Two additional consultants would be added to assist a legislative committee studying an industry proposal to build a natural gas pipeline from the North Slope to the Lower 48 under a plan approved Monday by a legislative panel.
The Legislative Council voted unanimously to spend up to $282,000 for consultants to advise the Joint Committee on Natural Gas Pipelines. That would bring the total to $814,000 that lawmakers are spending for outside help on the pipeline issue.
Sen. John Torgerson, chairman of the joint pipeline committee, said the panel needs a tax expert and an attorney to represent the Legislature before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. "Most of the decisions made on the gas line will not be made in Alaska. They'll be made in Washington, D.C.," and before the federal commission, said Torgerson, a Republican from Kasilof.
Three major oil companies are studying the viability of building a natural gas pipeline from the North Slope to the Lower 48. One proposed route would go partly through Alaska, while the other route would go largely through Canada.
State officials favor a route that generally follows the trans-Alaska oil pipeline and the Alaska Highway to the Lower 48. They have objected to any move to build a Canadian pipeline.