Walker to call special session on Alaska LNG

Gov. Bill Walker on April 18. 2015. (Photo by Jeremy Hsieh/KTOO)
Gov. Bill Walker plans to call a special session this fall to discuss Alaska LNG, the proposed natural gas pipeline project.  (File photo by Jeremy Hsieh/KTOO)

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Alaska’s massive natural gas pipeline project is tiptoeing forward.

Governor Bill Walker told KTVA Monday night (Sept. 21) that he plans to call a special session of the legislature this fall to discuss the project, dubbed Alaska LNG. That’s a turn-around from just a few weeks ago. Earlier this month, Walker told reporters that disagreements between the state and its industry partners might not be bridged in time to bring the project before lawmakers.

The proposed pipeline would carry natural gas 800 miles from the North Slope to Nikiski, with an estimated price tag hovering around $55 billion. The state is currently partnering with the companies ExxonMobil, BP and ConocoPhillips, as well as the pipeline builder TransCanada — though the governor would like to buy out TransCanada’s share.

Lawmakers and the governor are still working to pin down the exact date — and location — of the session, though Walker has indicated that he’d prefer it be held in Juneau, and would like to squeeze it in before Thanksgiving. The agenda is also up in the air. But it could include everything from the TransCanada buy-out to a potential constitutional amendment necessary to lock in tax rates on the project.

A formal announcement is expected later this week.

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Rachel Waldholz covers energy and the environment for Alaska's Energy Desk, a collaboration between Alaska Public Media, KTOO in Juneau and KUCB in Unalaska. Before coming to Anchorage, she spent two years reporting for Raven Radio in Sitka. Rachel studied documentary production at the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism, and her short film, A Confused War won several awards. Her work has appeared on Morning Edition, All Things Considered, and Marketplace, among other outlets. rwaldholz (at) alaskapublic (dot) org | 907.550.8432 | About Rachel