"We need to make certain the Authority has a clear plan of action, including how they intend to acquire gas on the North Slope and who they intend to sell the gas to."
- Sen Therriault
(Anchorage) - Senate President Gene Therriault (R-North Pole) announced today that he has filed two pieces of legislation designed to help the Alaska Natural Gas Development Authority (ANGDA). ANDGA was created by a citizens' petition initiative that appeared on the Nov. 2002 general election ballot.
The first bill is a supplemental appropriation for the Authority to complete preliminary engineering, legal, economic, and marketing analyses. The Board of Directors at the Authority had requested $2.5 million in August of 2003. After the Legislature appropriated $150,000 for the Authority in the operating budget, Senator Therriault worked with members of the board and the administration to secure another $200,000 at a Legislative Budget and Audit Committee meeting on October 29 to begin an in-state benefits analysis. Senate Bill 241 would grant the balance of their request, $2.15 million.
"I'd like to thank Sen. Therriault for his previous support of our efforts and look forward to working with him to advance these much-needed measures this session," commented Andy Warwick, Chair of the ANGDA Board of Directors.
The second measure, Senate Bill 253, will provide an exemption to the state procurement code for contracts entered into by the Authority. The Board has recently discussed such an exemption and Therriault believes that if ANGDA is to move forward as Alaska's vehicle to bring North Slope natural gas to market, then it must be empowered to respond quickly to market developments, particularly when it comes to gathering information and expertise.
"While I am pleased to submit these proposals for consideration by the Legislature, the Authority must be prepared to explain what will be done with such funding and powers," Therriault said. "We need to make certain the Authority has a clear plan of action, including how they intend to acquire gas on the North Slope and who they intend to sell the gas to."
"Monetizing Alaska's North Slope natural gas is key to securing Alaska's economic future. I look forward to working with other legislators and the administration to ensure that ANGDA is properly positioned to bring that gas to market," Therriault said.