The Fairbanks borough assembly has approved spending half a million in state grant money to fund studies to assess trucking in natural gas from the North Slope and distributing it in Fairbanks. Voters will be asked this fall whether the publicly created Port Authority should be able to pursue a trucking project, and whether the assembly should fund a necessary due diligence study of it. The ordinance appropriating the grant for the more preliminary studies was sponsored by Mayor Luke Hopkins. Hopkins told the assembly it’s a key step.
Fairbanks State senator Joe Thomas helped shepherd funding for the studies through the state legislature. Thomas said the current situation amounts to the worst energy crisis he’s seen in 60 years living in Fairbanks, and the studies are a way to help public assess the gas trucking option.
Thomas noted that if new exploration in Cook Inlet finds significant natural gas, support for an instate gas pipeline from the North Slope will evaporate. The ordinance approving the expenditure of the money for the studies passed the assembly six to two.