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Cross-border PNWER council to facilitate Alaska's gas pipeline
Exxon-TransCanada, Denali to brief on competing gaslines


July 06, 2009

Alaska Senate Energy Chair Lesil McGuire today said her first priority as president of the Pacific Northwest Economic Region (PNWER), will be jump-starting a Northern Pipeline Coordinating Council (NPCC), to research and help resolve cross-border route, regulatory, workforce and supply issues that could slow construction of the Alaska North Slope natural gas pipeline.

McGuire will accept the economic region president's gavel at PNWER's Summit 2009 scheduled July 12-16 at the Boise, Idaho Convention Centre.

A first agenda item at the Idaho conference will be organizing NPCC goals and resources and defining priorities, immediate and long-term.

The NPCC organizational conference will include briefings on the competing gasline proposals presented by Tony Palmer, vice president of Alaska development for the TransCanada project with ExxonMobil; and Bob Bleaney, general manager-Denali Canada for the Denali Alaska Gasline project proposed by ConocoPhillips and BP.

"The mission of the Northern Pipeline Coordinating Council is not to promote the Exxon-TransCanada gasline project, or the Denali Alaska Gas Pipeline proposed by Conoco-Phillips and BP," McGuire said.

"The mission of the Northern Pipeline Coordinating Council is specific: to identify resources and reduce red tape -- not to be another layer of bureaucracy."

"Both projects are massive in terms of workforce requirements, materials needs and jurisdictional and regulatory oversight," McGuire added. "It's especially important that we have consistent and transparent cooperation between the public- and private-sectors and stakeholders."

"The state came away from construction of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System having learned and achieved a lot," McGuire said. "But the natural gas pipeline requirements - technical, regulatory and jurisdictional - are more complicated.

"Keeping communications open and transparent will help avoid Murphy's Law, that 'Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.'"

McGuire said she is coordinating on anticipated gasline workforce needs with Labor Commissioner Click Bishop.

Dave Coutts, former Alberta Sustainable Resource Development Minister, is also inventorying workforce gaps and resources for the NPCC with federal officials in Human Resources and Skills Development Canada, as well as the states and provinces.

Coutts will provide and coordinate that information with state and provincial officials on the gasline route and will present a preliminary report at the PNWER Summit in Boise.

Workforce needs are also being researched by Jim Kenyon, Economic Development Minister of the Yukon and former PNWER president.

Next week's PNWER Summit 2009 theme is "Addressing Global Challenges & Northwest Imperatives for the Future." Energy discussions will also address solar and wind power, geothermal energy, clean car technology, and other forms of renewable energy.

The agenda will include three days of sessions on specific regional issues, as well as presentations on regional and cross-border economic development opportunities linked to the 2010 Winter Olympics, scheduled February 12-28, in Vancouver, B.C.

Member delegations in PNWER represent lawmakers in Alaska, Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana and the Canadian provinces of British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Yukon Territory.

"We're addressing high-value issues in which the U.S. and Canadian Pacific Northwest regions share interests," McGuire said. "We have much to gain by cross-border cooperation and collaboration.


Source of News:

Office of Senator Lesil McGuire
Anchorage Senate District N


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Stories In The News
Ketchikan, Alaska