Supporters call it a long-term solution to critical energy needs along the Railbelt, pointing out that it's a very real possibility that resource-rich Alaska might have to actually import foreign gas sometime in the next few years to meet projected needs.
“I think we’ve got to get this plan enacted as soon as possible,” said Sen. Lesil McGuire (R-Anchorage).
But the in-state gasline won't happen without $400 million in state funds to get things going.
And so lawmakers, like Sen. Bert Stedman (R-Sitka), who co-chairs the finance committee, are coming in hearings with a lot of questions.
He’s looking at Cook Inlet and wondering if new exploration there will be rendered useless by a sudden surge of Arctic gas.
Stedman also worries an in-state line would only benefit the Fairbanks, Mat-Su and Anchorage population centers, leaving rural Alaska untouched.
“I would like a little more substance and a little less marketing,” Stedman said. “Clearly this is a big financial decision for the state.”
“I’ve been doing this a long time, have presented all kinds of things to legislators and I didn’t see anything today that’s not typical of good thorough thoughtful consideration,” said Dan Fauske, president of the Alaska Gasline Development Corp., which is overseeing the ASAP project.
The week continues with two more days of legislative hearings on natural gas, with TransCanada testifying Tuesday, and federal pipeline coordinator Larry Persily taking the stand Wednesday.