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Contact: Jody Weil 907-271-4418
Shane Wolfe 202-208-6416
Interior Secretary Norton Signs Renewal of Pipeline Agreement Deal Ensures Employment Opportunities for Alaska Natives

Anchorage, AK - Alaska Natives will see increased opportunities for employment on the Trans Alaska Pipeline System (TAPS) as well as additional training and potential career advancement thanks to an agreement signed today by Interior Secretary Gale Norton.

Norton signed a renewal of the Alaska Native Utilization Agreement (ANUA) today in Anchorage along with representatives from Alyeska Pipeline Services Company and Alaska Native leaders. Alyeska is the transportation consortium that operates TAPS. This is the fourth ANUA renewal since 1995.

"Among other things, this renewal will ensure continued employment and even better training programs for the nearly 450 Alaska Natives who currently work on the pipeline," Norton said.
"The pipeline and the men and women who work on it are a critical part of President Bush's goals of job creation and independence from foreign sources of energy."

The signing of the ANUA is mandated by the Agreement and Grant of Right-of-Way for the Trans Alaska Pipeline (Grant of Right-of-Way), an agreement that stipulates details of pipeline construction and operation. The Grant of Right-of-Way was first agreed to in 1974 and renewed in January 2003 for an additional 30 years.

As part of the ANUA renewal, Alyeska agrees to provide funding for programs designed to employ, train and advance Alaska Native employees on TAPS, while continuing efforts to recruit and retain qualified Native candidates. In addition, the company will continue to award $750,000 in scholarships each year and set up an intern program for entry-level Native employees. Since 1996, Alyeska has provided scholarships to more than 1000 Native students.

Currently, 447, or 20%, of TAPS workers are Alaska Natives. In 1995, the number of Native TAPS employees was 172, or 8%.





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