He's back: Former Gov. Walker says Anchorage, MatSu don't need natural gas - Must Read Alaska
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Monday, August 3, 2020
HomePoliticsHe’s back: Former Gov. Walker says Anchorage, MatSu don’t need natural gas

He’s back: Former Gov. Walker says Anchorage, MatSu don’t need natural gas

HE WANTS GASLINE TO GO TO VALDEZ, NO PALMER SPUR

Former Gov. Bill Walker is once again milking cash from the City of Valdez to bend the Alaska Gasline project away from the Kenai Peninsula and east to Valdez, his hometown and one of his largest legal clients.

He is the city attorney for Valdez, as he was prior to becoming governor. He was also mayor there briefly as a young man, although he left halfway through his term of office.

Walker’s argument to the federal regulatory group in charge of the environmental impact statement is that Anchorage, MatSu, and Kenai residents and businesses don’t need natural gas, so there’s no point in routing the gasline to tidewater at Nikiski.

The 800-mile yet-to-be Alaska Gasline has been a dream of Walker’s for his entire adult life, although most experts say it’s just not penciling out. The netback profit for the gas producers in today’s market would likely be a negative number, considering the world is awash in natural gas.

But there’s money to be made in pipeline consulting, and Valdez has wanted the terminus for the gasline for decades. Walker fought for it when he was the Valdez city attorney before he became governor, and like Groundhog Day, he’s city attorney again and wants to change the gasline route.

Valdez is rich enough as a community to be able to afford Walker’s billable hours: The municipality has its own permanent fund with more than $205 million that generates $3 million a year, and Valdez gets more than $38 million in oil and gas property tax.

Brena, Bell, and Walker, the law firm where the former governor rejoined after leaving office, makes over $1.65 million a year to fight the Nikiski alternative for the gasline, and to handle other legal matters for the city. That’s nearly as much as the city pays for its solid waste services for this city of 3,860 people. It’s over half of what the City of Valdez earns from its Permanent Fund.

(As an aside, Robin Brena is the author of the new oil tax ballot initiative, which is in the signature-collection stage. Brena has been trying to boost oil taxes for years and was the lead adviser for the Walker Administration’s transition team group on oil taxes.)

On behalf of Valdez, Walker this month filed an objection to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission concerning the draft environmental impact statement on the gasline’s current proposed route to Nikiski.

Walker told FERC that Anchorage doesn’t need natural gas, therefore the argument that a natural gasline should come through Southcentral Alaska to Nikiski is irrelevant. Further, he argues that the purpose of the project never was to supply gas to Southcentral.

“No where in the statement of purpose for the Alaska LNG Project does delivery of natural gas to the greater Anchorage area appear,” Walker wrote.

That, of course, is not true. The stated purpose of the proposed gasline is clear in multiple documents over the years, such as this from the very draft environmental impact statement that he is criticizing:

“The purpose the Project is to commercialize the natural gas resources of Alaska’s North Slope by converting the existing natural gas supply to liquefied natural gas for export and providing gas for users within the state of Alaska.”

Who would main gas users be in the vast and largely unpopulated state of Alaska? Those folks living along the Railbelt, where more than half of the people live, and where more than half of commerce takes place.

Walker may have selective amnesia, for it was in his own administration that commissioned a 2018 report on Cook Inlet natural gas availability and reported that the Anchorage area could count on gas from the inlet until about 2030.

That’s 10 years.

[Read the Walker Administration report on Cook Inlet natural gas supply]

Upon leaving office, Walker wrote an op-ed in the Anchorage Daily News, encouraging the work to continue on the gasline to Nikiski:

“When the gas begins to flow, communities along the pipeline will immediately see a drop in energy prices – as much as a 75-percent reduction in the Interior. Twenty percent of the state’s available royalty revenue from gas sales will go to fund energy projects for communities without direct access to the gas, significantly reducing the cost of energy across the entire state. Low-cost energy would enable us to finally make value-added products, instead of just shipping out raw materials for manufacturing somewhere else. As a result of lower-cost energy, the Perryman Group forecasts 61,000 additional jobs in sectors such as the mining industry,” Walker wrote.

But Walker’s current client allows him to continue his war on the Kenai, and as a good city attorney he will say what benefits his client in the official filing with FERC.

Other comments were made about the draft environmental impact statement — some came from Native Corporations, others from environmental groups. All comments were due by Oct. 3.

None of the others made the bizarre claim that Southcentral Alaska in general and Anchorage in particular don’t need natural gas.

While he was governor, Walker told the public he had no intention to try to reroute the gasline, which the major gas suppliers (BP, Exxon, ConocoPhillips), the Alaska Gasline Development Corporation, and the federal commission itself said was best routed to Nikiski for export to Asia.

But now Walker is not a governor with the political realities hemming him in. It’s back to billing Valdez and trying to reroute the project.

A thorough description of the Walker/Brena filing is summarized at Petroleum News, and is not behind a paywall.

FERC’s final environmental impact statement for the project is due in March of 2020. But meanwhile, the Alaska Gasline Development Corporation has laid off much of its staff and did not renew the nonbinding joint development agreements it had with China. Whatever project goes forward, it will not be the one developed under Walker and former AGDC President Keith Meyers

The Dunleavy Administration has signaled it’s not comfortable with the State of Alaska taking all the risk with the project as the lead developer, as envisioned by the Walker Administration.

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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.

Latest comments

  • Plain and simple Walker only has his pocketbook in interest not that of Alaskans. That is why he was never going to be reelected in Alasla.

  • Thanks for the research and publishing this information …it clearly needs wider exposure ….Bill Walker was a bad choice for Governor and in the end will be a bad choice as City Attorney for Valdez, certainly not doing anything positive for the citizens of the State….

  • Wouldn’t the additional oil tax being pushed by Brena decrease the value of the oil pipeline? Wouldn’t that decrease the amount of property tax that Valdez can collect from Alyeska Pipeline Service Company? If both of those are true, isn’t Brena acting in opposition to his client’s interest?

  • The “idiot” Squirrel Walker is talking out the other side of his mouth.. His scheme is gone and he thinks he has an edge on all the “hot air” of the political scene. But….life has changed!! He is a loser from the “get go” so its time to sit down and shut up!!!

  • This is only one of the many good reasons why
    Dunleavy is our Governor.

  • What exactly does he mean Kenai & Anchorage don’t need natural gas?

  • So, the Ruskies are pressing forward with their “Arctic LNG-2” project at Gydan Peninsula, where it’s very similar to our North Slope. And, their shipping it directly from the plant, no south bound compressors and/or pipelines.
    Why can’t we do something similar here in AK, eliminating the compressor stations and 800-mi pipeline, adding tremendous costs to the project as well as added costs to the operations?

  • Sadly it makes sense that Valdez would rehire the failed former Governor. It also makes sense that the failed former Governor is still saying whatever he can to cash a check. Typical slimy lawyer, he lied his way into and out of office now he’s lying for cash.

  • This man has committed treason by aiding and abetting China a direct enemy of the USA economics is a part of a war strategy. They are doing many things that are devastating our nation. Between fentanyl, corporate spying and illegal fishing in disputed territory of our allies. Let alone Hong Kong and Taiwan annexing,pollution and slave labor they are the worst threat to the world, bar none! The truth is they are there own worst enemy but like Walker greed will destroy them.

  • Walker is a self-interested and self-centered politician who is relying on notions of glorious self-enrichment before he becomes old and wheelchair ridden. A miserable ex-governor who relishes the Dunleavy recall. If any ex-governor abused his office for self-enrichment, with big payoffs to his cronies, it’s Bill Walker. A scam artist and an Alaska grifter.

    • Why do you think Alaskans dumped his sorry a–? It wasn’t just about Byron Mallott.

      • Walker is an —- when he needs something (like votes). I wonder if the Chinese fellow took a bath on that day?

  • With the amount of gas available and the amount of money spent in this state on foolishness over the years, it is shameful that every established community is not plummed for gas. It displays the short sightedness of Alaskans. Walker needs to shut up.

  • Walker Talkie Is a lying lawyer I am Shocked. Learn something new everyday.
    Story about Walker. In the 80’s he owned a Travel Agency. Had three employees. Sold his business which is fine, but did not have the courage to tell his employees the business was sold. His three employees showed up to work as usual just to find the Locks had been changed in the middle of the night. Finding out about the Business Sale through the Local Valdez grapevine. True Story happened to my Wife. Pretty Slimy.

    • Joe, ……yes Walker is slimy. Look at the photo in this article header. He’s bowing to the Chinese gentleman. IDIOT! Japanese bow. Chinese don’t. It shows you that not only is Walker a fraud…..he’s also ignorant. Hard to believe he was the governor. No class and a third rate lawyer. He met his wife in law school and they’ve been lying together ever since.

      • Thanks, Wohong. Read above comment.

      • There are two Alaska governors, one is Sara Palin, who gave $1,000,000,000. to TransCanada Pipe line company and received NOTHING to Alaska from that company.
        The second governor is Bill Walker, who hired Taxas marketing man and spent
        over $1,000.000,000. to his Taxes buddies to make the FERC Evironmental Impact Statement first draft.
        Not a single Alaskan engineering firm got a piece of action, as far as I know.
        Also the governor took away $3200 PFD per Alaskan for two years under his
        governorship, which was $2.24 billion dollars to use on his pipeline.
        The reason that China ( Sinopec, Bank of China, and China Development Bank) terminated the agreement with Alaska AGPD is that the number did Not Pencil Out.
        It will cost Alaska $14.17 PER 1 MILLION BTU LNG to produce, while the selling price in China is $6.75 and $7.75 in Japan. delivered to the docks.
        It is a losing business to start with, without considering cost overrun.
        In the Alaska Trans Oil pipline, the budget was $1 Billion, and it ended up with
        a $7 billion final cost, a 700% cost overrun.
        China and Japan already have long term multi-year contracts with other oil producing countries at the current price.
        I have asked our present governor to stop this project, and don’t waste our tax
        money. I.nstead pay for education, food, housing andf public safety for the Alaskans

        • Natural gas is a fungible resource. Alaska NG holds no mystical or unique properties other than it is costly to produce and deliver. We would be better off spending our time and money trying to market Alaska glacier ice to the warmest locations on the planet, so there can be a chilling effect to offset man-made climate warming.

  • I agree wholeheartedly that Walker is as slimy as they come. He makes promises that he has no intention of keeping, and he does it without any remorse or regret. Walker is all about Walker and he has no regard for anyone else. He literally gave the middle finger to the people of this state when he stole the PFD funds and changed the rules. He is a flim flam man, a con artist, and his word means nothing. Worse Governor ever in the history of our state.

    • Slime begets slime. Byron Mallott and Bill Walker. Both should be in jail. One for crimes against children and women. The other for theft of public money and using his position in government to cover it up.

  • Typical for a Lawyer, Politician, and Prostitute.

  • The Chinese guy in the photo is thinking to himself, “Walker would kiss my a$$ if I turned my back on him. I wish he was president, rather than Trump. Oh wait, is he trying to kiss something else? Dumb American.”

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