Alaska could revoke leases for oil fields like Prudhoe Bay if top energy companies refuse to participate in a government natural gas pipeline plan, the Governor Sarah Palin has said. Exxon Mobil Corp, BP and ConocoPhillips together control more than 35 trillion cubic feet of known gas reserves on the Alaska North Slope.

But the companies declined to participate in a process backed by Palin to jump-start a long-delayed gas pipeline, arguing they needed a long-term tax deal from the state first.

Palin called the refusal “unconstitutional.” “When the conditions of these leases are not met, especially after decades, it is time to open them up and allow other companies to come in here and compete for the right to tap the resources,” the Republican governor said.

Palin’s tough talk has the backing of many ordinary Alaskans who are suspicious of the influence of the oil companies.

After thirty years of the oil companies having it their own way in the state, I am not surprised.