"That takes a lot as a policymaker when you've pushed forward a loan guarantee program, to come back and admit that the world has changed and that it's time for Alaska to take a new direction," said Sen. Lesil McGuire, R-Anchorage, the other co-Chair of the committee.
The two co-Chairs of the Senate Resources Committee have two different takes on Stevens' announcement.
"What he's saying really doesn't mesh with the facts," Wielechowski said.
"His comments were right on the mark and have been echoing the things that we've discussed here in the building," McGuire said.
The take two different views of the world gas market and the future for Alaska's gas, which has been stranded on the North Slope for decades.
Stevens believes the abundance of shale gas in the Lower 48 has changed the game and has made a pipeline across Canada obsolete.
He now believes the state should ditch its Alaska Gasline Inducement Act process, which is on the eve of its first open season.
"I think he really missed a point, which is (that) under AGIA we are having an open season down to Valdez," Wielechowski said.
Under the TransCanada open season coming in May, a pipeline to Valdez remains an option.
But it's up to the market to decide whether it goes there.
Proponents of a pipeline to tidewater, or a point where it can be shipped, say the gas can be liquefied and shipped to growing markets in Asia, but opponents say high tariff costs remain a barrier.
They say countries like Australia and Indonesia already have gas at tidewater and don't need to build a pipeline to get their gas to a plant to turn it into liquefied natural gas.
"Our proximity to Asia gives us an edge in the transportation. It's a shorter delivery route over to Asia," McGuire said.
The Senate has yet to finalize its version of the budget, but politics in the House has set the stage for debate.
The House passed a budget without 70 percent of what the governor asked for to move forward with AGIA.
"It puts us in a position where we're allowing the oil companies to leverage us and that's a very, very dangerous position for us to be in," Wielechowski said.
"We're going to have to be accountable to Alaskans. They're going to come back to us and say, ‘At $150 million and counting, what did this money go for,'" McGuire said.
The House also took money away from the governor's in-state gas coordinator.
One Wall Street oil and gas analyst says to stay the course.
"I think the Open Season will give us a good indication of how firm the supply market is going to be," said Fadel Gheit, a Wall Street oil and gas analyst.
Gheit says the U.S. market for gas is growing, but the only question is how much.
"The bottom line here is simple. Ten years from now, we'll need every source of energy we can get our hands on. So we better plan now, not wait 10 years from now," Gheit said.
His advice: Get to work on fiscal terms. That will determine whether any pipeline will be built. He also says not to write off the pipeline to the Lower 48 as a pipedream.
"With all due respect, that is a very short-sighted," Gheit said.
Stevens called on the state to minimize risk by putting up 50 percent of the cash to build an in-state line.
Some skeptics of that ask why the state should put up money if it's too big of a risk for producers.
Stevens hasn't said what pot of state money would fund this. That's among the many questions lawmakers and others have for Stevens, and they'll get their chance on Thursday.
A group of legislators who have been meeting regularly to discuss in-state gas have invited Stevens to join them in a teleconference on Thursday.
They're also meeting Tuesday to hear from Sen. Lisa Murkowski, also via teleconference.
Contact Rhonda McBride at email@example.com