Thursday, November 19, 2009

Bush appointee resigns as U.S. coordinator for Alaska gas pipeline project

ANCHORAGE - Republican Drue Pearce, the federal official responsible for coordinating planning for the proposed Alaska natural gas pipeline, has resigned her position at the request of the Obama administration.
Pearce, a former Alaska state Senate president who has held the position since it was created by then President George W. Bush in 2006, said she will step down effective Jan. 3.
The Office of the Federal Coordinator for Alaska Natural Gas Transportation is reviewing competing plans offered by both TransCanada Corp. and a joint venture formed by BP and ConocoPhillips to build a pipeline to ship natural gas from Alaska's North Slope to domestic U.S. markets.
Pearce was the first person to hold the job, which is designed to keep federal agencies working together to get the pipeline built without undue delay. Some 22 federal agencies in the United States - plus others in Canada Thomas Barrett- must sign off on an environmental impact statement before the project can move forward.
Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski, who is the top Republican on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, said she was pleased that Pearce's deputy, retired U.S. Coast Guard Vice Adm. Thomas Barrett, will serve as the interim coordinator until the White House appoints someone new.

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