Fairbanks borough considers pipeline appeal

Posted: Monday, November 08, 2010

FAIRBANKS - The Fairbanks North Star Borough Assembly will decide this week whether to appeal a judge's decision about the value of the trans-Alaska pipeline.

The decision earlier this year by Anchorage Superior Court Judge Sharon Gleason set the pipeline's tax value at almost $10 billion for 2006. Cases are pending for the tax years 2007 through 2010.

Gleason's decision resulted in a financial windfall for the borough, but borough officials suspect owners of the pipeline, including BP, ConocoPhillips and Exxon Mobil, will appeal to the Alaska Supreme Court. The pipeline owners are the biggest property taxpayers in the Fairbanks borough.

Borough Attorney Rene Broker is asking local leaders for approval to file a separate appeal on a portion of the ruling that the borough lost, according to the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner.

Gleason's ruling connected the pipeline's tax value to the cost to build a new pipeline. Borough officials wants the hypothetical replacement pipeline cost to be based on a line that is the same size as the current 48-inch diameter pipeline.

Pipeline owners contend any replacement line would be smaller than the current line, which is pumping oil at less than one-third of its 2.1 million barrels per day capacity.

The city of Valdez and the North Slope Borough, two other municipalities through which the pipeline passes, are parties in the lawsuit.

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