Alaskans see pipeline threat from reserve proposal

Alaska’s congressional delegation says restrictions on land proposed for the 36,000-square mile National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska could create problems for Arctic offshore drilling.

Sens. Mark Begich and Lisa Murkowski and Rep. Don Young say the restrictions proposed to protect wildlife in the 36,000-square mile reserve could add expense to or block a pipeline transporting oil from the Chukchi Sea to the trans-Alaska pipeline.

Begich says the Bureau of Land Management’s new preferred alternative seems to close off several options for building a pipeline across the reserve.

Murkowski said she’s hearing concerns that a non-direct route will make a pipeline so expensive that an oil company could instead consider moving crude in tankers instead of the 800-mile pipeline.

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