PHOTO/James MacPherson/AJOC
Responding to a national alert for heightenedsecurity against possible terrorist attack, Gov. TonyKnowles today increased Alaska State Trooper presencealong the Trans Alaska oil pipeline with the creationof a security checkpoint on the Dalton Highway justsouth of the Yukon River bridge. Seven members of theAlaska State Defense Force have been called to stateactive duty to work under the operational control ofthe Alaska State Troopers to help them accomplishthis mission.

"Although we have not been informed of any specificthreat to the pipeline, we know its importance tomeeting the nation’s energy needs makes it apotential target for terrorists," Knowles said."Accordingly, the Alaska State Troopers, withassistance from the State Defense Force, willestablish a security checkpoint just south of theYukon River beginning today. This checkpoint will notrestrict access to the Dalton Highway for legitimateuses, just as we are tightening security at thenation’s airports, we need to know who is accessingthe pipeline corridor, where they are going, andwhy."

In addition to establishing the Yukon Rivercheckpoint, Knowles and administration officials havecontacted the Alyeska Pipeline Service Company, U.S.Coast Guard, and other public and private agencies,to ensure additional steps are taken to tightensecurity along the pipeline’s entire 800-mile lengthfrom Prudhoe Bay to Valdez. While other actions arebeing implemented as part of the national heightenedalert status, the specific operational details ofthose security measures are not being made public.

Knowles noted that pipeline security was identifiedas an issue immediately following the September 11attacks, and he asked his Disaster Policy Cabinet toexamine overall homeland security issues affectingAlaska. While that report is still being finalized,Knowles thought it prudent to implement some of itsrecommendations in the wake of the national alertissued yesterday.

"As part of this national alert, we know of nospecific threat to Alaska or any other part of thecountry, but I urge Alaskans to be on guard," Knowlessaid. "Alaskans have a proud tradition of respondingto challenges put before them and I am confident thatthey will cooperate with these efforts to ensure thesafety of their fellow Alaskans and the pipeline onwhich the nation depends."

10/29/2001 - 8:00pm