Matanuska-Susitna Borough

MSB Asks Federal Energy Comm. for Fairness

Mat-Su | Patty Sullivan | Friday, September 14, 2018

Port MacKenzie might as well have been eliminated from the AK LNG project by a giant mermaid statue in Cook Inlet—that’s how outlandish and meaningless the real assertions were by the State gasline corporation to delete Port MacKenzie, according to the Matanuska-Susitna Borough in a filing today that seeks a fair analysis. 

Today, the Borough filed a 192-page response with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to data filed by AGDC, the Alaska Gasline Development Corporation, about Port MacKenzie. 

The AGDC’s application under review by FERC is for an 800-mile, $43 billion gas pipeline project to Nikiski. 

“If AGDC was confident with the Nikiski site why wouldn’t they perform an honest analysis of Port MacKenzie?” asks Borough Manager John Moosey after today’s filing with FERC. 

If the Alaska LNG project were to end at Port MacKenzie, the pipeline would be some 50 miles shorter and would not risk crossing the fisheries rich waters of Cook Inlet. It could cost some $1.4 billion less. And a future $20 billion liquefaction facility would be sheltered at the only deep draft port in Alaska safe from tsunamis. 

None of those positive attributes about Port MacKenzie reached the federal commission that reviews and approves pipelines in the nation. Instead, early on, AGDC, never considered Port MacKenzie, but rather a phantom site to the north despite information from the Borough regarding the error. AGDC named a mudflat “Point MacKenzie” and quickly found it unsuitable.

“AGDC knows this information and yet persists in turning a blind eye to the truth,” the filing states.

Today, the Mat-Su Borough included in the filing its own preliminary analysis of an optimum site, after six years of communications with AGDC that fell on deaf ears.

“MSB respectfully submits that AGDC’s data response dated July 13, 2018 contains inaccurate and misleading information which makes it unfit for Commission staff to rely upon in drafting a satisfactory analysis of reasonable alternatives for the Project.” 

In February, FERC had directed AGDC to do a more thorough analysis of Port MacKenzie, but the AGDC effort proved to be phony.

“Despite FERC’s clear directives, AGDC still has not accurately analyzed the proposals put forth by MSB and did not participate in any meaningful consultation with MSB in responding to FERC’s data request,” the Borough filing states. 

“There was virtually no “consultation” between AGDC and MSB, but rather four mostly pro-forma meetings at which AGDC was able to go through the motions and then inform FERC that they “met” with MSB. AGDC filed its response to FERC’s data request on July 13 without incorporating any of the information provided by MSB,” the filing states.

AGDC does not go through the motions well.

The filing continues “AGDC’s response contains numerous factual errors and willfully misleading statements which reflect an inaccurate analysis of the options available at Port MacKenzie for AGDC’s proposed liquefaction facility.”

Throughout its analysis of Port MacKenzie, AGDC would base no-build decisions for Port MacKenzie on the specter of a hypothetical project.

In Exhibit B, the filing states: “While AGDC admits there are no plans for the Knik Arm bridge, it for some reason finds it necessary to point out that an analysis would be needed if the Knik Arm bridge project moves forward. A simple but absurd analogy demonstrates the meaninglessness of AGDC’s assertion: There are no current plans for an orbital launch and recovery complex in Anchorage, and no current plans to construct a giant mermaid statue in the middle of Cook Inlet. However, if a plan for either of these moved forward, impacts to LNG carrier traffic to Port MacKenzie would need to be considered. These examples are outlandish, but AGDC raising the specter of some potential unknown is likewise outlandish. Elimination of Port MacKenzie as an alternative cannot be based on speculative concerns regarding hypothetical future projects that AGDC admits are not currently planned.” 

“In addition to ignoring all but the poorest of sites at Port MacKenzie, AGDC’s response presents potential future development, as envisioned by the Port MacKenzie Master Plan, as a restriction to AGDC’s ability to site the liquefaction facility at Port MacKenzie,” the filing states. 

In its filing the Mat-Su Borough asks FERC for a fair analysis of Port MacKenzie. “FERC must not proceed with its review of AGDC’s application until AGDC has presented a complete and accurate analysis of Port MacKenzie as an alternative site of the Alaska LNG liquefaction facility.”

The full Mat-Su Borough response is posted here. 

For more information contact Attorney Nicholas Spiropoulos at 861-8677, Manager John Moosey at 861-8689, or Public Affairs Director Patty Sullivan at 355-0103.