The Senate Labor and Commerce Committee heard public testimony yesterday from Alaskans in regard to Senate Bill 23.
The legislation would allow the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority to begin the financial planning and bonding needed to jump start a liquid natural gas trucking project.
The Senate Labor and Commerce Committee heard testimony from Gene Therriault of the Alaska Energy Authority and Ted Leonard, Executive Director of the the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority.
Both are hopeful the committee will pass SB 23 forward.
So too, every person giving public testimony in Fairbanks via teleconference.
Lisa Herbert, Exec. Director of the Fairbanks Chamber said "The high cost of space heating and electricity is driving away business from our community and the Chamber implores the Legislature to take action this legislative session and urges you to pass Senate Bill 23 out of your committee."
Bob Schefchik of Interior Alaska Natural Gas Utility testified "The high cost of energy is killing residents and businesses in the Interior. It's not just the Fairbanks area, as you've heard, it's the highway system, it's the river system. You know, we believe the Governor's leadership with Senate Bill 23 provides AIDEA and AEA the tools to leverage state funding to solve this problem."
And Hank Bartos The Lowell Group said "The high cost of energy has forced local homeowners to start heating their homes with wood. Wood smoke is a problem in the Fairbanks area with the PM 2.5, the EPA, the DEC has already identified Fairbanks as a problematic area that needs rapid attention, we can solve this problem by bringing gas here that will be available in the 4th quarter of 2015."
The committee also heard testimony from business owners from Anchorage and the Mat–Su who also own businesses in Fairbanks.
Those owners say utility costs in the Interior are about double what they're businesses cost to operate in Southcentral.
Other than allowing for public testimony, the labor and commerce committee took no further action on SB 23.