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House Joint Resolution 13

Exporting Cook Inlet Gas

"Urging the attorney general, the producers of natural gas in the Cook Inlet region, and the Regulatory Commission of Alaska to work to secure long-term and affordable supplies of natural gas for the people and businesses of the state." HJR 13 is a resolution spotlighting the potential energy crisis looming over Southcentral Alaska. Natural gas reserves have been declining over the past couple of decades, raising the real possibility of acute shortages in the near future. With about two-thirds of all Alaskans relying on Cook Inlet natural gas for heating their homes or for generating electricity used in their residences and businesses, the effects of any natural gas shortage would have widespread repercussions. Already prices have nearly doubled over the past five years, creating real hardships for many railbelt businesses and consumers. More severe shortages might be a stimulus to even steeper price rises. More than a third of Cook Inlet natural gas is currently exported to Japan, an amount exceeding that used in Alaska for both residential heating and electricity generation. The federal export license is due to expire in 2009, and its extension is up for consideration, with the comment period now open. While drilling activity has increased over the past two years and may serve to avert the crisis, there is no guarantee that Southcentral Alaska will not face a major supply crisis within a few years. Even if the odds of running out are relatively low, the consequences for businesses and consumers are potentially severe. While there are valid concerns about exporting the gas that Alaskans may need for local heating and power, any solution must recognize the importance of bringing future gas supplies to Southcentral Alaska. Retaining the existing infrastructure of commercial gas usage may be a key to achieving this goal economically. HJR 13 requests that the natural gas producers in Cook Inlet work more closely with the utilities such as Enstar to protect affordable natural gas for local consumption. The resolutions call on the Attorney General to evaluate whether continued export of natural gas from Cook Inlet to Japan is in the best interests of Alaskan consumers. They also urge the Regulatory Commission of Alaska to expedite review of any contract that will affect affordable gas to Alaskans. Please join me in supporting HJR 13.

Paid For by Berta Gardner for State Senate, 1405 Matterhorn Way, Anchorage AK 99508

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