September 18, 2003
Following a joint House and Senate Minority Caucus last week, 15 Democrats called for the convening of an immediate special session. However, lacking a defined proposal from Sempra Energy, it is unclear at this time what the legislature is being asked to deliberate on. It costs $50,000 to convene a special session and $20,000 each day thereafter.
"It appears the minority legislators have confused the expression of interest from Sempra with the request for additional funding from the Alaska Natural Gas Development Authority (ANGDA) board of directors," commented Senate President Gene Therriault (R-North Pole).
Sen. Therriault has been in touch with members of ANGDA's board of directors to solicit input on the advisability and necessity of a special session. Once a response has been given, the required polling will begin. He has also been in touch with officials from Sempra. "Since roughly 50% of any line running to Valdez would traverse my Senate District and benefit my constituents, I would like nothing more than to see an agreement with Sempra that maximizes the state's benefit."
Last week, Sen. Therriault expressed his willingness to ANGDA's CEO, Harold Heinze, and the House and Senate Finance Committees to make resources available to the authority. "If the special session call is primarily to make resources available to ANGDA, I stand ready to do all that I can to ensure that funds are made available to the greatest extent possible from existing appropriations" said Sen. Therriault. "I have conferred with House Speaker Pete Kott and we are in agreement on this matter."
"Monetizing Alaska's North
Slope natural gas is key to securing Alaska's economic future.
I hope that legislative Democrats are willing to work constructively
with the legislative leadership and the administration to explore
this opportunity to the fullest extent necessary," Therriault
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