Bush nominates Pearce to be pipeline coordinator

Former state senate president to speed federal review process

Posted: Tuesday, June 13, 2006

FAIRBANKS - Former state Senate President Drue Pearce has been nominated by President George W. Bush to be federal coordinator of an Alaska natural gas pipeline project.

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Congress ordered the creation of the job in 2004 as part of legislation designed to speed federal review of the proposed pipeline.

Pearce now is senior adviser to the secretary of the Interior for Alaska affairs.

Pearce will work until one year after the completion of the natural gas pipeline project, according to a White House announcement.

The 2004 law calls for the coordinator to oversee the "expeditious discharge of all activities by federal agencies with respect to an Alaska natural gas transportation project" and ensure that they follow the direction of Congress.

The act states that the coordinator will be able to veto any agency's attempt to attach a "term or condition," short of those required by law, if the coordinator determines that it "would prevent or impair" the rapid construction or expansion of the line.

The coordinator cannot overturn certain orders from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Also, the coordinator cannot impose her own terms and conditions.

The law directs the federal coordinator and the state of Alaska to set up a joint surveillance and monitoring agreement like the one used for construction of the trans-Alaska pipeline in the mid-1970s.

The agreement must be approved by the president and the governor of Alaska.

Under the agreement, federal agencies will have jurisdiction on federal and private land. The state will have jurisdiction on state land.

Pearce, a Republican, was elected to the Alaska House of Representatives in 1984 from Anchorage and to the Alaska Senate in 1988. She served as Senate president twice.

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