Alaska Gov. Murkowski to Push for Gas Pipeline to Canada Before Term Ends

Gov. Frank Murkowski vowed Wednesday to continue to push a contract for a natural gas pipeline to Canada even though he lost the Republican primary and will soon be out of office.

"It's the only game in town," the Republican governor said of his deal with BP PLC, ConocoPhillips and Exxon Mobil Corp.

The $25 billion gas pipeline proposal has been a focus of the campaign season, and Murkowski has met resistance. Critics say his deal with the companies cedes too much in incentives without firm commitments to get it built.

The pipeline would stretch at least 2,100 miles from Prudhoe Bay to Alberta, Canada, and perhaps another 1,500 miles to Chicago. It would carry about 4 billion cubic feet of natural gas each day and could supply about 10 percent of future U.S. natural gas demand.

In June, Vice President Dick Cheney urged Alaska legislators to pass bills that would advance the pipeline.

"You have it in your hands to help ensure that the Alaska Gas Pipeline ultimately furnishes dependable, affordable, and environmentally sound energy for America's future," Cheney wrote.

Murkowski said he will call the Legislature into session once the deal has been revised and ask lawmakers to approve it.

On Tuesday, Murkowski came in third in a three-way race for the Republican nomination for governor. Former Wasilla Mayor Sarah Palin won and will face former Democratic governor Tony Knowles in the November election.