05 March 2007

AGIA and all that

The AGIA roll-out on Friday was well-done overall, I thought, what with all those oil industry types there to lend their support to the idea. The terms and conditions were more or less explained and everything seemed to go well for the Palin administration.

But there's one nagging question I have not yet heard answered by Palin's people: what's the point? If we accept that a pipeline will cost in the range of 25-30 billion dollars (at least), isn't only the big energy companies that are going to be able to make this project work? Andrew Halcro's argument during the gubernatorial campaign to this effect still makes a lot of sense to me? Jim Whitaker and his fine people might want to build an all-Alaskan pipeline but will they actually be able to get together the cash? The energy companies, on the other hand, are still racking up near-record profits.

I can't help but escape the conclusion that AGIA is just for show, a document to show that the governor is serious about her campaign pledge to open up the process to all interested comers and make sure Alaskans' gas benefits Alaskans. That's fine but don't we know that the energy companies are going to end up with the contract anyway? And if so, why bother spending all this time on the legislation?

No comments: