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Natural Gas Policy Council Plans Gasline.

When Gov. Tony Knowles created the Alaska Highway Natural Gas Policy Council, he tasked its members with establishing a natural gas industry in Alaska and promoting the Alaska Highway route for a gasline to the Lower 48.

Knowles said he chose council members whose experience and leadership have kept Alaska's economy healthy.

Co-chairing the council are Frank Brown, a retired Arco Alaska Inc. senior vice president, and Jim Sampson, executive director of the AFLCIO in Alaska and former mayor of Fairbanks North Star Borough.

Since it was created in January, the 28-member council has divided itself into five subcommittees, with each subcommittee analyzing an issue related to the construction of a gasline. The subcommittees will deliver written reports on their research to the council on Oct. 1. That information will be used to prepare a final report for presentation to the governor on Nov. 30.

"The governor favors the highway route. I favor the highway route," said Charlie Cole, a former Alaska attorney general and a member of the policy council. "I am from Fairbanks and I think it is vital that Fairbanks receives natural gas. I am highly supportive of the highway route, if for no other reason than it would supply Fairbanks with gas."

Affordable, plentiful supplies of natural gas would have many commercial and industrial applications, would reduce home-heating costs and would reduce air pollution in Fairbanks, Cole said.

Former state Sen. Al Adams said his role on the council has been that of observer. He said he is listening, is gathering information and is reserving judgment on a project until all pieces of the puzzle come together.

He said many people are calling for gasline spurs to Valdez and Southcentral. Others want assurances that Alaska businesses will be contracted and Alaskans will be employed on the gasline. Adams said he is hopeful that new national leadership will ease the permitting and construction process of a gasline.

Adams also advocates at least partial state ownership of a gasline. He said a 12.5 percent royalty payment from the gas producers would give the state a chance to participate in the market, but he said an equity share in a gasline would give Alaska more control over what is done with the state's natural gas.

Access for In-State Gas Use and Future Opportunities Committee

Goals of the access committee include identifying the supply-and-demand needs in the state, determining the best valuation/net-back pricing methodology to facilitate in-state gas use and ensuring fair access rules to natural gas for Alaskan customers.

Ken Thompson, CEO of Pacific Rim Leadership Development of Anchorage and former president of Arco Alaska Inc., chairs this committee. Vice chair is Carl Marrs, president and CEO of Cook Inlet Region Inc. Other committee members are Al Adams, former state senator, Kotzebue; George Ahmaogak, North Slope Borough mayor; Rhonda Boyles, Fairbanks North Star Borough mayor; Brian Davies, an Anchorage oil and gas consultant and former vice president of BP Exploration (Alaska) Inc.; Jeff Feldman, an Anchorage attorney; Lee Gorsuch, chancellor of the University of Alaska Anchorage; Jerry Hood, CEO of Alaska Teamsters Union Local 959; Jim Jansen, president of Lynden Transport in Anchorage; Rosemarie Maher, president and CEO of Doyon Ltd.; Bob Penney, an Anchorage businessman and member of the North Pacific Fisheries Management Council; and Jack Roderick, a former Anchorage mayor, noted Alaskan author and oil industry historian.

Alaska Hire/Buy/Build Committee

The local-hire committee is working to ensure Alaskans and Alaska businesses, contractors and subcontractors are trained and hired to work on the gasline project. The group also is assessing the socio-economic impacts of a gasline on Alaska communities.

This subcommittee is chaired by Mike Navarre, Kenai Peninsula Borough mayor and former state representative. Also studying local-hire issues on the council are Jacob Adams, president of Arctic Slope Regional Corp.; Rhonda Boyles; Jerry Hood; Rosemarie Maher; and Peg Tileston, an environmental activist and board chair of the nonpartisan public-policy group Alaska Common Ground.

Environmental Considerations Committee

Among the objectives of this committee are evaluating the potential for negative environmental impacts of a gasline, highlighting the different environmental impacts of building the trans-Alaska oil pipeline and a chilled natural gas pipeline and recommending guidelines for revegetation and restoration activities.

Peg Tileston is chairing this committee. Other members are Brian Davies; Lee Gorsuch; Grace Schaible, former state attorney general; and Esther Wunnicke, a former commissioner of the state's Department of Natural Resources and a member of Alaska Common Ground.

Federal/International Action Committee

The focus of this committee is on determining how the state will best be able to influence national and international decisions regarding route selection and facilities for a gasline project The committee will examine legislation, right-of-way issues, statutes and treaties and make recommendations on "how best to expedite U.S. and Canadian policy and regulatory decisions that must be made to facilitate an Alaska gas pipeline," the committee's draft work program states.

Chairing this committee is Charlie Cole, a former Alaska attorney general. Cole is joined by Jeff Feldman; Bob Renney; Jon Rubini, an Anchorage real estate investor; George Wuerch, Anchorage mayor; and Esther Wunnicke.

State Royalty Share Options and Pipeline Ownership Committee

Determining the costs and benefits of the state taking a royalty share of natural gas versus royalty payments will be one of the issues this council is working on. The committee also will study the feasibility of state ownership of the pipeline and will evaluate the state tax structure.

Bill Corbus, president of Alaska Electric Light and Power Co. in Juneau, chairs the committee. Other members are Ron Duncan, president of GCI; Mike Navarre; Mike O'Connor, president of Peak Oilfield Services Co.; Ed Rasmusson, chairman of Wells Fargo Alaska; Dave Rose, president of Alaska Permanent Capital Management and former executive director of the Alaska Permanent Fund; Grace Schaible; and Ken Thompson.
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Author:KANE, ROGER
Publication:Alaska Business Monthly
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1U9AK
Date:Jul 1, 2001
Words:971
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