Foothills Pipe Lines Ltd. has kept its permits current and continued preliminary work on the Alaska Highway gas pipeline project since the 1970s when it was chosen over two competing routes by President Jimmy Carter, John Shively told the Alaska Support Industry Alliance April 6.
Former commissioner of the Alaska Department of Natural Resources, Shively’s firm Jade North LLC does consulting work for Foothills.
Shively said that the permits in place for the Alaska Highway route require federal agencies to put the project “at the head of the line” for regulatory approval, while preventing agencies from dictating major changes to the plan.
The Foothills route was designated by Congress under the Alaska Natural Gas Transportation Act and by Canada’s Parliament. It has a Canadian certificate of public convenience and necessity, he said.
The project has valid right of way approval across Yukon Territories including First Nations land, although some First Nations disagree, Shively said. Foothills also has valid right of way approval across federal land in Alaska, and across lands conveyed to the state subject to the existing right of way.
Even with the project’s head start, it will take one or two years to complete permitting for the line, he said.
To proceed, the project needs to be economically viable and have the support of North Slope gas producers, Shively said.
"Foothills has kept the project alive though others have walked away," Shively said.
He believes that the company’s foresight has been validated by current gas market developments.