JUNEAU - House Speaker Mike Chenault says involving the Alaska Railroad Corp. in an in-state natural gas pipeline is a good idea.
But the Nikiski Republican says in-state gas must be addressed urgently and he worries that the pending departure of railroad President Pat Gamble, picked to lead the University of Alaska, could affect that.
Chenault expects Gamble's departure to lead to a months-long search for a replacement. And he says it could take time to get Gamble's replacement up to speed on railroad work.
A bill by Chenault would have an in-state natural gas team, which includes the railroad head or a designee, getting a project plan to lawmakers by July 2011.
The plan would have to show how a small natural gas pipeline could be financed and built by the end of 2015.