Legislature(2005 - 2006)BELTZ 211

04/12/2005 03:30 PM STATE AFFAIRS

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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
Moved SCR 8 Out of Committee
Heard & Held
Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled
Moved CSSB 152(STA) Out of Committee
        SCR  8-COOK INLET GAS GATHERING SYSTEM COMPLAINT                                                                    
CHAIR   GENE  THERRIAULT   announced   SCR  8   to   be  up   for                                                               
MARY JACKSON,  Staff to  Senator Wagoner,  told members  that the                                                               
Senate and House Resources Committees  met in Kenai last February                                                               
and  listened  to  industry  make   8  different  points.  SCR  8                                                               
addresses  one  of those  points  by  encouraging the  Regulatory                                                               
Commission of Alaska  (RCA) to complete its  investigation of the                                                               
Cook Inlet  Gas Gathering System  (CIGGS). The RCA  has developed                                                               
an accelerated  review process  for the  CIGGS and  the complaint                                                               
before it. An RCA commissioner  attended the February meeting and                                                               
spoke about the  need to go forward with the  complaint. SCR 8 is                                                               
to  be  complementary  to the  RCA's  efforts.  Furthermore,  the                                                               
Senate Resources  Committee chair does  not intend to  take sides                                                               
on this issue, she said.                                                                                                        
3:56:24 PM                                                                                                                    
KATE  GIARD, Chair,  Regulatory Commission  of Alaska,  testified                                                               
via teleconference and told members  she appreciates knowing that                                                               
the  legislature cares  enough about  an issue  to bring  forth a                                                               
resolution. That enables the RCA to  keep its eyes on the "bottom                                                               
line" issues that are important to the state as a whole.                                                                        
She informed  members that she  could discuss the  guidelines the                                                               
RCA is using for the case.                                                                                                      
3:57:43 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR THERRIAULT  asked Ms. Giard if  anything in SCR 8  could be                                                               
used as justification for either party's argument.                                                                              
MS. GIARD replied,  "As long as I keep within  the yellow line, I                                                               
think you guys are free to  wander as you will." Both parties are                                                               
highly respected and have a  large economic impact on Cook Inlet;                                                               
so when  the parties clash the  issues can be quite  divisive and                                                               
technical  in  nature.  She  believes   SCR  8,  as  drafted,  is                                                               
respectful of the complexity of the issue.                                                                                      
CHAIR  THERRIAULT  asked if  anything  about  the issue  is  time                                                               
sensitive or  whether the legislature  weighing in  would benefit                                                               
one party over the other.                                                                                                       
MS. GIARD replied:                                                                                                              
     No,  because we'll  ignore  you if  we  feel that  what                                                                    
     you're doing  is going to  put this case in  a conflict                                                                    
     with due  process -  respectfully so.  But what  I hear                                                                    
     you saying  is that  you want  us to  expeditiously but                                                                    
     carefully  -   and  certainly  Ms.   Jackson's  opening                                                                    
     statements  reiterated  that  -  consider  the  matter.                                                                    
     Don't let  it sit. Too  much is  at stake. We  hear you                                                                    
     and we feel that ourselves.                                                                                                
SENATOR  THOMAS WAGONER  thanked  Ms. Giard  for  her candor  and                                                               
desire to bring the matter to a quick conclusion.                                                                               
SENATOR  KIM   ELTON  asked  whether  the   RCA's  definition  of                                                               
"expeditious" is the same as the sponsor's definition.                                                                          
MS. GIARD said she believes the  sponsor means: do a good job, do                                                               
it fast, don't let it sit, but  don't put it in conflict with due                                                               
process otherwise  the RCA  will end  up in  court and  the issue                                                               
will never get resolved.                                                                                                        
SENATOR  WAGONER  suggested  that  the RCA  has  adopted  a  very                                                               
aggressive schedule,  which is in  tune with what  the resolution                                                               
MS. GIARD  told members  the RCA adopted  that schedule  in early                                                               
March as the  result of conversations it had earlier  in the year                                                               
on the Kenai,  but the RCA has  a sense of urgency  on the matter                                                               
as well.                                                                                                                        
4:01:07 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  THERRIAULT  said  the legal  counsel  to  the  Legislative                                                               
Budget and  Audit Committee has  not expressed concern  that this                                                               
decision would  have any future  impact on the gas  pipeline from                                                               
the North Slope  and spur lines to Southcentral. He  asked if any                                                               
of the issues the  RCA is being asked to weigh  in on could apply                                                               
to those lines.                                                                                                                 
MS.  GIARD said  she doesn't  know what  ramifications the  final                                                               
order will have  on other gas lines on the  North Slope. She said                                                               
the RCA  will make  a thoughtful order  that addresses  in detail                                                               
the statutory and decision-making process the RCA went through.                                                                 
4:02:18 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR THERRIAULT  closed public  testimony and mentioned  the two                                                               
fiscal notes.                                                                                                                   
4:02:52 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR WAGONER motioned to report  SCR 8 and two attached fiscal                                                               
notes from committee with individual recommendations.                                                                           
CHAIR  THERRIAULT announced  that without  objection, the  motion                                                               

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