September 28, 2001 --- Vol. 7, No. 125September 2001

Murkowski prepared to roll Bingaman

Advocates for opening the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil and gas drilling met the morning of Sept. 27 in Washington, D.C., to share information and discuss strategy for the weeks ahead.

An Arctic Power spokesman who attended that meeting told PNA yesterday that while a clear strategy had not been mapped out, the consensus “seemed to be that Senate defense legislation was not an appropriate vehicle for an ANWR amendment because it was unlikely to pass the House. Instead, the White House, the labor unions, and the Republicans” are expected to put “huge pressure on Democrats in the Senate to produce an energy bill in the next 30-45 days.”

If the chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, Sen. Jeff Bingaman, D-New Mexico, does not “play ball,” Alaska Sen. Frank Murkowski will “roll him.”

“Sen. Murkowski clearly has controlling votes on the committee. The energy bill is a big deal. It’s Bingaman’s first big project as chairman. … Things have been fairly routine until now. If Bingaman doesn't agree to include a provision to open ANWR, Murkowski will override him and take control — he’ll roll him. If he does, it will make Bingaman look ineffective,” a PNA source who works for the Senate energy committee said.

“It’s “pretty heavy-handed to roll a committee chairman. It can impact other votes on other legislation, but it’s clearly what’s going to happen unless some sort of compromise can be worked out by Bingaman on this issue,” the Arctic Power spokesman said.

Drilling advocates are confident that Congress will pass ANWR legislation because renewed concerns about national security have forced previously unsupportive Republican senators and several Democrats to put domestic energy reserves ahead of other considerations.

Work continues on abandoned crude oil line from Anna platform

The Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation said Sept. 27 that work continues on an abandoned crude oil line from the Anna platform, determined to have been the source of a July Cook Inlet sheen.

The sheen was reported by a commercial aircraft pilot 10:40 a.m. July 31 near Middle Ground Shoal approximately 1.5 miles north of the Baker platform. Sheen was also observed during over flights intermittently at slack tide until Aug. 11. No sheen has been observed since.

The cause was determined to be leakage from an abandoned Anna platform subsea crude oil pipeline. DEC said that laboratory analytical results received Aug. 29 indicate the mystery sheen samples were from crude oil in the Anna pipeline, with differences among the samples attributed mainly to weathering.

Unocal is maintaining a 24-hour vacuum on the pipeline, periodically withdrawing fluids. DEC said recent fluid samples appear clean. Approximately 280 barrels of fluids have been extracted to date, containing 50-75 barrels of crude oil.

DEC said BP and Unocal are coordinating development of a long-term plan to address the removal of residual crude oil in the abandon pipeline, and intend to implement that plan in the spring. Amoco, now part of BP, was the original operator of the Anna platform.

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