Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Ted Stevens Addresses State Legislature

Today Ted Stevens, the Senior US Senator from Alaska, addressed the Alaksa State Legislature.

Here's what he had to say about the Alaska Gas Pipeline, note the reference to "financial certainty":

Our first opportunity is our gas line.

In 2004, Congress authorized the Alaska Gas Pipeline which established the federal procedure for Alaskans to build a strong economic future and to help decrease our nation’s dependence on foreign energy sources. But the window of opportunity for our gas line is closing fast.

By 2015, our nation will import at least 40 percent of the natural gas we consume. The U.S. oil and gas industry has invested billions of dollars around the world to build Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) plants along with cryogenic tankers to bring that LNG to our shores.

In the U.S., new technologies will tap into the Marcellus Shale, a 6,000 foot deep reservoir in the Appalachians estimated to contain 50 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.

After our State’s review of the gas pipeline, federal agencies will review it. Ultimately the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission will license the pipeline to deliver Alaska’s gas to market.

Time is of the essence if our pipeline is to compete with foreign LNG and domestic sources such as the Marcellus Shale gas. I hope that working with the Governor you will resolve outstanding issues as quickly as possible so the federal permitting process may begin this year.

To achieve that goal, in my opinion, the right climate for this investment in our State must exist. Originally considered a $20 billion project, recent financial analysts’ comments indicate the cost will be $40 billion. No entity will commit that kind of money – whether $20 or $40 billion – without certainty in the financial aspects of the project’s economics.

All Alaskans, particularly young Alaskans, want this project started because of the jobs and economic stability the gas line will bring to our State. Governor Hammond’s idea for the Permanent Fund Dividend was for each Alaskan to share in our State’s future. Congress, at our request, in the Alaska Natural Gas Pipeline Act provided you the opportunity to follow Hammond’s example and allow Alaskans the opportunity to share ownership in our gas line.

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