In a comment, Alaska state Sen. Bill Wielechowski responds to questions about the differences between the confidentiality measures in AGIA, which he voted for, and the legislation passed last session that allows negotiations to advance an LNG line, which also include confidentiality agreements, which he didn’t vote for.
There are times when confidentiality provisions are necessary. In AGIA we had a confidentiality provision, but it was much more limited as the burden was on the organization seeking to keep something confidential to prove it was proprietary or a trade secret.
In SB 138, the legislature, wrongly in my opinion, allowed the Commissioner to “enter into confidentiality agreements to maintain the confidentiality of information related to contract negotiations and contract implementation associated with a North Slope natural gas project.” As a lawyer, you should know that “information related to contract negotiation and contract implementation” is way too broad, and potentially allows ANY discussions related to the gasline contract to be confidential and hidden from the Alaska public. This is unnecessarily withholding information from the public and bad public policy, in my opinion.
That said, some vital pieces of information have been kept confidential, like the results of the supposed failed 2010 open season, and what, exactly, the company spent $300 million of state dollars on while working under the AGIA license.