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Thursday, November 23, 2017
HomeAlaska NewsWither the gas line?

Wither the gas line?

It has gotten awfully quiet

Parents know that sensation they get when all of a sudden the kids are just too quiet.

Well, parents, the kids in the Governor’s Office are too quiet about the gasline.

Governor Bill Walker blew into office on a claim that he and he alone could get the gasline built, because he alone understood what it would take. He’d do it if he had to claw the route with his bare hands.

Hawkins

As Transcanada backed away from the partnership like a wary hiker backing away from a ornery moose, the governor called a special session to have the Legislature buy out Transcanada’s portion. Legislators allowed him to spend $64.6 million for a stake in a project that would ship natural gas to Asia. With Transcanada gone, the State has a full quarter of the partnership, along with Exxon, BP and ConocoPhillips.

Of course, without Transcanada, there was no partner that actually knows how to build an 800-mile gas line. Details

At the same time, the governor proceeded to overthrow the governing agency, the Alaska Gasline Development Corporation. He replaced the board and fired the president. He placed his recent business partner, now the attorney general, on the AGDC board, along with some of his old cronies from his failed Alaska Natural Gas Port Authority.

Walker always has said that his process, unlike that of his predecessor, would be entirely transparent, and he promised regular updates.

He promised an update in March. Then in April. Now it’s June…and it’s crickets.

People are asking: Are all the partners still onboard? Will they move to the next stage? The partners must decide if they will continue on to full engineering and design this fall.

What does the governor know about the possible disintegration of the partnership?

Clues came to the surface in March:

“We’re just trying to anticipate what would happen in the event that all partners weren’t going to go to FEED (Front End Engineering and Design). What would that look like? What are the options at that point?” Walker said to a reporter. “The advantage is, it gives us about a year’s head-start on that discussion.”

There is a discussion going on, but Alaskans are not being given the whole story. Does Gov. Walker plan to go it alone? That’s what the breadcrumbs point to.

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Suzanne Downing had careers in business and journalism before serving as the Director of Faith and Community-based Initiatives for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and returning to Alaska to serve as speechwriter for Gov. Sean Parnell. Born on the Oregon coast, she moved to Alaska in 1969.

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