Appreciates Hard Work Done by Congressional Delegation
November 19, 2003
"I would like to first acknowledge the strong team we have on this issue with our Congressional delegation Senator Ted Stevens, Senator Lisa Murkowski, and Congressman Don Young - and with Arctic Power and the labor unions that have devoted so much time and energy to this bill," Murkowski said. "They did a tremendous job."
"Now that we know the federal parameters with which we are dealing, we can proceed with the gas pipeline," Murkowski said. "The bill contains significant incentives for its construction. And it prohibits the over-the-top route. I believe the incentives in the bill will be sufficient to allow the highway project to go forward."
The three major incentive provisions include a federal loan guarantee of 80 percent of up to $18 billion for construction of the pipeline and gas processing plant, accelerated depreciation on the main pipeline from 15 to seven years, and a tax credit on the processing plant.
"We will continue looking to see what we can do at the state level to assist both the highway and LNG projects," Murkowski said. "We will continue to meet with the producers, major pipeline companies, and commercial interests in Canada and around the Pacific Rim to move a gas transportation project to construction."
Murkowski said the state also scored well in provisions relating to the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska and federal offshore leasing. The bill authorizes the Secretary of the Interior to extend existing and new leases in NPR-A, as well as to reduce the federal royalty as an incentive for exploration in marginal areas. It also authorizes a royalty reduction in federal outer continental shelf leasing off Alaska.
The Governor vowed to revisit the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge issue in Congress. "We will not give up on ANWR, which is this nation's best opportunity for a real increase in production of domestic oil," he said. "We will be back."
Murkowski stated that the conferees should have included a per barrel tax credit on heavy oil. "We estimate there are about seven billion barrels of recoverable heavy oil in the Prudhoe Bay area," he said. "We could easily increase our domestic production by that much, if an incentive can be devised to offset the added cost of producing it. We will also be back to pursue federal action on this issue at some future time."
The delegation was successful in including a number of important provisions that will benefit Alaska's energy needs, Murkowski said. These include:
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