FAIRBANKS, AK - The Fairbanks North Star Borough’s recent “Gas Distribution System Analysis” confirms what Mayor Luke Hopkins has said all along: A gas distribution system can and should happen in the borough.
The borough has given the proposal to the North Pole City Council at their August 20 work session. A work session is also scheduled with the City of Fairbanks on September 4. The ordinance will be formally introduced to the borough assembly on September 13.
The ordinance, sponsored by Mayor Hopkins, Nadine Winters and Diane Hutchison, will establish the Interior Alaska Natural Gas Utility (iANGU). Hopkins says this public utility would guarantee that the needs of families and businesses in the borough are represented with any natural gas project that moves forward. iANGU would be charged with delivering affordable natural gas to as many homes and businesses as possible and as quickly as possible.
“We must get affordable energy to our town. This local public natural gas utility will create the strongest tool we have to fight for our interests, assuring that we have a seat at the table as discussions progress on how we bring gas to Fairbanks,” said Mayor Luke Hopkins.
iANGU will deliver the affordable heating energy that our local economy desperately needs, bringing new jobs, new businesses and new opportunities while ensuring that our residents can afford to continue to live in our community," stated Mayor Hopkins. "Our energy costs are becoming a Borough-wide crisis. I'm proud to work alongside my fellow mayors, assembly members and City Council members to build this tool and do what is necessary to protect our families and businesses."
The City of North Pole and the City of Fairbanks have legal authority to own a municipal natural gas utility, but neither has exercised this power. The City of Fairbanks sold off their water and communications entities, but retained their utility powers. The North Pole and Fairbanks City Councils must each vote in favor of passing this gas utility authority to the Fairbanks North Star Borough to create an area wide municipal natural gas utility. The Borough Assembly must ratify the ordinance and accept this authority.