Pipeline To Nowhere, Ctd

A reader writes:

I've been reporting on oil and gas in Alaska for about three years. Your post about the Alaska natural gas pipeline is a bit misleading.

First, the bill Gov. Parnell signed concerns a completely different pipeline than the one Palin promoted and is still promoting. It's for a pipeline entirely within the state Alaska, to supply gas solely to Alaskans. To oversimplify, it's needed because the gas fields around Anchorage are in decline. The Palin project is a much longer and larger pipeline to supply gas to people in Canada and the Lower 48.

Second, to write "The current governor is scrambling to get the project on track" is not a fair assessment of what's happening. The big pipeline is out of his hands at this point. There are two consortiums pursuing nearly identical pipeline projects. Both plan to hold separate "open seasons" later this year, where they will seek commitments from natural gas producers that want to ship gas on the proposed lines.

It's simply too early to call Palin's plan a failure. If those open seasons yield enough shipping commitments to support the cost of a pipeline, one of the projects will move forward. If they don't, both projects will stall. It's really only at that point that you can honestly judge her plan.