The Regulatory Commission of Alaska has approved the operation of a 22-mile pipeline connecting the Point Thomson development to the trans-Alaska Pipeline System.
In a decision dated Wednesday, the RCA said ExxonMobil and pipeline developer PTE Pipeline LLC will begin to operate the pipeline — the first from the multibillion-dollar Point Thomson development — in December.
Point Thomson has been controversial and the subject of extensive litigation between the state and ExxonMobil. An agreement between the state and ExxonMobil called for the company to begin producing oil and gas from the area or lose its lease.
In September, ExxonMobil said it and its partners have spent $3.2 billion to open the Point Thomson field.
While Point Thomson is valued primarily for its natural gas deposits, which are estimated to represent 25 percent of all gas in the Prudhoe Bay region, it also produces liquids that can be shipped by the trans-Alaska oil pipeline.
Seattle’s Harborview Medical Center staff identified Martha Mackowiak, 51, as the passenger medevaced last night from Juneau to Seattle after surviving a plane crash.
Although stabilized last night for transportation, her condition remains critical as she faces life-threatening injuries.
Mackowiak was aboard a Cessna 180 heading from Juneau to Haines with three others when the small plane crashed in Lynn Canal north of Berners Bay on Wednesday afternoon.
The pilot of the plane issued a mayday call and reported the plane’s engine had died, according to Coast Guard Petty Officer 3rd Class Meredith Manning. The pilot said they were going to attempt to land on the east side of Lynn Canal in the vicinity of the Eldred Rock Lighthouse.
“They were trying to land on the beach and crashed in the water,” Manning said.
All four people on board the private plane made it safely to the beach. A Coast Guard helicopter deployed from Air Station Sitka as well as a Temsco helicopter to aid in the recovery effort.
The Coast Guard’s MH-60 Jayhawk took three of the passengers to Juneau International Airport, where they were met by an EMS crew and then transported to Bartlett Regional Hospital, and the Temsco helicopter took Mackowiak directly to Bartlett, arriving around 4 p.m., said hospital spokesman Jim Strader.
The other three passengers were treated for minor injuries at Bartlett before being released. Their names and who owns the private aircraft is unknown.
Manning said the aircraft “was not visible” when rescuers arrived on scene, adding that the area was experiencing 5-foot seas.
Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Allen Kenitzer said both the FAA and National Transportation Safety Board will investigate the crash.