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ASAP Scoping Meeting Held in Talkeetna

by Phillip Manning ~ August 25th, 2014

On Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers held a public meeting for the Alaska Stand-Alone Pipeline.  There have been significant changes in the plans for the pipeline since 2012, and, since the start of the Alaska LNG Project, it’s being used as a potential back-up plan.  K-T-N-A’s Phillip Manning was at the meeting, and has this report:

As with many projects, it’s easy to get lost in the alphabet soup of gas lines.  ASAP, AK LNG, AGDC, APP, and that doesn’t even cover the long list of agencies involved or acronyms for technical terms.  So, which gas line was Thursday’s meeting for?  ASAP is a project that has been studied for the last seven years or so.  The idea is for the state to build a gas pipeline for the primary purpose of supplying gas to Alaskans for energy and heat.  It differs from the much more expensive Alaska LNG Project in two major ways.  The LNG project is a partnership between Exxon-Mobil, BP, Conoco-Phillips, the state, and TransCanada.  ASAP would be built entirely by the State of Alaska.  

Dave Trudgen of Environmental Resources Management is working on ASAP’s environmental impact statement, and explains one other major difference between the projects.

“ASAP is going to be utility-grade lean gas.  What does that mean?  It means it’s much simpler to take the gas off and use it right away for homes and businesses.  There’s not a lot that needs to be done it to make it ready for use.  The LNG project is for liquid natural gas…That gas will end up in Nikiski to an LNG plant where it’s liquefied and then exported.”

That difference in scope also means a big difference in price tag.  The current cost estimate for ASAP is somewhere around $8 billion, and the Alaska LNG Project has been projected to cost as much as $65 billion.

The plans for both pipelines would use somewhat similar routes.  They plan to follow the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System from the North Slope to Livengood, then continue south, passing west of Fairbanks and continuing more-or-less along the Parks Highway corridor.

Thursday’s meeting was part of a public comment process for ASAP’s supplementary environmental impact statement.  An EIS for the project already exists, but Dave Trudgen says a new one is required due to significant changes in the project plan, including route changes and switching from a twenty-four inch pipe to a thirty-six inch pipe.

After the presentation on Thursday, the floor was opened to comments.  Only a handful of Upper Valley residents attended.  One of them was Randy Crosby of Trapper Creek.  He believes the meeting should have been held in a place where more of the Upper Valley could easily attend.

“The pipeline’s going through Trapper Creek, not Talkeetna.  I’m glad the people in Talkeetna have an opportunity to hear all of this, too, but it’s certainly more difficult to travel outside of our community.”

Randy Crosby also pointed out that the Alaska LNG Project was holding a meeting in Trapper Creek on the same day, leading to some confusion.

“There’s another gas pipeline discussion going on in Trapper Creek, and this is very confusing for our community.  There are a lot of upset people and a lot of confusion.  You need to come to a central location along the proposed route.”

The comment period for the supplemental environmental impact statement for the ASAP project is open through October 14th.  A link to comment information, maps, and other material is available at the ASAP EIS website.

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