Spending Bill Proposes Pipeline Office Cuts

The Federal Office that’s coordinating plans for an Alaska natural gas pipeline project takes a huge hit in a spending bill unveiled by the U.S. House over night.  The Office of the Federal Coordinator would get $1 million in funding – a cut from about $4 million.  The 75 percent reduction would mean a major reorganization of the office, according to its head, Larry Persily.  He says it’s too early to predict exactly what would be cut.  The office has staff in Washington and Anchorage.

It does have money left over from past savings to the tune of about $2 million, but Persily says he’s concerned running through that money to plug the basic budget would leave the office without any safety net and would give federal appropriators a false sense of how much money is needed to run the office.

The funding for the gas line coordinator’s office is part of a massive $1 trillion omnibus spending bill House Republicans unveiled just before midnight Wednesday.  It would fund the government through 2012.   Democrats in the Senate have not yet signed off on the package.  But there’s pressure to pass it and avoid a government shutdown this weekend – right now the government is only funded through tomorrow.

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