Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin traveled to Fairbanks June 6 for a ceremonial signing of her gas pipeline legislation, the Alaska Gasline Inducement Act, known as AGIA. Palin’s gas line team, state lawmakers, business leaders, local politicians, and union leaders all joined her at a trans-Alaska oil pipeline viewing station just north of Fairbanks.
The governor, wearing double-knee Carhartts, stood with two of her daughters in front of the pipeline.
“It was 30 years ago this month that our Prudhoe Bay oil started flowing through that oil line,” she said. “It’s been Alaska’s economic lifeline for a generation; the generation in which I’ve grown up. … Now it’s time for a new generation of energy for Alaska. It’s time for our gas line.”
“Just a few hundred miles up this road; not on the other side of the earth, but up this road, lies one of the world’s richest and largest proven reserves of natural gas, and every day about 8 billion cubic feet of our natural gas is extracted from the ground up there in Prudhoe. It’s brought to the surface and it’s reinjected back down into the reservoir. Some of that gas is reinjected for oil recovery enhancement, and that’s good, but at least a couple hundred billion cubic feet of our gas is ready and is available for our use now. … It can be sent down a pipe like this one and used to heat our homes and run our businesses and to energize our economy, and to help secure the United States of America with a safe, secure, stable domestic supply of energy.”
“I look at my kids and I think, what do they have to look forward to? Well, there are some things we can do about that. About their future. About that next generation. AGIA can help get us there,” Palin said. “The beauty of AGIA is this legislation is open to all comers – all viable, responsible, reasonable entities wishing to compete for the right to tap Alaska’s resources. AGIA excludes no one. … This bill provides inducements, including stability in regulation and taxation, and utilization of an $18 billion federal loan guarantee.”
AGIA also lays out what Alaska expects to get out of the deal, she said, including jobs for Alaskans, gas for Alaskans, and expandability of this line, so that when new gas is explored for… tapped into, it can also get into the line.”
She noted the timelines in AGIA were designed to “guarantee a project is built at the end of the day.”
“So, who’s going to build it?” she asked.
AGIA’s “open, transparent, competitive process … lets Alaskans, together, choose our best partner,” Palin said.
“And the beauty of AGIA? … (It) even lets us consider building this transportation infrastructure … ourselves.”
The actual gas line bill was not ready for the Fairbanks ceremony. The Legislature approved it in mid-May, but the bill hadn’t received all the required official signatures in time to be sent north for the scheduled signing. Palin said she would sign the real bill later in Anchorage with the same pen she used to sign the ceremonial bill in Fairbanks.
A schoolteacher gave the pen, which was made out of a caribou antler, to the governor.
“He wanted to be sure that Alaskan kids, the students here in Alaska, are represented. … He reminds us that kids are counting on us. The next generation is counting on us,” she said.
“So as the ink dries on that legislation officially tomorrow, our work has just begun,” the governor said.