Debate over state aid in gas line may get pushed aside

March 14, 2011 

JUNEAU -- A proposal to ditch a state-sanctioned effort to build a natural gas pipeline in Alaska absent proof it's economic could fall to the wayside this session as debates over spending and whether to cut oil production taxes take center stage.

Despite the sense of urgency that bill sponsors displayed when the proposal was made last month, the measure has yet to come up for a hearing. Less than five weeks remain in the legislative session.

Rep. Craig Johnson, a member of the House's Republican majority, says the issue is one that he and other lawmakers feel very strongly about. But he says it's a matter of setting priorities -- and right now, he says, the priority is on pushing legislation that would cut oil production taxes.

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