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Public meetings on gas pipeline project environmental issues start Jan. 30

The public can offer input on the environmental review of the proposed $32 billion to $41 billion Alaska natural gas pipeline project during seven meetings scheduled over the next three weeks.

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission staff members are holding the public scoping meetings in Alaska. The first meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. Monday, Jan. 30, at the Fairbanks Carlson Center. A meeting in Delta Junction will occur the next night, with one in Tok the following evening. Meetings also will be held in the North Slope communities of Barrow, Nuiqsut and Kaktovik during the week of Feb. 6.

The Anchorage meeting, originally planned for Jan. 18, now is scheduled for Feb. 13. This meeting will be streamed live on the Office of Federal Coordinator website: www.arcticgas.gov.

The Alaska Pipeline Project, a partnership of TransCanada and ExxonMobil, is proposing to build a gas pipeline that would span 803 miles of Alaska – from Point Thomson to Prudhoe Bay to the Canadian border – en route to a terminus at the British Columbia-Alberta border. The proposal calls for construction to start in 2016, with pipeline startup in late 2020. The pipeline would carry 4.5 billion cubic feet a day of natural gas from North Slope fields, targeting Lower 48 markets.

In August, FERC announced it will prepare an environmental impact statement on the Alaska portion of the pipeline project. FERC staff members are holding the scoping meetings to help define what environmental effects the impact statement will consider. FERC will accept verbal and/or written comments through Feb. 27, 2012, when this public scoping process closes. FERC is working with other government agencies on the environmental review. The agency will solicit public comments again when its draft environmental impact statement is ready, which could come as soon as late 2013.

In advance of the scoping meetings, FERC required TransCanada/ExxonMobil to file 11 environmental reports on the pipeline corridor, called draft resource reports. Links to those reports can be found here. The final reports, expected in October, will address many issues raised at this winter's scoping meetings.

At the meetings, FERC and the project sponsor will make presentations, with public comment to follow.

The Alaska meetings are as follows:

  • Jan. 30 - Fairbanks, 7 p.m., Carlson Center - Arthur Buswell Pioneer North Star Room, 2010 Second Ave.
  • Jan. 31 - Delta Junction, 7 p.m., Delta Community Center, 2287 Deborah St.
  • Feb. 1 - Tok, 7 p.m. Tok School Multipurpose Room, Jon Summar Way.
  • Feb. 6 - Barrow, 7 p.m., Inupiat Heritage Center Multipurpose Room, 5421 North Star St.
  • Feb. 7 - Nuiqsut, 7 p.m., Kisik Community Center, 2230 Second Ave.
  • Feb. 8 - Kaktovik, 4:30 p.m., Kaktovik Community Center, 2051 Barter Ave.
  • Feb. 13 - Anchorage, 7 p.m., Dena'ina Center - Kahtnu Room, 600 W. Seventh Ave.

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