City officials call on Valdez citizens in its fight for LNG line
The war of words between city officials in Valdez and Alaska House leaders in Juneau over natural gas development has moved to Facebook.
The latest disagreement between the two erupted last Thursday when Republican leaders in the Alaska House posted negative statements on its Facebook page regarding the city’s media campaign against HB4.
The AK House Majority said this in its post “An advertising push is being made by the City of Valdez against the Alaska Stand Alone Pipeline project and Rep. Mike Hawker and Speaker Mike Chenault's House Bill 4. Here's the ASAP Project page. Click over and get informed on the only real project moving forward to bring Alaska's gas to Alaskans.”
City officials called the ASAP project page and its information “short sighted and pessimistic” in a prepared statement issued by Taylor Bickford, of Strategies 360.
“The City of Valdez is disappointed with the House Majority’s misleading statement. The fact is, the Governor, and major producers along with TransCanada, have already had a successful open season that justifies moving forward with a large-volume gas line to tidewater capable of selling our gas to hungry markets abroad,” Bickford’s statement, which was attributed to Valdez mayor Dave Cobb, said. “Governor Parnell’s Alaska Pipeline Project has completed preliminary engineering work, and received market interest greater than twice the capacity of the project. Hundreds of millions of dollars and over a million man hours have been spent on that effort. The Alaska Stand Alone Pipeline concept, on the other hand, has yet to spend the money necessary to go through an open season, will raise the cost of energy in Southcentral according to their own estimates, and is not capable of generating new revenue to offset declining oil production.”
Meanwhile, city officials in Valdez have received pushback from Valdez residents, many questioning the wisdom of spending nearly a million dollars from city to coffers to finance the campaign against HB4.
A city-wide meeting for Valdez citizens is slated for 7 p.m. this Thursday, March 28, at the Civic Center. The meeting, billed as “2013 Gasline Crisis,” says city officials wish to present information that need the immediate attention of Valdez residents.
The Valdez City Council has voted to spend up to $900,000 to try to defeat HB4.
City manager John Hozey told the Associated Press that a large-scale line capable of feeding overseas exports makes more sense for Alaska.
Valdez has hoped to be the terminus for a major line, when and if one gets built, but Hozey said the PR campaign - including ads and a website - is geared at supporting what Valdez believes to be the better project. The city is using money it has won in challenges over taxation of the trans-Alaska oil pipeline to fund the effort, he said.
``We will only have one opportunity to build the gas line that will bring low-cost energy to all Alaskans ... and bring revenue to the state to fund all the things that are important to all of us,'' like education, transportation and public safety, he said. ``If we blow our chance on this (smaller) line, then we've lost our future.''