Bill would remove member from gas-line panel for conflict of interest

JUNEAU -- A year after legislators tried to get all the different in-state gas pipeline agencies operating together, a new bill would remove Harold Heinze of the Alaska Natural Gas Development Authority from the group.

Dan Fauske, head of the Alaska Gasline Development Corp., said Monday that Heinze could no longer serve on the five-member gas line development team because Heinze's agency submitted a bid to move gas through the proposed large-diameter gas lines of TransCanada Corp. and Conoco Phillips and BP. As a shipper, privy to the trade secrets of the two large-scale projects, Heinze had a conflict of interest serving on another gas line project, Fauske said.

Heinze's organization was created by a voter initiative in 2002 to attempt to move North Slope gas to Alaska communities. In 2010, the Legislature named Fauske, the head of the Alaska Housing Finance Corp., as the head of a team to explore a so-called "bullet line" to run directly from the North Slope to Southcentral Alaska. The project is a possible alternative if the large-scale projects turn out to be uneconomical.

Fauske is studying the economics of a bullet line and is supposed to present a report to the Legislature July 1. House Bill 189, sponsored by House Speaker Mike Chenault, R-Nikiski, modifies the 2010 legislation, including reducing Fauske's team to four by removing Heinze. The bill passed the House Resources Committee Monday.

Chenault said removing Heinze was regrettable, but the Legislature had no choice because of the bid. It would be improper to have a shipper in effect being part of a pipeline company, he said.

Anchorage Daily News /