The AK LNG project got a slight boost from federal regulators this week. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, or FERC, will release its draft environmental impact statement a month ahead of schedule, in February next year.
The draft EIS is a significant milestone toward permitting the roughly $45 billion dollar project that, if approved, will demand a lot of investment in the Nikiski area. A big part of that will be the federal payment in lieu of taxes or PILT money. Borough mayor Charlie Pierce says his chief of staff, John Quick and Nikiski fire chief James Baisden are in Washington D.C. now, having conversations about how that payment might be made.
“We wanted to make certain we have a good understanding of how the rules are written and what our performance requirements are. And Mr. Baisden is down there as well, advocating for some of the capitol costs related to emergency services.”
The Nikiski Fire Service Area would likely get a bump in funding, and potentially Central Emergency Services, too. The Borough is beginning to dig into all of that by getting together its priorities for whatever PILT money does eventually become available.
“We’re going to bring someone on on a temporary basis to help gather those priorities, establish those priorities on a needs basis and then we’ll have a better answer as it relates to how the PILT money would help out with some of those concerns. It’s early...We are trying to be in front of the curve instead of behind the curve," Pierce said.
The borough has also had a working group going this year to identify some of those priorities. The AK LNG Project Advisory Committee meets next on September 25th at the Nikiski Rec Center.