JUNEAU, Alaska, May 9 (UPI) -- Alaska Gov. Sean Parnell signed a bill that aims to facilitate the construction of a natural gas pipeline and put that state in co-ownership of the project.
Parnell signed Senate Bill 138, which moves plans for a large-diameter natural gas pipeline forward. Under the legislation, the state would become an owner in the Alaska Liquefied Natural Gas Project and put local Alaskans to work.
"Alaskans' dream of a natural gas pipeline is now closer to becoming reality," he said in a statement Thursday. "For the first time, we have alignment among the necessary parties, authorization from the Legislature, and the beginning of engineering and design work on a project that will create thousands of Alaska jobs, and fuel Alaska homes and businesses for decades to come."
Parnell's signature moves the project to the preliminary engineering and design phase. Construction of the project could begin in 2019. The pipeline project is lead by BP, Exxon Mobil, ConocoPhillips and pipeline company TransCanada Corp.
The bill doesn't equate to a construction permit. The state under the terms of the bill would get a 25 percent stake in the project.