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Governor Murkowski Outlines Gas Pipeline Process
Producers Agree Legislative Leadership Can Join Negotiations

 

August 31, 2006
Thursday


Alaska Governor Frank H. Murkowski on Wednesday outlined the process by which the gas pipeline contract can proceed to ratification.

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"We will call a special session for September 19," Murkowski said, "but that call is contingent on an affirmative indication that it would be productive from legislative leaders who are polling their members. We have also proposed that legislators, named by the legislative leadership, be involved in negotiating the specific points of the contract that the Legislature identifies. The producers have agreed to do that." Murkowski said recent meetings with producers and legislators have resulted in a list of issues to be negotiated, including the term of fiscal certainty, dispute resolution/mediation, work commitments, project labor agreements and the reserves tax.

Murkowski said administration officials would also be briefing gubernatorial candidates on the status of gas pipeline contract negotiations in the near future. He noted it would be irresponsible to drop the contract, given the great progress that has been made and how close it is to completion.

"We have delivered a contract to the Legislature that meets the requirements of the Stranded Gas Development Act. It is now up to the Legislature to take action. We are working with it to make the changes it needs to feel comfortable in ratifying the contract. It is crucial to Alaska's future that this contract be finished as soon as possible."

The governor pointed out that the contract needs to be in place in advance of a reserves tax potentially taking effect.

"The producers have made it very clear that if the reserves tax passes in November and the contract is not finished before it passes, they will not proceed with the pipeline," Murkowski said. "It adds between $8-10 billion to their cost of building it. Passage of the reserves tax will push the gas pipeline back by at least two years. Do Alaskans want two more years of delay, or do they want to move ahead on the gas pipeline now?"

 

Source of News:

Office of the Governor
www.gov.state.ak.us

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