Sen. Murkowski Comments on President’s Decision to Replace Federal Pipeline CoordinatorWASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, on Nov. 16 thanked Drue Pearce for her service to Alaska and the nation in working to make a North Slope natural gas pipeline project a reality.
The Obama administration on Monday announced it was replacing Pearce as Federal Coordinator for Alaska Natural Gas Transportation Projects. Pearce was appointed to the position by President Bush and confirmed by the Senate in 2006.
"Drue has long been a strong advocate for the gas pipeline and her commitment will be difficult to match," Murkowski said. "I regret the loss of Drue's experience and knowledge on this project, but I understand that it's the president's prerogative to appoint the person of his choosing."
Pearce has a long record of service to Alaska, both as a state legislator and former state Senate President, and later as Senior Advisor to the Secretary for Alaska Affairs at the Department of the Interior. Murkowski has known Pearce since they served together in the Alaska state Legislature beginning in 1998.
"Drue has been a dedicated champion for Alaska and the responsible development of our state's natural resources," Murkowski said. "I wish her the best of luck in her next endeavor."
Construction of a pipeline capable of delivering North Slope natural gas to markets in the Lower 48 has long been one of Alaska's top economic development goals. The project holds the promise of providing a long-term supply of affordable and clean natural gas to meet the nation's growing energy needs.
"The Alaska natural gas pipeline project is important to the economic and energy security of the nation," Murkowski said. "I've discussed this issue with the White House and I'm encouraged by the president's level of interest in seeing this project succeed."
Murkowski was pleased that Vice Admiral Thomas Barrett, USCG (Ret.), the deputy federal coordinator, will be interim coordinator until a permanent replacement is named. Murkowski has the highest regard for Barrett's abilities.
The federal coordinator is responsible for coordinating the activities of federal agencies involved in the permitting and construction of a natural gas pipeline connecting Alaska's North Slope to markets in the Lower 48. The office of the coordinator is an independent office that reports directly to the White House.
Posted: November 17, 2009
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