The Alaska Legislature accomplished something. Something that’s actually positive. The state senate and the state house have both adopted into law, pretty much unchanged, Governor Walker’s proposal to buy out TransCanada and fund some of the initial work to get the gas line going.
Sure, it took 12 days to accomplish, an unreasonably long time for a fairly straightforward set of proposals. Yes, the Legislature somewhat arbitrarily shaved about $15 million off of the deal, under-funding the state’s obligations to the consortium. But for this Legislature, and given its wretched record earlier this year, it’s something to spout off about.
The gas line may or may not happen. That will be driven as much by natural gas supply and demand as anything else. On the one hand, you have relatively low prices for natural gas; on the other, natural gas is the best bridge available to an eventual renewable energy system. For the natural gas industry, these are new waters.
But it is pretty clear that without the bill adopted by the Legislature, there would never be a natural gas pipeline.
Wouldn’t it be nice if this new-found reasonableness carried over to the other crises facing the State of Alaska. Like adoption of an income tax, leveraging the Permanent Fund, dealing with Alaska’s horrific suicide rate, and the host of other problems facing the 49th state?