Former Alaska Gov. Tony Knowles called on the current state administration and legislature to put gas pipeline discussions on hold in order to facilitate negotiations among the various parties looking to build the multibillion dollar construction project.
Speaking before a joint meeting of the Alaska Resource Development Council and the Alaska Support Industry Alliance, Knowles asked the executive branch and lawmakers to consider delaying a vote on the Alaska Gasline Inducement Act for three months or more in order to get the state, the producers and TransCanada to work out a deal.
“We don’t have to restart anything. Let’s start the negotiation now with all the parties. ... Nobody has to give up anything. Put it on hold, and let’s see how serious the parties are. And I think that we will be pleasantly surprised with the output,” Knowles said.
The state legislature recently completed a special session devoted to deciding whether or not to give TransCanada a license under AGIA. According to the law, those lawmakers must vote on the matter by Aug. 2.
In addition to failing to negotiate with the producers, Knowles criticized AGIA for offering a $500 million matching grant to its licensee, for preventing the state from helping another company and for requiring high rolled in rates.
Knowles served as governor of Alaska from 1994 to 2002. He ran again in 2006, but lost to current Gov. Sarah Palin, who has made the natural gas pipeline the centerpiece of her first term in office.