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Hard road to decision on Alaska-Canada pipelines

The first punches in the fight over two Alaska-Trans Canada pipeline ...

HOUSTON, April 3
The first punches in the fight over two Alaska-Trans Canada pipeline plans have been thrown, but the top business and government leaders involved on Tuesday agreed on one thing: the clock is ticking.
``We have to have a sense of urgency about these projects,'' said Alaska Gov. Tony Knowles, who last month set a 2007 completion target for a new pipeline to bring gas from Alaska South.

Two routes, each starting at Prudhoe Bay on the Alaskan North Slope and ending at existing pipelines in British Columbia and Alberta, are being studied and beginning to make their way through miles of red tape.

Where they go in between is the major bone of contention, and bureaucratic and political delays are what led one plan to be shelved for more than 20 years, the top executive for The Williams Cos. pipeline subsidiary said.

``That particular process needs to be avoided this time, because it took almost six years to align producers, pipeline companies, governments and citizens,'' said Cuba Wadlington Jr., who was government affairs director for Northwest Alaskan Pipeline Company while the original Alaska Highway plans were being developed.

Both Knowles and Wadlington, along with the premiers of the Yukon and the Northwest Territories, discussed the pipeline issue at the Ziff Energy Group's North American Gas Strategies Conference in Houston.