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Alaska Natural Gas Transportation System Letter to Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau of Canada.

July 17, 1980

Dear Mr. Prime Minister:

Since you last wrote to me in March, the United States Government has taken a number of major steps to ensure that the Alaska Natural Gas Transportation System is completed expeditiously.

Most significantly, the Department of Energy has acted to expedite the Alaskan project. The North Slope Producers and Alaskan segment Sponsors have signed a joint statement of intention on financing and a cooperative agreement to manage and fund continued design and engineering of the pipeline and conditioning plant. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission recently has certified the Eastern and Western legs of the System.

The United States also stands ready to take appropriate additional steps necessary for completion of the ANGTS. For example, I recognize the reasonable concern of Canadian project sponsors that they be assured recovery of their investment in a timely manner if, once project construction is commenced, they proceed in good faith with completion of the Canadian portions of the project and the Alaskan segment is delayed. In this respect, they have asked that they be given confidence that they will be able to recover their cost from U.S. shippers once Canadian regulatory certification that the entire pipeline in Canada is prepared to commence service is secured. I accept the view of your government that such assurances are materially important to insure the financing of the Canadian portion of the system.

Existing U.S. law and regulatory practices may cast doubt on this matter. For this reason, and because I remain steadfastly of the view that the expeditious construction of the project remains in the mutual interests of both our countries, I would be prepared at the appropriate time to initiate action before the U.S. Congress to remove any impediment as may exist under present law to providing that desired confidence for the Canadian portion of the line.

Our government also appreciates the timely way in which you and Canada have taken steps to advance your side of this vital energy project. In view of this progress, I can assure you that the U.S. government not only remains committed to the project; I am able to state with confidence that the U.S. government now is satisfied that the entire Alaska Natural Gas Transportation System will be completed. The United States' energy requirements and the current unacceptable level of dependence on oil imports require that the project be completed without delay. Accordingly, I will take appropriate action directed at meeting the objective of completing the project by the end of 1985. I trust these recent actions on our part provide your government with the assurances you need from us to enable you to complete the procedures in Canada that are required before commencement of construction on the prebuild sections of the pipeline.

In this time of growing uncertainty over energy supplies, the U.S. must tap its substantial Alaska gas reserves as soon as possible. The 26 trillion cubic feet of natural gas in Prudhoe Bay represent more than ten percent of the United States' total proven reserves of natural gas. Our governments agreed in 1977 that the Alaska Natural Gas Transportation System was the most environmentally sound and mutually beneficial means for moving this resource to market. Access to gas from the Arctic regions of both countries is even more critical today as a means of reducing our dependence on imported petroleum.

Successful completion of this project will underscore once again the special character of cooperation on a broad range of issues that highlights the U.S./Canadian relationship.

I look forward to continuing to work with you to make this vital energy system a reality.



[The Right Honorable Pierre Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada]

Note: The text of the letter was released on July 18.

Jimmy Carter, Alaska Natural Gas Transportation System Letter to Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau of Canada. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/250817

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