By Patty Sullivan
The Alaska Gasline Development Corporation was ordered by a federal commission yesterday to evaluate Port MacKenzie as the terminus for a proposed liquefied natural gas facility.
In a Feb. 15 letter, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission ordered AGDC to answer 14 questions on Port MacKenzie and to provide an environmental and engineering analysis of “the site identified by the Matanuska-Susitna Borough on January 9, 2018 at Port MacKenzie, as well as the corresponding pipeline route to the site.”
Matanuska-Susitna Borough Mayor Vern Halter said it is unfortunate that it took a FERC order, but the Borough looks forward to working with AGDC. “The Mat-Su Borough fully supports this worthy effort and simply requests that our deep draft port be considered, as promised,” Mayor Halter said.
Until now, AGDC had identified a site with shallow water that does not have any characteristics suitable for marine operation, while failing to evaluate the Borough’s industrial port just 3 miles to the south. AGDC also arbitrarily named the wrong site “Point MacKenzie.”
On Jan. 9, the Borough filed with FERC laying out how AGDC got the site wrong.
“This is in spite of the fact that AGDC, on numerous occasions over several years and multiple site visits, insisted that Port MacKenzie would be studied as an alternative for the liquefaction facility,” the Borough’s Jan. 9 filing states.
AGDC is an independent, public corporation of the State. The Corporation is proposing to build a $43 billion pipeline project from the North Slope to tidewater in order to export liquefied natural gas.
PORT MAC SHORTER, CHEAPER, LESS RISK
Federal permit approvals depend on identifying the least environmentally damaging practicable alternative for the project.
If siting an LNG facility at Port MacKenzie is evaluated, it could mean the proposed gas pipeline project is shortened by 50 miles, would avoid the environmental risk of crossing Cook Inlet for 29 miles, and may cost less, up to $3 billion less.
STRONG FERC LANGUAGE
Posted here is the 3-page letter from FERC to AGDC making the requests and a link to 162 other pages with another 289 questions that AGDC must answer on the project overall, marked by strong FERC language. “This enclosure included several requests for information that have been made multiple times during the pre-filing review phase, as well as in the current application review, for which an adequate response has not yet been received.” And “Incomplete information or ill-defined commitments by AGDC may compromise our ability to adequately assess and disclose the full impact of the Project,” the FERC letter states.
Also posted with this release online is the Borough’s earlier filing with FERC & exhibits, and a map showing the wrong site and the Port site.
Enter the docket number CP17-178. The link to the FERC library Scroll to the bottom for the most recent document, Feb. 15. Look on pages 6-7 for question 20. Or read the attached 2 pages of questions on this site.
PORT MACKENZIE ACCOMMODATES WORLD’S LARGEST SHIPS
Port MacKenzie (14 square miles) is the largest industrial port in Alaska with the least density of neighbors. Its 60 feet of water at low tide accommodates the largest vessels in the world. In 2010, the vessel with the deepest draft ever in Cook Inlet berthed at Port MacKenzie. The JP Azure’s hull protruded 45 feet down with 15+ feet of water to spare.