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Good work in Senate

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Posted: Sunday, March 24, 2013 12:00 am

March 20, 2013

To the editor:

I would like to take a moment and thank the Interior Senate delegation for the collective work and effort that went into the recent passage by the Senate of SB23, a bill designed to bring North Slope natural gas to the Interior, by a 20-0 vote.

Solving the energy crisis facing the Interior is fundamental to the success and economic future of the state. Passing the legislation that provides the tools to begin trucking natural gas from the North Slope is a big first step in that solution. The action by the Senate makes delivery of natural gas to the Interior that much closer.

For those of us with long memories of Interior delegations standing together in the past — even back as far as Sens. Bennett and Fahrenkamp — seeing the Interior team find ways to common ground solutions irrespective of differences (whether they be party affiliations, past rural/urban issues or other issues) is heartening.

I participated in and watched a number of the hearings and discussions before the Legislature on SB23. The thoroughness of the considerations, the thoughtful questions posed by our senators, and the ultimate support of the committee substitute by the five members of the Senate representing the Interior was impressive. It was not an accident that a complex bill, with significant fiscal impacts, perceived by some as benefiting only a narrow portion of the state, received unanimous support.

Please join me in offering appreciation to our Interior Senate delegation: Sen. Click Bishop, Sen. Donald Olson, Sen. Lyman Hoffman, Sen. John Coghill and Sen. Pete Kelly. It was the result of both the public and the behind-the-scenes support that this group provided as a team that generated such a positive end result.

The issues of resolving the energy problems we face are not behind us. Yet I do want to take a minute to celebrate the noteworthy accomplishment of the Interior Senate delegation. I look forward to similar cohesion and results in the House.

Bob Shefchik

Fairbanks

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