Morning Headlamp: October 30, Legislative Special Session Day 7

In the Morning Headlamp: Special Session Rolls Into Day 7 … Walker Releases Budget Plan … and TransCanada WANTS Out of AKLNG Regardless of Leg Action?

What Was That Again? Yesterday, Gov. Walker announced the most significant change to the state’s annual budgeting process since the creation of the Alaska Permanent Fund in 1976. The Alaska Journal of Commerce covered the roll out of the plan. The proposal won’t completely fill the state’s gap between revenue and expenses. According to an analysis provided by the state, the Permanent Fund would have to have “well over $100 billion to generate sufficient revenues to fully fund the state budget and allow for dividends at the current rate.” Grace Jang, a spokeswoman for the governor, said it’s important to remember that using the Permanent Fund “is the major underpinning of the plan” to balance the state budget. “We’re not saying this is the plan,” she said. Headlamp is looking forward to seeing the rest of the plan. 

Leaving TransCanada. At yesterday’s House Finance Committee meeting, Vincent Lee, director of major projects development for TransCanada, said if the state doesn’t buy out his company’s stake they would “seriously consider” leaving  on their own, according to the Alaska Journal of Commerce, in which case the state would still be obligated to pay their costs. Lee also told lawmakers that yes, TransCanada has confidence in the AKLNG project, that it has confidence the state can proceed without TransCanada’s involvement, and that AGDC is capable of taking over. Alaska Public Radio Network  has more on the hearing. Headlamp thinks there’s still plenty to figure out about this potential deal, starting with whether the state can replace TransCanada on the Project Management Team without causing any more delay to the project. 

Calling Dan Fauske, Calling Dan Fauske. Things got testy at Tuesday’s Senate Finance Committee, according to the Alaska Journal of Commerce, when the state failed to make the head of the Alaska Gasline Development Corporation Dan Fauske available to take questions on the TransCanada buyout and other Alaska LNG issues. When AGDC representatives not named Fauske showed up to testify before the Senate Finance Committee, co-chair Anna MacKinnon (R-Eagle River) had one question: “Gentlemen, the first question out of the gate is, where is Dan Fauske?” she asked. Joe Dubler, AGDC’s vice president for commercial operations, said he “was asked not to” come and then said “the attorney general for the State of Alaska is the one that’s running the special session for the governor and he asked that Mr. Fauske not be in Juneau today.” In explaining the decision, AG Craig Richards said the administration wanted to have the people most technically knowledgeable about the subject on hand to answer questions.  After a 45 minute break, Fauske dialed in.

Attorney Client Privilege?  By then, lawmakers were peppering the AGDC head on reports that  AGDC had approved the creation of a new subsidiary corporation under AGDC for the purpose of acting as a “gas aggregator”.  Several Senators expressed concern that it appeared the state was attempting to act like a producer.  At one point in the hearing, AG Richards  invoked attorney client privilege.  Headlamp asks the question:  does the Attorney General work for the people of Alaska? 


Top News

Gov. Walker rolls out Permanent Fund budget proposal

Alaska Journal of Commerce, James Brooks, October 29, 2015

TransCanada exec: Company ready for buyout

Alaska Journal of Commerce, James Brooks, October 29, 2015

Lawmakers: TransCanada buyout likely, but is state ready?

Alaska Public Radio Network, Rachel Waldholz, October 29, 2015


Alaska Legislature News

Q&A: A Look at the Pipeline Project Being Pursued by Alaska

New York Times, AP, October 30, 2015


Alaska LNG News

Asian gas market slumps as Alaska policy makers voice support of LNG pipeline

KTUU, Austin Baird, October 29, 2015

Port MacKenzie director wants LNG pipeline project to use alternate route

KTVA, Daniella Rivera, October 29, 2015


Alaska Energy News

Oil and gas industry messaging effort reaches elementary students in Mat-Su

Alaska Dispatch News, Alex DeMarban, October 29, 2015

88 Energy on track at Icewine in Alaska

Energy Voice, Phil Allen, October 30, 2015