation systems and hubs, numerous sites where expanded LNG facilities could be located and the presence of a trained workforce and established training infrastructure.

"These and many other points support a Cook Inlet route over other routes by substantially reducing overall costs," he said.

He also said he believed many, if not all, right of way issues have been resolved for a land route to Cook Inlet.

Reached Friday, Palin's press office said the governor's office was not yet prepared to respond to Williams' letter, copies of which also went to the commissioners of the departments of natural resources and revenue, as well as to Harold Heinze, CEO of ANGDA, and Mark Begich, Mayor of Anchorage.

Hal Spence can be reached at hspence@ptialaska.net.

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