Mayor warns AG over Anchorage's below-market gas rates

By Chris Rizo | Jul 6, 2008

Attorney General Talis Colberg

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (Legal Newsline)-State regulators have allowed Cook Inlet natural gas to provide discount rates to Anchorage ratepayers while ignoring other parts of the state, a mayor wrote to Alaska Attorney General Talis Colberg.

Fairbanks North Star Borough Mayor Jim Whitaker warned that Anchorage's perceived regulatory favoritism could lead to a court battle between the state and the borough.

He said the city is unfairly receiving natural gas in Anchorage below market rates because of actions by state regulators, including interfering in natural gas tariff, he wrote in a letter to the appointed AG on Thursday.

"Fairbanks residents are distinctly disadvantaged by the state's approach to Cook Inlet gas," Whitaker wrote.

Copies of the letter were distributed to Gov. Sarah Palin, Department of Natural Resources Commissioner Tom Irwin, Department of Revenue Commissioner Patrick Galvin and to state lawmakers.

The Republican governor has called for a 30-day special legislative session to begin Wednesday. Among topics to be discussed is energy.

Whitaker and House Speaker John Harris, R-Valdez, recently announced a plan that would boost a $250 million renewable energy fund lawmakers have promised.

Under their proposal, projects involving synthetic fuels made from coal, biomass and natural gas would become eligible for special state funding.

From Legal Newsline: Reach reporter Chris Rizo by e-mail at chrisrizo@legalnewsline.com.

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