Knowles asks committee for gas line help

Posted: Wednesday, July 24, 2002

FAIRBANKS - Gov. Tony Knowles has pleaded Alaska's case for helping a natural gas pipeline to the U.S. House and Senate members serving on a conference committee deciding the fate of a national energy bill.

In a letter to the 61 committee members, Knowles said the Senate bill's gas provisions would benefit U.S. and Canadian residents by encouraging development of a source of secure, plentiful natural gas.

The state of Alaska will provide incentives as well, but the companies that own the natural gas on Alaska's North Slope think federal legislation is the most important step, Knowles said.

Canada can't criticize the proposed tax credit in the bill because that country itself offers energy project subsidies, Knowles said.

Such assistance is already provided by the U.S. government for some coal and natural gas projects, Knowles wrote.

The governor also defended the bill's call for a southern route along the Alaska Highway. A pipeline along the northern route would bypass potential gas deposits in the federal National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska and on state lands, Knowles said.

It would also eliminate chances of using the gas within the state, he said.

Knowles also urged the conference committee to adopt House language that would allow oil development in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

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