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Assembly tables resolution to back Fairbanks Natural Gas project

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Posted: Friday, October 26, 2012 12:18 am | Updated: 11:52 am, Mon Jan 21, 2013.

FAIRBANKS — The Fairbanks North Star Borough Assembly tabled a resolution that would have asked the state to specifically help Fairbanks Natural Gas, over other projects, develop its natural gas trucking project.

The resolution’s supporters argued that FNG is the closest to developing its project, but others argued the resolution would continue “political schizophrenia” that has delayed projects so far.

Assemblyman Matt Want brought the resolution forward, arguing it would give a focused plan for the state and governor to pay attention to.

“The governor has asked for a unified voice, and my thought is the unified voice is that we want gas here and I think we’re just covering all bases.”

Gov. Sean Parnell visited with Fairbanks stakeholders, including Fairbanks Natural Gas, earlier this week. During his visits, he said he was collecting information and trying to determine which project can deliver gas on the fastest timeline and at the lowest price.

Assemblyman John Davies, as did others, argued the resolution was too early and should wait for the governor’s findings to strongly endorse one project.

“This would further the political schizophrenia where we have multiple options that are being presented and not speaking with a unified voice,” he said. “This would just add to that cacophony.”

He went on to say the borough already has a vehicle to speak on issues relating to natural gas, the recently created municipal natural gas utility.

The assembly voted 6-3 to table the resolution. Want was joined by Assemblyman Michael Dukes and Natalie Howard in voting no.

The assembly later approved its legislative funding priorities, which included an generic request for funding for a North Slope natural gas processing facility.

Meanwhile, the municipal gas utility is already starting to take shape as its seven-member board begins to take shape.

Borough Assembly Presiding Officer Diane Hutchison appointed veteran utility expert Steve Haagenson, the former CEO of GVEA and the former state energy director, as her pick on Thursday night.

The city of Fairbanks has announced two nominees, engineer Frank Abegg and Mike Meeks, longtime director of public works at Fort Wainwright.

Borough Mayor Luke Hopkins has four appointments that have yet to be announced and one by North Pole Mayor Bryce Ward.

Contact staff writer Matt Buxton at 459-7544 or follow him on Twitter: @FDNM

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