The Alaska Senate voted 16-3 on Tuesday to buy out TransCanada and take a larger stake in the Alaska LNG gas pipeline.
The vote is a win for Gov. Bill Walker, whose administration has argued that keeping TransCanada as a partner did not make financial sense, and a buyout would give Alaska more control over the proposed megaproject, which the state is developing along with ExxonMobil, BP and ConocoPhillips. The buyout must still be approved by the House, which is expected to vote later this week.
“Another thing that it gives us, beside some of the financial advantages, is that we are closer to the project, we have a seat at the table, we are involved in decisions as we go forward, and that is of great value as we contemplate a project of this magnitude,” Fairbanks Republican Pete Kelly, co-chair of the Senate Finance Committee, said.
Meanwhile, Wasilla Sen. Mike Dunleavy, one of the three no votes, said that after a week and a half of hearings, he still wasn’t convinced the administration has a clear plan for the gas line going forward. He said it seems like different state agencies are working against each other.
“But as I stand here today and I speak to this body, I have serious concerns,” Dunleavy said. “I believe that there were questions that went unanswered. I believe the onus was on the administration to prove to me that we’re headed in the right direction, and personally I think it came up short.”