Luke Hopkins runs for Interior Alaska Natural Gas Utility Board Seat C

Published: Sep. 15, 2020 at 4:11 PM AKDT
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - Luke Hopkins is running for seat C on the Interior Alaska Natural Gas Utility Board. This seat is currently held by Jack Wilbur, who is not seeking reelection.

Hopkins said he is running because he wants to ensure that the Interior Gas Utility continues on a responsible development path.

“I’ve been involved with the gas utility for quite a while, ever since its inception, actually, when I was [borough] mayor, and have been involved with both attending to their issues and to the issues in the state concerning energy needs for Fairbanks.”

“Right now, I have an opportunity to run for a board seat, and thought that was a responsible thing to do,” he added.

According to Hopkins, “There’s lots of issues that the Interior Gas Utility is working to resolve, and one of the biggest things is our air quality issue. Of course, the converting to natural gas from oil burning is an improvement, and in a large area of our borough it will be very effective in improving the air quality.”

He added, “The board and the gas utility was formed and the board has the responsibility to get the largest amount of residents natural gas for their use, both in residential and commercial situations -- and so with that the expansion is continuing, and that’s probably what’s happening next as the most important issue is the expansion of services and also the expansion of LNG [Liquefied Natural Gas] product coming available to the Interior Gas Utility.”

He said, “I decided to run for the board because I have the time now. I’m not involved with other actions, I’m retired. And I have been following the Interior Gas Utility’s actions all along, ever since we started the inception of it.”

Hopkins explained that his being the only candidate running did not matter to him when he signed up. “I actually expected, possibly, to have someone else running, but I think I have the experience and the depth of working with not only the establishment of the Interior Gas Utility, but also being involved with the state agencies and the Regulatory Commission of Alaska and presenting the case of why our community needs this natural gas service, because of our air quality and the cost of our energy and the limited solutions that we have for both residential and commercial heating.”

“This gas utility has a lot of traction right now. With the expansion into North Pole, five-million gallon storage tank, and now this bond-package that may be already accomplished... so there’s lots more that can happen with the expansion of natural gas in our community, and I think that’s just what has to happen,” he said.

Hopkins is running unopposed in the municipal elections on October 6th.

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