Fairbanks group pitches plan for trucking natural gas

Fairbanks weighs plan involving trucking.

Associated PressAugust 23, 2012 

FAIRBANKS -- A group of Fairbanks community leaders is taking up the issue of coming up with a distribution plan for trucking natural gas after failing to get state funding for a plan.

The Fairbanks North Star Borough plan was drafted by Mayor Luke Hopkins, with the help of former Alaska Attorney General John Burns and Assemblywoman Nadine Winters, according to Thursday's Fairbanks Daily News-Miner.

Under the plan, a borough utility would be charged with either facilitating or providing natural gas distribution for a trucking project. The idea comes from the findings of a state-funded natural gas distribution analysis. It found that a municipal utility would be one of the best entities to ensure gas is delivered quickly while controlling expenses.

"The report says there's no reason not to get going," Hopkins said. "We continue to be quite concerned with the cost of energy, and it's an opportune time to put together a municipal gas utility idea."

Hopkins said the municipal utility also would help spell out a clear picture of Fairbanks' natural gas plans to lawmakers in a bid to prove Fairbanks deserves funding.

The timing of the plan coincides with the drafting of Gov. Sean Parnell's annual capital budget, which local leaders hope will contain funding or financing for a processing plant on the North Slope, a piece of infrastructure critical to any trucking plan.

Parnell told the Greater Fairbanks Chamber of Commerce this month that the state was willing to get behind a natural gas trucking project. Parnell said that he first would need to see agreement and movement among local leaders and businesses regarding a plan.

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