Below is an excerpt from my weekly column in the Anchorage Daily News:
It’ll be the biggest, most expensive, and most important project in the state’s history. The large diameter natural gas pipeline, as being discussed, will outlive us all and our children and our children’s children. It’ll outlive Rep. Les Gara’s outraged moralism, and Rep. Lora Reinbold’s fears of gays getting married. It’ll outlive Mike Chenault’s tenure as speaker of the House and it will outlive Rep. Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins. The gas will still be flowing down the pipe when archeologists unearth Sen. Lesil McGuire’s shoe closet keeping time with Sen. Click Bishop’s bolo collection. It might even still be flowing when Rep. Don Young decides to retire.
A big, complicated project comes with a complicated contract that our legislators are trying to come to grips with. So much to learn and understand in 90 days. The tax structure, for instance, is clear as drilling mud. Then there are questions about what in the world TransCanada’s role will be in the process, other than to serve as a funding source. Once, the company was going to build the line. Now, it appears that in essence, it’s a bank, to which the state will guarantee a 12 percent rate of return on equity, a rate of return that even the Permanent Fund doesn’t get and a rate of return that almost any Alaskan would salivate over.
Whatever. It’s an election year. Gov. Sean Parnell can’t have independent candidate Bill Walker be the gas line guy. And no Republican legislator wants to be antidevelopment.
Continue reading here.