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Support needed: Natural gas trucking plan needs backers

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Posted: Wednesday, March 13, 2013 12:00 am

Fairbanks Daily News-Miner Editorial

Fairbanks residents have an opportunity this week to encourage legislators to approve the plan to support the natural gas trucking plan as the first step in getting a new fuel supply for the community.

It is a vital step, and the plan proposed by the governor, with some enhancements, would go a long way toward establishing the necessary infrastructure to begin the conversion process.

Rep. Kurt Olson, the chairman of the House Labor and Commerce Committee, complained Monday that no one from Fairbanks offered public testimony in support of the bill.

This was clearly a communications mix-up with the committee and our legislators. There are no Fairbanks legislators on that particular committee.

“We’re not going to have $350 to $500 million leave this room without an adequate amount of public testimony. We’ve been led to believe there was some interest in Fairbanks for it. I don’t see anybody. I see one staffer, two staffers maybe in the room. But until we have adequate public testimony on both sides hopefully or at least on the side that wants it, I don’t see the money leaving the room,” Olson said.

The best thing to do now is to provide the public comment that Olson said has been missing.

The next two hearings are at 3:15 p.m. today and Friday. Members of the public can comment directly at the Legislative Information Office in Fairbanks or submit written testimony to the committee or to Olson.

Show up early if you would like to testify. There is strong support for the project in the community and we encourage our legislators to work with Olson so he will understand just how vital this measure is to the Interior.

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