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WASHINGTON: Alaska Natural Gas Pipeline Act; History of H.R. 4; DOE Energy Bill Position, 6-02; Daschle-Bingaman Energy Bill (Alaska, Sec. 1236 & tax credit, Sec. 2503 & H.R. 4 Conferees), Tax Credit; See amendments, "Energy Policy Act of 2002"; "Alaska Natural Gas Pipeline Act of 2001 (Draft)" & Background Paper, 8-9-01;Alaska Legislature Joint Committee position; Governor's position; Governor's 10-Point Plan; Anadarko Analysis; U.S. Senate Energy Committee Testimony, 10-2-01 - text version; U.S. Senate Energy Committee Testimony, 9-14-00; Report on the Alaska Natural Gas Transportation Act of 1971, prepared by staff of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 1-18-01
ALASKA: 1-23-03, Governor Frank Murkowski's State of the State Speech; 2002 DRAFT Recommendations to 2003 Legislature; '02 Alaska Legislation; Alaska Highway Natural Gas Pipeline Policy Council; Joint Legislative Gas Pipeline Committee; 9-01 Alaska Models: Canadian Routes, LNG, GTL; HR 4 Story; Cook Inlet Supply-Demand Report: AEDC; Commonwealth North Investigation & Our Article; Report: Backbone; Legislature Contacts; State Gas Pipeline Financing Study; 5-02 Alaska Producer Update; Kenai: "Oil & Gas Industry Issues and Activities Report, 11-02"; Alaska Oil & Gas Tax Structure; 2-27-02 Royalty Sale Background; Alaska Gas Pipeline Office opens, 7-01, and closes, 5-02; Betty Galbraith's 1997-1998 Chronology. Our copy.
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COMPANIES: Alaska Gas Producers Pipeline Team Newsletter, 7-27-01; APG Newsletter: 5-02, 7-02 & 9-02; ArctiGas NEB PIP Filing Background; NRGPC Newsletter: Fall-02; 4-02 ArctiGas Reduces Field Work; BP's Natural Gas Page; Enbridge Perspective; Foothills Perspective; Williams Perspective; YPC Perspective, 7-02
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Northern Gas Pipelines: Author's 2003 Opinion Page
Readers know that Northern Gas Pipelines is supportive of all of the people and governments working so hard on all projects. We have treated all with respect and, we hope, equality. Sometimes we editorialize both here and in other publications--not advocating our own special interests but rather advising on public policy. On other pages, we provide opinion pieces from readers in Alaska and Canada. To have your opinion archived here, email us. -dh
January 15, 2003. Alaska Highway Natural Gas Pipeline.
January 10, 2003
Jim Kohler’s professional radio voice resonates from a couple dozen Alaskan radio stations every week. He speaks for his media creation, the Alaska Business Radio Network. We’re used to professional media advertising voices. His is a voice with a mind behind it. Kohler’s Alaska business consulting career elevates him to the guru level.
In early January he flew from his Juneau home to Anchorage and appeared before the Alaska Support Industry Alliance. Speaking without a script, his every sentence radiated logic and mesmerized a large 7 a.m. business audience over ham and eggs.
Kohler pointed out that businesses and economies change and evolve. If they refuse to change they die. Human nature fears change. Fear of change causes us to cling to the present. It also keeps us from risking embrace of the future. Alaska’s fishing industry, Kohler says, is more a culture than an industry. As the world’s fish industry changes with market demands and new technology, Alaska’s fishing business stays the same, losing market share. We hold on to the culture we believe in whether it is economically viable or not. “In reverse”, I thought, “humans and their governments can defy economics and neglect the present culture while seeking unproven, new economic goals. Alaska has learned this lesson with well-intentioned grain elevator, barley and seafood-processing projects.”
Kohler didn’t apply this logic to gas pipelines, but we could try here.
* * *
Governor Tony Knowles’ Alaska Highway Gas Pipeline Policy Council and the Legislature’s Joint Gas Pipeline Committee conducted scores of gas pipeline meetings in 2002. Participants were well intended, worked hard and amassed a huge volume of data.
After hearing Kohler speak I began to review all of last year’s meeting notes. (See: http://www.arcticgaspipeline.com/Legislature.htm and: http://www.arcticgaspipeline.com/Policy%20Council.htm). Then, I became uneasy about Alaska’s gas pipeline decision process.
It’s easy to say all of us want a gas pipeline offering greatest economic benefit. Approval of Proposition #3 in the November election showed many embrace the All Alaskan gas pipeline/LNG project as a new cultural goal if not an economic decision. The two government committees meeting last year produced recommendations embracing a new Alaska Highway gas pipeline culture. While many of us were attracted to both approaches, they shared similar characteristics: unproven feasibility, potential in-state use of gas, possible new petrochemical industries, and jobs.
In mid January the Resource Development Club of an Anchorage high school asked me to address members on the history and current status of gas pipeline projects in Alaska and Canada. This objective briefing, I entitled, “Looking At Northern Gas Pipelines Through a High School Student Lens”. As a former teacher, I avoided giving them anyone’s biased conclusion, but Socratically questioned them so that they might reach their own conclusions.
I was amazed at their insight. While not identifying a particular project, instead they discussed general assumptions and qualifications for an acceptable project:
While I have paraphrased the students’ conclusions--hopefully fairly--the above did seem to be the rather clear assumptions and conclusions reached.
Recalling Jim Kohler’s message, I now ask myself if we’ve been asking the right questions. We’ve been asking what might produce the most jobs, in-state gas use potential and a petrochemical industry: “What will establish the culture of our dreams?”
Now that I think of it, I can’t remember any of us over the past year realistically asking industry: “How can we help you develop a gas pipeline project that gives you maximum profit and us maximum royalties and taxes to protect our present economy and culture?”
Sometimes, it benefits us proud adults to sit down and relax with our bright kids as a way of simplifying questions and answers.
Some adults over the last year have said, in effect, “If the pipeline isn’t done my way, the gas can just stay in the ground for another 20 years.” Some of these are now retired. Students are now deciding to remain in or leave Alaska in the next few years. They might view this position differently than policy makers approaching secure retirements.
It also could pay to observe the wisdom of advisors like Kohler, who can help us extrapolate the experience of one industry to another.
In 2003, should anyone be interested in gas pipeline impacts on young people, it might serve us all to ask the producers on behalf of the next generation: “What gas pipeline project can bring you and us the maximum profit?”
“Maximum profit” may be a prescription for bequeathing to our children intact, the culture we cherish today as well as a financially solid, if not ideal, future economy.
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