Gov. Palin to ask lawmakers for funds to update in-state gas pipeline study

Posted: Sunday, April 06, 2008

Gov. Sarah Palin plans to ask lawmakers for $6 million to $8 million to study the economic prospects of an in-state natural gas pipeline.

This means reviewing the feasibility of a small-diameter pipeline - also known as a bullet line - that lawmakers say is sorely needed to address soaring energy prices.

At a news conference Friday in Anchorage, Palin said her proposed capital request was prompted in part by legislators' calls to expand the scope of an upcoming special session on her Alaska Gasline Inducement Act, or AGIA.

Palin, who initially described the resolutions as a "distraction" from the Senate capital budget, said she wanted to reassure lawmakers that AGIA "does have a role in finding ways to link Alaskans with their natural gas on the North Slope."

But she said the special session has a specific focus, to review the natural resources and revenue commissioners' findings on TransCanada's application and believes discussion of an in-state line should be part of a broader state energy plan.

The House and Senate introduced separate resolutions Wednesday asking that the June session include discussions of an intrastate line in addition to the main intercontinental line proposal that would ship North Slope gas to a pipeline hub in Alberta.

Lawmakers from both parties said rising energy prices are driving the need to review costs for an Alaska line with the potential to meet short-term needs.

Palin's capital request would go toward updating and refining an existing bullet line study from the North Slope.

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