Alaska Highway gas pipeline not dead, Yukon minister says
Sniping has resumed between the Yukon and Northwest Territories governments over the future of the Alaska Highway gas pipeline project. Yukon Energy, Mines and Resources Minister Scott Kent, in a statement today, said those who believe the highway scheme is dead are engaged in “wishful thinking” as they promote “their own agendas at the expense of northern development.”
He was apparently responding to comments July 3 by Northwest Territories Premier Stephen Kakfwi who told a conference call that debate over U.S. Senate attempts to subsidize the US$20 billion highway route appear all but dead.
“The main producers are categorically against it. The Canadian government is categorically against it. The U.S. administration is against it,” he said. “The debate seems to be over.”
Kakfwi was referring to remarks in late June by U.S. Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham, who told a congressional committee the Bush administration is “strongly opposed” to pipeline subsidies.
But Kent insisted there is “strong bipartisan support for the Alaska Highway project in the U.S. and it id also widely supported in Canada by those who understand the enormous economic benefits of northern gas development.”
He suggested the Mackenzie Valley project faces far greater domestic obstacles than the Alaska venture because of a widening gap between explorers and producers, supporters and opponents of the Mackenzie Valley Aboriginal Pipeline Corp. and a confusing tangle of regulatory processes faced by the Mackenzie Valley pipeline.
However, Kent reiterated the Yukon government's consistent view that the North American market will eventually need gas from the Yukon, Alaska, NWT and other basins because of riding demand and declining supplies.
He also called on the Canadian government to stop threatening to delay an Alaska Highway pipeline if the U.S. approves subsidies, arguing that manipulating the law and regulatory processes for political purposes was “unbecoming.”
Feds, state invite public to comment on TAPS right-of-way renewal documents
The U.S. Bureau of Land Management and the Alaska Department of Natural Resources of the federal/state Joint Pipeline Office issued a statement today inviting the public to review and comment on documents prepared by BLM and DNR related to the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System right-of-way renewal.
Both BLM’s draft Environmental Impact Statement and DNR’s Commissioner’s Statement of Reasons and Proposed Written Determination are now available. The public will have 45 days or until 5 p.m., August 20, to review and comment on both.
The draft EIS – a four volume, 1,700 page document – addresses the physical, environmental, economic and social impacts of renewing TAPS. The document is available in electronic and print formats at various locations. For an electronic copy, visit the TAPS Renewal EIS website at:http://tapseis.anl.gov. A compact disc can be ordered via the web at tapseis.anl.gov.
The proposed determination is available online at http://www.tapsrenewal.jpo.doi.gov.
For more information go to: Trans-Alaska Pipeline System Right-of-Way Renewal:www.tapsrow.com; TAPS EIS process and DEIS:http://tapseis.anl.gov; or JPO Right-of-Way Renewal:http://tapsrenewal.jpo.doi.gov.