The Morning Headlamp, 46 days until Juneau: AGDC vote on AKLNG today at 1pm

A piece of Alaska light up DC’s holiday season. After a long journey, the 74-foot Lutz spruce tree from the Chugach National Forest was finally lit on the steps of the U.S. Capitol building. The ceremony included lawmakers from across the country such as Governor Bill Walker, Senators Dan Sullivan and Lisa Murkowski, and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan. True to form, the event drew a solid crowd of Alaskans, easily identifiable by a shortage of umbrellas in the misty rain, with a temperature in the 50s that more than one person noted is a bit closer to an Alaska summer day.

The day has arrived. The long-awaited AGDC board meeting to vote on progressing with the AKLNG work plan has finally arrived. The board of the state-owned corporation is scheduled to meet this afternoon with an agenda that includes whether to authorize paying the state’s quarter share of next year’s $225 million project budget. If the project continues in 2016, the full budget would be split with ExxonMobil, BP and ConocoPhillips, the three oil company partners of the state in the pipeline. The AGDC meeting will be followed by a Thursday afternoon closed-door session of all four partners in which each will have to approve the project budget.

In a prepared statement Wednesday, Walker’s spokeswoman, Katie Marquette, said negotiations over those guarantees were “still ongoing.” But in an interview Wednesday, Dave Cruz, AGDC’s acting chair, said the budget would be approved in Thursday morning’s board meeting. “We are moving forward with that,” Cruz said. He said he couldn’t, however, confirm whether Walker’s administration had received the written commitments of gas. None of the three oil companies would, either.

Meanwhile, Arctic Slope Regional Corp., which is doing some preliminary environmental work on the pipeline, has been running a radio ad since Monday. It urges listeners to call Walker and his board appointees to ask them to approve the project’s budget “for our economic future.” Asked how confident the corporation was that the budget would be approved, a spokesman, Ty Hardt, responded in an email: “The word is ‘hopeful’…But I’m not sure it’s close to unanimous at this stage.”

Headlamp would like to thank ASRC for their radio campaign encouraging a “yes” vote! 


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First Reads

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