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Begich Requests Commerce Committee Hearing on TAPS


Holds meeting in Anchorage with Alyeska President Barrett

Citing the vital importance of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System (TAPS) to domestic energy production, U.S. Sen. Mark Begich is requesting that the Senate Commerce Committee host a hearing on issues relating to TAPS in March or April of this year.

In a letter to Commerce Committee Chairman Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV), Begich identified the national economic importance of TAPS, which currently carries approximately 15% of domestically produced oil, and the need to examine how reduced throughput and decreased funds for maintenance and operations will impact the 33-year-old line.

“We all have a stake in how this key piece of national infrastructure will fare with reduced throughput and the need for increased funds for maintenance and operations,” Begich said. “With annual and inevitable production declines, we need to focus on how we keep this vital piece of infrastructure healthy, whole and an economic asset.”

Begich met yesterday with Alyeska Pipeline Co. President Tom Barrett where the senator was briefed on the recent shutdown of the pipeline and the status of response and repair The meeting included company engineers who detailed the events of the past ten days and the eventual restart of the pipeline. With declining throughput already an issue for Alyeska, Begich asked company officials to address how the recent shutdown impacts the future stability of the pipeline.

The senator also commended Alyeska staff and line workers for their tremendous response in tough, winter conditions.

Begich said is optimistic that a Congressional hearing would allow Alyeska to discuss plans to overcome the future challenges of operating TAPS. Doing so is critical to improving national security, reducing the country’s dependence on foreign oil and providing Alaskans a future with safe, reliable and affordable energy.

“As we look to the future of TAPS, we know we have to get more oil in the pipeline, and I will continue to work for increased production of Alaska’s oil and gas resources,” Begich said. “We have enormous potential in our Arctic waters and in the NPR-A, and I will continue to push the Obama Administration to let development move forward.”

Monday’s meeting with Admiral Barrett was the latest in a series of daily updates Begich’s office has received since the leak was first discovered Jan. 8.

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