Environment Health Lifestyle Local Opinion

IGU: A Point of View

Written by Guest Contributor


By Sam Tuck

Well I’ve been following the IGU process closely since its inception, and there are several things I’d like to address. From my observations the IGU board has done an exceptional job of due

diligence on this project. I attended two of their most recent meetings this past week and found the information very concise. That being said this is a very complex issue

with many moving parts that have tremendous unknowns. There are many concerns on my part. One, this project has morphed into an entirely different direction than originally envisioned. Just

look back only two years to see where it started. I am truly troubled that there may be an effort to    make this work at all cost when in reality there are huge pitfalls looming.

Conversion rates are just one of the pieces of the puzzle that are questionable. We also have this financing package that causes me heartburn. The opportunity for extremely low interest rate

(.25%) monies and the terms of deferred payments for up to 20 yrs makes this project almost too attractive! References have been made regarding the possibility of walking away from the project

after 20 yrs if conversions are too low. It is simply not that easy to just walk away and anyone that says that is totally misleading the facts! Then we have this PENTEX / FNG arrangement along with

build out of infrastructure that has taken place over the last two years in North Pole and within the city of Fairbanks. The partial build out in North Pole stands at about 25 million dollars. I still

don’t have a handle on cost for the Fairbanks build out. This was all done with loans that are coming due for payment at the end of the year. If IGU can close the deal in Dec of this year

those payments would be further deferred for 15- 20 yrs. If the IGU does not move forward I have no idea how it will be paid! I have a great fear that this will become a mandated program just

because of the huge risk involved. The word “deferred” should be a red fag to all. At some point the principal alone, which is staggering, must be paid back! Aren’t we just saddling our children with

this burden? Well actually the statement that I just made is troubling to me.  Children have no real opportunity here, but that is a discussion for another day. Other troubling aspects include Mayor

Kassel’s insistence on his selection of a member to the board during what was referred to as a critical time for decisions. Build out of the original envisioned service area that will take at best decades

to complete. No real relief of air quality issues in North Pole because of the small footprint (25% at best), again decades into the future because of limited area and what I see as unrealistic conversion

rates. This and other factors that I don’t have space to address here are extremely concerning! Again I take my hat of to the IGU board but my question is a simple one. Does this make economical

“business” sense? I feel like we are being moved to a predetermined decision by forces that have an eye on that SHINEY OBJECT. With the developments that have taken place in the oil industry over

the past few years changed those dynamics forever, we may need to ask ourselves, did we miss our opportunity for gas years ago?

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