Alaska anxious over gas pipeline plans

April 2, 2010 at 11:01 AM

JUNEAU, Alaska, April 2 (UPI) -- Plans for expanded domestic oil and gas production shows U.S. lawmakers are keen to make an Alaskan gas pipeline a national interest, Alaskan officials said.

U.S. President Barack Obama announced plans Wednesday to expand domestic oil and gas production.

U.S. Sen. Mark Begich, D-Alaska, told lawmakers in Alaska that Obama has placed a natural gas pipeline in the northern state on a list of top five green energy projects for the United States, Alaska's Juneau Empire newspaper reports.

"Our efforts right now are to convince the president to make it a national interest project," he said.

Begich added the Alaskan gas pipeline is likely to become the largest project in North America, though multiple permits are required.

TransCanada is competing with Denali, a joint venture between BP and ConocoPhillips, to build a natural gas pipeline in the state.

Opponents say new technology to exploit gas locked in shale deposits in the Lower 48 undermines the need for the natural gas pipeline to feed U.S. markets.

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