By KAYLEE OSOWSKI
Gov. Sean Parnell named the members of the Municipal Advisory Gas Project Review Board last week.
Kenai Peninsula Borough Mayor Mike Navarre will serve on the board, which aims to discuss potential impacts of the proposed Alaska Pipeline Project to Alaska boroughs and cities.
With Nikiski as the top choice for the LNG plant and terminal, Navarre said possible changes in tax structuring would impact the borough.
“Obviously a natural gas pipeline and export facility would be a huge benefit in terms of jobs and economic opportunities so that’s something I think is in Alaska’s best interest,” Navarre said. “But how it’s structured and what the impacts are to the local government and the taxpayers in the local areas, it is important.”
Navarre said he’s open to discussing different tax structure options like a payment in lieu of taxes, but if it’s not structured properly the borough could see a negative impact.
“How that’s structured and how the payment — who it goes to and how it’s allocated amongst the impacted areas — is important,” he said. “Obviously the Kenai Peninsula Borough will have a good portion of the impact if the facility is sited here and so we want to be able to pay for the impacts caused by the facility being located here.”
He said any changes to tax structure should only be applied to new infrastructure. If a change is applied to existing infrastructure, it could have huge impacts to municipalities located along the trans-Alaska pipeline system.
Navarre said another concern is that the board will only be privy to bits and pieces of information about negotiations and discussions among the Heads of Agreement for the project, which includes the state of Alaska, TransCanada, Exxon Mobil, ConocoPhillips and BP.
“I’m looking forward to having the discussions and learning more about what the plan is and then having some input into how that structure is going to work going forward,” Navarre said.
Department of Revenue Commissioner Angela Rodell will chair the board.
Other board members include:
• North Slope Borough Mayor Charlotte Brower;
• Fairbanks North Star Borough Mayor Luke Hopkins;
• Denali Borough Mayor Clay Walker;
• Matanuska Susitna Borough Mayor Larry DeVilbiss;
• Anchorage Mayor Dan Sullivan;
• Northwest Arctic Borough Mayor Reggie Joule;
• Southeast Conference Energy Coordinator Rober Venables; and
• City and Borough of Juneau Finance Director Robert Bartholomew.
Kaylee Osowski is a reporter for the Peninsula Clarion.