Alaska Senate passes bill to advance gas project

March 18, 2014 • Business

RETRANSMITTING TO REMOVE REFERENCE TO CATHY GIESSEL, WHO IS NOT IN THE PHOTO Sen. Bert Stedman, R-Sitka, top right, speaks on the floor of the Alaska Senate during discussion of proposed amendments to a bill aimed at advancing a major liquefied natural gas project on Tuesday, March 18, 2014, in Juneau, Alaska. Shown in the row in front of him is Sen. Dennis Egan. Seated beside him is Sen. Kevin Meyer. (AP Photo/Becky Bohrer)

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — The Alaska Senate on Tuesday passed legislation aimed at advancing a major liquefied natural gas project, over nagging concerns about the role of TransCanada Corp.

The vote, following hours of debate, was 15-5. Republican Sen. Bert Stedman joined minority Democrats Hollis French, Bill Wielechowski, Johnny Ellis and Berta Gardner in voting against.

Natural Resources Commissioner Joe Balash had hoped for a resounding approval as a message to the other project partners and markets about Alaska’s resolve in pursuing a project. Tuesday evening, Gov. Sean Parnell thanked the Senate for passing his bill and said he looked forward to working with the House to pass legislation “on Alaska’s terms and in Alaskans’ interests.”

Minority Democrats unsuccessfully proposed 16 amendments, including having the state be a majority owner in a project and calling for a competitive bid process if the state chose to have an equity partner, rather than simply having TransCanada in that role, as it is currently. Critics said the state could not afford the former and the latter would be costly in terms of momentum and time, with no guarantee the state would get a better Login to read more

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