Alaska lawmakers balking at subsidizing natural gas pipeline

The Anchorage Daily NewsJanuary 21, 2011 

JUNEAU — Top legislators are expressing frustration with continuing to give multi-million-dollar state subsidies to a natural gas pipeline project to the Lower 48 that they don't believe is going to work.

The pipeline company TransCanada, working with partner Exxon Mobil, has a state license to pursue the project under the 2007 Alaska Gasline Inducement Act. AGIA provides up to $500 million in state reimbursement for the company's costs.

"There is support here to just scrap the whole AGIA process," House Speaker Mike Chenault, a Republican from Nikiski, said on Thursday.

Senate Finance Committee co-chairman Bert Stedman made similar remarks after Gov. Sean Parnell's State of the State address Wednesday night.

"I think it's quickly approaching the time we look at cutting our losses and freeing the state from the shackles that are put on us under the AGIA agreement with TransCanada," the Sitka Republican said.

Legislators are not planning to take action to try and repeal AGIA during this year's 90-day legislative session. But some are frustrated about providing TransCanada with the agreed-upon state money.

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