The Department of the Interior (DOI) announced Thursday that it has approved the logistics for the Alaska Liquified Natural Gas Pipeline Project.
The announcement from the agency made sure to address how the project is both good for the U.S. economy and safe for the environment.
“With this approval, the Trump Administration is keeping its commitment to work with local governments and partners,” Casey Hammond, principal deputy assistant secretary for land and minerals management, said in the DOI announcement. “This project will enable more Alaska-produced energy to enter the market through modern, efficient technology and create opportunities for Americans.”
“The project includes the potential to supply Denali National Park and Preserve and nearby communities with natural gas,” Robert Wallace, assistant secretary for fish and wildlife and Parks, said. “Careful environmental management will ensure park resources, including wildlife, wetlands, vegetation, and noise/soundscapes, will be protected during and after construction.”
“The NPS (National Parks Service) is issuing a right-of-way for the approximately six-mile portion of pipeline within a non-wilderness area of the Denali National Park and Preserve (DNPP),” the announcement said. “The route selected through the park is near the existing transportation corridor (the Parks Highway and Alaska Railroad extend across this area of the park), which limits impacts to park viewsheds and overall acreage of wetlands, and reduces the need for additional roads and their associated impacts.”
The announcement said that nine federal agencies collaborated in the project, including the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), the NPS, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the U.S. Coast Guard, the U.S. Department of Energy, the U.S. Department of Transportation, the Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the National Marine Fisheries Service.
Environmentalists have opposed the project, as Courthouse News Service reported last month:
The Chickaloon Traditional Village Council and environmental organizations filed a formal request with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on Monday, asking the agency to rehear the application for the LNG Alaska project. If built, the project will send natural gas from the northern part of the state to the south, where it can be shipped to customers in Asia.
The Center for Biological Diversity and the Sierra Club said the commission failed to consider climate change and endangered species, including polar bears, Cook Inlet beluga whales and North Pacific right whales.
“It makes no sense to fuel climate change to export American fuel to Asia,” said Kristen Monsell, a senior attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity. “This risky project would be a disaster for Alaska, our climate and its endangered wildlife.”
Courthouse News Service reported the project comes with a $43 billion price tag.
Follow Penny Starr on Twitter