FAIRBANKS - A member of the Fairbanks North Star Borough assembly has drafted an ordinance requiring a public vote on the plan to truck liquefied natural gas from the North Slope to Fairbanks.
Assemblyman Guy Sattley took the action after the borough attorney told the assembly she thinks there's a pending legal question as to whether voters were approving a trucking operation when they cast ballots a decade ago to create the Alaska Gasline Port Authority.
The port authority's official mandate is to advance a natural gas pipeline. Various endeavors to build a pipeline have yet to succeed, and the port authority developed the trucking plan as a stopgap measure to bring down energy costs.
"This is not a pipeline," Sattley said at a Borough Assembly work session Thursday. "It's a trucking company. I agree with our attorney."
Borough Mayor Luke Hopkins, who belongs to the governing board of the port authority, opposes Sattley's idea. Delaying the project for a public vote, he said, could mean higher interest rates when financing the $250 million project.
"If we stretch this timeline out, basically, the project is going to be very difficult to be financed in the way the port authority wants it to be," he said.
Sattley plans to introduce his measure July 15. The soonest it would be up for a vote is two weeks after that.