ANCHORAGE - The company that operates the trans-Alaska oil pipeline said security was heightened today in the wake of coordinated terrorist attacks on the East Coast, but was tight-lipped about how it was protecting the 800-mile line.
"Obviously there's more security because of the pipeline's importance in terms of energy," said Tim Woolston, spokesman for the Alyeska Pipeline Service Co.
Woolston said the pipeline was not shut down and oil was continuing to flow. He said there were no immediate plans to shut down the line.
The pipeline carries more than a million barrels of oil per day and provides 17 percent of the nation's oil.
Pipeline officials said the line can be shut down within minutes if necessary, with a series of check valves to limit oil spills.
The pipeline has been a target in the past.
A Canadian man was charged two years ago with plotting to blow up the pipeline as part of an effort to drive up oil prices and reap a profit. Alfred Reumayr was arrested in Canada in August 1999 after an 18-month investigation.
U.S. and Canadian officials said at that time that the plot was not political or ideological. They were reluctant to release details at that time for fear it would encourage copycat acts.
An act of sabotage on the pipeline in 1978 resulted in a spill of 16 thousand barrels of oil. A hole was blasted in the line with explosives at Steele Creek, near Fairbanks. No one was ever arrested in connection with that attack.