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Outdated law could shut down federal office for Alaska gas line projects

By Alexis Fernandez 9:04 PM March 5, 2014

The president did not include funding for the federal coordinator's office for Alaska gas line projects in his budget for next fiscal year.

ANCHORAGE – Funding for Alaska’s gas line coordinator could soon be going away.

President Barack Obama did not include funding for the federal coordinator’s office for Alaska gas line projects in his budget for next fiscal year.

Coordinator Larry Persily says it’s not just a money issue — it’s about an outdated law.

The office, which has six employees and a budget of $1 million a year, was created as part of a 2004 law to help advance an Alaska gas pipeline project that would meet the demands of North American markets.

Over the years the project has shifted focus, and the Alaska Legislature is currently weighing whether the state should pursue a stake in a liquefied natural gas project that would be capable of shipping overseas.

Persily says his office now has no authority to help with these specific permits.

“The fact the money isn’t in the budget is not a reflection on Alaska or our office or anything else, it’s just a matter of the time has come to change the law, so that the law matches what we’re working on,” Persily said.

Persily says the office will have enough money to get through the end of this year.

Alaska’s D.C. Delegation is aware of the potential closure and is weighing its options.

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