Legislature(2007 - 2008)HOUSE FINANCE 519

05/05/2007 01:00 PM FINANCE

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Audio Topic
01:13:03 PM Start
01:14:14 PM HB177
02:26:03 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
--Public Testimony (limited to 2 min.)--
 HB 177-NATURAL GAS PIPELINE PROJECT                                                                                            
     Public Testimony                                                                                                           
The  following overview  was  taken in  log  note  format.                                                                      
Handouts will be on file  with the House Finance Committee                                                                      
through the  25th  Legislative Session, contact  465-6814.                                                                      
After the 25th  Legislative Session they will be available                                                                      
through the Legislative Library at 465-3808.                                                                                    
 TIME        SPEAKER        DISCUSSION                                                                                      
 1:14:14 PM Robert          Testified in support of a project labor                                                           
             Peterson,      agreement (PLA), which would encourage                                                              
             Operating      local hire.                                                                                       
1:15:47 PM Jason    Brune, Noted that RDC has not taken a position                                                            
            Executive      on AGIA lightly; they engaged in a                                                                   
            Director,      lengthy work session. The membership                                                                 
            Resource       does agree that Alaska needs a gas                                                                   
            Development    pipeline and needs it soon. He                                                                       
            Council (RDC), concurred with  many of AGIA's guiding                                                               
            Anchorage      principles, including the insistence on                                                              
                           a  transparent  process, but  did  not                                                               
                           believe that AGIA would result in a gas                                                              
                           pipeline   without   amendments.   The                                                               
                           statewide   RDC   Board  reached   the                                                               
                           following  points  of  consensus: AGIA                                                               
                           should  maximize  transparency in  the                                                               
                           progress (they believe AGIA meets this                                                               
                           goal);  AGIA should strive to maximize                                                               
                           the   number   of   bidders  and   bid                                                               
                           requirements (AGIA should be amended in                                                              
                           order  to  allow  applicants  as  much                                                               
                           flexibility  as   possible);  and  bid                                                               
                           requirements set  out in AGIA  are too                                                               
                           prescriptive  and  should be  replaced                                                               
                           with  broad objectives, the  number of                                                               
                           bid  requirements should  be minimized                                                               
                           and flexibility should be maximized. He                                                              
                           reiterated that AGIA should be amended                                                               
                           to establish broad objectives.                                                                     
                           ANCHORAGE (Teleconference Testimony)                                                             
1:18:57 PM Paul     Laird, Testified against AGIA in its present                                                              
            General        form. Oh behalf of the membership, he                                                                
           Manager,       urged the bill be reformed.                                                                         
            Alaska Support                                                                                                      
1:20:47 PM Mary Shields, Encouraged greater scrutiny of the AGIA                                                              
            General        bill so that it can add better value to                                                              
            Manager,       state resources. She maintained that                                                                 
            Northwest      the bid process does not contain clear                                                               
            Technical      and objective criteria for evaluation.                                                               
            Services,      She expressed concern that the $500                                                                  
            Anchorage      million incentive would encourage those                                                              
                           without   the  financial  strength  to                                                               
                           complete  the project.  She  urged the                                                               
                           state  to  require proof  of financial                                                               
                           viability.  Selection of  the licensee                                                               
                           needs  to follow a formalized, logical                                                               
                           and  objective course; any  objectivity                                                              
                           needs to be eliminated.                                                                              
                           Representative Gara emphasized that the                                                              
                           20  requirements included in AGIA would                                                              
                           prevent  subjectivity. The Governor is                                                             
                            committed  to only  accept  bids  from                                                              
                            companies that have the  wherefore all                                                              
                            to do the work. Ms. Shields referred to                                                             
                            difficulties in  other state  projects                                                              
                            where a  single entity or  one or  two                                                              
                            commissioners decided the outcome.                                                                
 1:25:36 PM  Maynard  Tapp, Proposed that  AGIA  should be  passed                                                            
             Alliance,      after reconsideration of the Stranded                                                               
             Anchorage      Gas Act. He mentioned the required                                                                  
                            performance bonds. He  urged that  the                                                              
                            gas pipeline not be delayed longer. He                                                              
                            asked  if  the  Legislature wants  the                                                              
                            federal government  to take  over  the                                                              
 1:27:36 PM  Aves Thompson, Stated that getting a  gas pipeline to                                                            
             Executive      fruition is the highest priority of the                                                             
             Director,      Alaska Trucking Association. He urged                                                               
             Alaska         that the bidders address the outcomes.                                                              
             Trucking       He recommended that the bill needs                                                                  
             Association,   clear and  objective criteria to  make                                                              
             Anchorage      the decision. He felt that AGIA places                                                              
                            too  much emphasis  on the  short-term                                                              
                            risks. He urged fiscal certainty.                                                                 
 1:30:04 PM  Jim   Gilbert, Testified in support of a gas project.                                                            
             President,     He maintained that the AGIA legislation                                                             
             Alliance,      needs amending. He urged that the                                                                   
             Anchorage      Legislature listen to the producers and                                                             
                            give them what they want.                                                                         
 1:31:17 PM Alberto         Offered to answer questions from the                                                              
             Rodriques,     Committee.                                                                                        
             Local     341,                                                                                                     
 1:31:40 PM  Jed Whittaker, Suggested that the State of Alaska own                                                            
             Self,          the pipeline and the natural gas in                                                                 
             Anchorage      order to maintain Alaskan control on                                                                
                            hiring. He  spoke against the work  of                                                              
 1:34:18 PM  Paul  Kendall, Voiced support for AGIA. Contracts are                                                            
             Self,          amendable and can be reconstructed with                                                             
             Anchorage      consent of the bodies involved. He                                                                  
                            expressed  concern   that  the   three                                                              
                            largest producers have a desire to bid                                                              
                            in a fair manner. He provided a list of                                                             
 1:38:25 PM  Rebecca Logan, Asked the  Committee to  reinstate the                                                            
             ABC    Alaska, original language  for  a PLA  to  the                                                              
             Anchorage      bill: commit to negotiate, prior to                                                                 
                            construction,    a    project    labor                                                              
                            agreement,  to  assure  expedited  and                                                              
                            labor  stability for  the  project  by                                                              
                            qualified residents of the state.                                                                 
 1:39:02 PM Laurence        Related a story of his work on the                                                                
            Mooney,        North Slope. He commented on the amount                                                              
            Laborers  341, of  unemployment  in  the North  Slope                                                               
           Anchorage      area. He urged local hire.                                                                          
1:41:15 PM  Lon    Wilson, Worried  about the  imminent threat of                                                             
            Alliance,      the loss of gas. Argued that without a                                                               
            Anchorage      pipeline, there will be an economic                                                                  
                           lapse  for  the  state  of Alaska.  An                                                               
                           agreement will  only be reached though                                                               
                           negotiations,  which  AGIA  lacks.  He                                                               
                           maintained that  there are many things                                                               
                           wrong  with  AGIA. He  urged  that the                                                               
                           scale be addressed.                                                                                
1:43:35 PM  Lyle Anne, AAA He  urged  that  non  union and  union                                                             
            Fence    Inc., workers be equally considered. The work                                                              
            Anchorage      should be open to all Alaskans.                                                                    
1:44:26 PM  Julie    Anne, Urged  that  the original  language of                                                             
            AAA      Fence AGIA be returned [PLA]. She encouraged                                                               
            Inc.,          prioritization    of    the    Alaskan                                                               
            Anchorage      workforce.                                                                                         
1:46:36 PM Vince           Stated that 85% of the workers in                                                                  
            Beltrami,      Alaska are union workers. He applauded                                                               
            President,     the Governor, who wants the pipeline.                                                                
            Alaska    AFL-He   stated  that the  AFL/CIO supports                                                               
            CIO,           AGIA. The Governor is supportive of the                                                              
            Anchorage,     Alaska workforce. He worried about the                                                               
                           setbacks if the legislation fails.                                                                 
1:50:48 PM  Joey  Merrick, Voiced  support  for  a  gas  pipeline                                                             
            Business       project. He added that there needs to                                                                
            Manager, Local be a  project labor agreement. He urged                                                              
            341,     Eagle putting Alaskans to work, commenting                                                                 
            River          that the best way to do that would be                                                                
                           through a PLA.                                                                                       
                           Representative  Crawford  wondered  if                                                               
                           there was  concern about discrimination                                                              
                           from the unions. Mr. Merrick disagreed.                                                              
                           He  pointed  out that  they  prioritize                                                              
                           journeymen, ahead of those from out-of-                                                              
                           state.  It is  illegal to  discriminate                                                              
                           against anyone with regard to the union                                                              
                           status. Qualified union members have a                                                               
1:55:34 PM  Jerry   Woods, Read from a  resolution prepared by the                                                            
            Acting         Conference supporting building the                                                                   
            Director,      project in order to bring increased                                                                  
            Tanana   Chief viability and economic advantage to the                                                              
            Conference,    state through the unions. Expressed                                                                  
            Fairbanks      support for Alaska Native and local                                                                  
                           hire  preference on  any  gas pipeline                                                               
2:00:54 PM  Jeff    Pruss, Spoke in support of inclusion of local                                                             
            Carpenters     hire provisions.                                                                                   
            Local    1243,                                                                                                      
 2:02:06 PM Jay             Expressed support for AGIA. He felt                                                               
             Quakenbush,    that it was appropriate for the state                                                               
             Fairbanks      to set "must have" provisions. Spoke in                                                             
             Building   and support of a  project labor agreement,                                                              
             Construction   which     would    encourage     local                                                              
             Trades,        opportunities. Testified in support of                                                              
             Fairbanks      an "all Alaskan" project.                                                                         
 2:05:27 PM  Jerry  Walker, He suggested consideration of the tools                                                           
             Self,          needed to compete in a global market,                                                               
             Fairbanks      and long term versus short term risks.                                                              
                            He    observed   that    inappropriate                                                              
                            government controls could hinder global                                                             
 2:08:35 PM Mike            Spoke in support of a project labor                                                               
             Littlefield,   agreement, which would encourage local                                                              
             Local     959, opportunities. A PLA would allow unions                                                             
             Fairbanks      to define working conditions.                                                                     
 2:11:04 PM  Lisa    Peger, Maintained that  producers are  asking                                                            
             The     Silent the state not to negotiate in the best                                                              
             Majority,      interest of the state. She spoke in                                                                 
             Fairbanks      support of a TransCanada pipeline.                                                                
 2:13:36 PM  Herb    Simon, Encourage acceptance of the Governor's                                                            
             Nilchina       proposal. He observed that no one can                                                               
                            predict the trickle down effects of the                                                             
 2:15:57 PM  Bill   Warren, Spoke in  support of  a  project labor                                                            
             Nikiski        agreement, which would encourage local                                                              
                            opportunities. He maintained that  the                                                              
                            producers want  to work  on their  own                                                              
                            timelines, which do not  coincide with                                                              
                            the  state's. Spoke  in support  of  a                                                              
                            TransCanada pipeline  and the  use  of                                                              
 2:18:37 PM Charles         Spoke in opposition to a project labor                                                            
             Wieger,        agreement. He felt that a PLA would be                                                              
             Association of a detriment to the majority of workers,                                                             
             Builders   and which do  not  belong to  a union.  He                                                              
             Contractors    maintained that PLA's on TAPS did not                                                               
                            benefit Alaskan workers. Workers would                                                              
                            pay 25 percent of their wages to unions                                                             
                            under a PLA.                                                                                      
 2:20:50 PM  Lynn  Johnson, Testified in favor of  a gas pipeline.                                                            
             President,     He asserted that Alaska will not be                                                                 
             Dowland  Bach, able to  build a pipeline  without the                                                              
             Anchorage      involvement of the producers. He                                                                    
                            suggested that  changes needed  to  be                                                              
                            made  to the  proposal and  emphasized                                                              
                            that AGIA may  be the last  chance for                                                              
                            the project to go forward.                                                                        
 2:23:04 PM  Jim    Palmer, Observed that  the commissioners would                                                            
             Eagle River    decide the winner of the application                                                                
                            process and  recommended that this  be                                                            
                           expanded.  He  stressed that  all  the                                                               
                           stakeholders are necessary to move the                                                               
                           project forward. He felt that AGIA may                                                               
                           go  too  far  in  encouraging all  the                                                               
2:26:03 PM Merrick         Spoke in support of the Governor's                                                                 
            Pierce,        proposal and in support of competition.                                                              
                           He addressed the evaluation and ranking                                                              
                           criteria. He suggested that (5) should                                                               
                           be amended to all factors found by the                                                               
                           commissioners to  improve  the health,                                                               
                           safety  and  welfare  of  Alaskans. He                                                               
                           noted   that  coal  fired  plants  add                                                               
                           contaminants into  the Fairbanks area,                                                               
                           which affect their children. Cancer is                                                               
                           also  an issue in  Fairbanks, which is                                                               
                           acerbated by coal fire plants. Delay in                                                              
                           the  pipeline means delays in upgrades                                                               
                           to the coal fire power plants needed to                                                              
                           help clean Fairbanks' air.                                                                         
#           ADJOURNMENT    ADJOURNMENT                                                                                      
                           The meeting was adjourned at 2:30 PM                                                               

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