The U.S. Obama administration put its mark in the overwhelmingly Republican state of Alaska, asking Alaska pipeline coordinator Drue Pearce to step down, according to U.S. news sources Monday.
Vice Admiral Thomas Barrett, USCG (Ret.), the deputy federal coordinator, will be interim coordinator until a permanent replacement is named.
Pearce, a former Alaska Senate president, had been appointed federal coordinator of Alaska natural gas transportation projects by former President George W. Bush 2006.
A terse statement by Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska lamented the move, adding “I regret the loss of Drue’s experience and knowledge on this project, but I understand that it’s the president’s prerogative to appoint the person of his choosing.”
The office, which reports directly to the White House, coordinates activities of federal agencies in the permitting and building of a natural gas pipeline connecting Alaska’s North Slope to markets in the Lower 48. There had been ongoing debate over if Pearce could continue heading the office under the Democratic president.
Pearce served as senior advisor to the Secretary for Alaska Affairs at the Department of the Interior from 2001 to 200