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Northern Gas Pipelines is your public service 1-stop-shop for Alaska and Canadian Arctic energy commentary, news, history, projects and people. It is informal and rich with new information, updated daily. Here is the most timely and complete Arctic gas pipeline and northern energy archive available anywhere—used by media, academia, government and industry officials throughout the world. Northern Gas Pipelines may be the oldest Alaska blog; we invite readers to suggest others existing before 2001.

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Coastal Management

1-29-15 Shell To Explore Chukchi Sea This Summer!

29 January 2015 10:06am

Shell Plans To Explore The Chukchi This Summer!

Dan Fause, ASAP, Alaska Gasline Development Corporation, AGDC, Photo by Dave HarbourRelated Photo Cutline, Journal of Commerce, by Tim Bradner.  Alaska Gasline Development Corp. President Dan Fauske (NGP Photo) said the change in the Alaska Stand Alone Pipeline project to increase the capacity to a 36-inch diameter and use high-strength steel could allow up to 2.6 billion cubic feet per day to be shipped. That improves the economics of the project compared to previous restrictions that limited it to no more than 500 million cubic feet per day.  (Bradner's is one of the most informative, thorough, readable gas pipeline updates we have seen.  Kudos!  -dh)

Journal of Commerce by Tim Bradner.  A year ago there was a lot of complaining about state money being wasted on the Alaska Stand Alone Pipeline project, the little brother to the big North Slope gas pipeline project.  ... But a funny thing has happened. The project has morphed. Little Brother pipeline isn’t little anymore. It has grown up.

Video: Today, U.S. Senator John Barrasso discussed the LNG Permitting Certainty and Transparency Act (S. 33), that will speed up the approval process for exports of liquefied natural gas (LNG) to countries which do not have free trade agreements with the United States.  Additionally, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the American Petroleum Institute issued letters of support for S. 33 in advance of today’s hearing.   

Calgary Herald by Dan Healing.  A consortium including Calgary-based midstream and energy firm Altagas Ltd. has taken possession of the proposed Douglas Channel LNG project through a plan of arrangement that ends a Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act process.   (Alaskans will note the consortium includes investors from Asian and European market areas.  -dh)

Shell Gears Up For 2015 Chukchi Exploration Season!

World Energy News by Joseph Keefe.  Oil major Shell wants to revive its Arctic oil drilling programme this year after a near two-year suspension, angering environmentalists who say the risk of an oil spill is too high.

Robert Dillon, U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, Shell to Drill Chukchi 2015, Dave Harbour PhotoRobert Dillon (NGP Photo) of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee reports this afternoon that, "Shell CEO Ben van Beurden today told a conference in London that Shell would drill in Alaska’s Chukchi Sea this summer.

(Photo: Shell), ocs drilling platform"Shell has invested nearly $6 billion in leases and exploration in the Chukchi and Beaufort seas off Alaska’s northern coast," Dillon said.  "The Arctic holds 13 percent of the world’s undiscovered oil reserves, and 30 percent of undiscovered natural gas deposits, so the potential for Alaska is immense. Arctic waters off Alaska’s northern coast contain an estimated 30 billion barrels of oil and 221 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, according to the federal government."

Dillon said the resources are "critically important to the nation, state and continued operations of the Trans Alaska Pipeline System (TAPS)" in terms of domestic oil supply and jobs. 

Shell aims to restart Arctic drilling this year – CEO (Reuters)

LONDON Thu Jan 29, 2015 5:25am EST

Jan 29 (Reuters) - Royal Dutch Shell is planning to restart oil drilling in the Arctic this year, Chief Executive Ben van Beurden said on Thursday.

The oil company suspended its Alaskan drilling programme in 2014 to rein in costs and in the face of fierce environmental opposition.

Van Beurden said he aimed to restart the campaign this year, pending approval of the necessary permits and the conclusion of various legal challenges.

"Yes, we are minded to drill in the Chukchi Sea," he told reporters at a conference in London.



12-19-14 Chevron Exits 'Economically Uncertain' Arctic OCS - Regulators Question Alaska's Arctic Gas Project

18 December 2014 9:19am

Pedro van Meurs, Mexico, National Hydrocarbon Commission, perms for shallow water bidding, bid conditions, model contract, J. Jay Park, joint commentary, free download, Photo by Dave Harbour


Pedro van Meurs
President, Van Meurs Corporation
PO Box CR-56766 # 1261
Nassau, Bahamas
Phone: 1.242.324.4438
Fax: 1.242.324.4439
E-mail: info@vanmeurs.org

On December 11, 2014, the National Hydrocarbon Commission of Mexico announced the proposed terms for the shallow water bidding round, consisting of the Bid Conditions and the Model Contract.  Our friend, Pedro van Meurs (NGP Photo), along with J. Jay Park, Q.C., prepared a joint commentary on both these documents. This report is available for free to interested parties.  Click Here to download the document.


BP's Alaska Hire rate continues to exceed 80%, and spending with Alaska companies is 81% of total in-state spending, according to its 2014 Alaska Hire report.   BP Publishes Alaska Hire each year to focus on education, training and mentoring programs that are designed to bring more Alaskans into the oil and gas industry. Readers may access Alaska Hire here

Reuters (Reporting by Scott Haggett; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)​     - Chevron Corp said on Wednesday a plan to drill for oil in the Beaufort Sea in Canada's Arctic is on hold indefinitely ....   In a letter to Canada's National Energy Board, the company withdrew from a hearing into Arctic drilling rules because....  (More)


In their first feedback on Alaska LNG's preliminary construction plans, federal and state agencies raised dozens of questions and issues they want to make sure are covered as the project sponsors progress with design and environmental analysis.

Alaska LNG Project, Map, Prudhoe Bay, Natural Gas, Tokyo Gas, Korea, Japan, Taiwan, China, pipe, cryogenic, DOE, export, state ownership, Photo Courtesy OFCThe agencies on Dec. 11 asked the project sponsors for more information about where they plan to get construction gravel, how they plan to lay a pipeline across Cook Inlet and what kind of wear and tear state roads and bridges would endure as tons of materials move across Alaska during construction.

The requests for more information were expected as the sponsors are in the early stages of their design, route selection and construction planning for the LNG export project.

Read more >                                  

Today's Consumer Energy Alliance Energy Links:

Downstream Today: Keystone XL: Oil, Gas Industry Awaits Fate of the Pipeline's Final Phase.  

David Holt, Consumer Energy Alliance, Keystone, State Department, Environmental, Dave Harbour PhotoIf oil sands from Canada will make it to the market whether the pipeline is built or not, then moving the product through a pipeline would not only produce fewer emissions than transporting it using other methods, such as rail or truck, but it would also be safer than other methods of transport, according to the President of the Consumer Energy Alliance, David Holt (NGP Photo), during a broadcast of Houston Public Radio.

“Pipelines are an order of magnitude safer and more environmentally responsible than any other mode of transportation for crude and natural gas. Whether or not we permit the Keystone pipeline, the crude oil in Canada is going to be produced. In the State Department’s own report, they said that without Keystone, the emissions impact to ship that [Alberta oil sands] to the east and the west, and to take it to China and elsewhere, could be a 600 percent increase in emissions,” Holt said.

New York Times: Cuomo Bans HF
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s administration announced on Wednesday that it would ban hydraulic fracturing in New York State because of concerns over health risks, ending years of debate over a method of extracting natural gas.
Reuters: NY unlikely to face lawsuits over shale ban, experts say
When Governor Andrew Cuomo announced a ban on fracking in New York on Wednesday, he predicted "a ton of lawsuits" against the state. But that is unlikely as the end of a drilling boom has left the industry in no mood for a fight, industry experts and lawyers said.
Associated Press: McConnell Wants to Stop Coal Rules
Incoming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., pledged on Wednesday to do all he can to stop President Barack Obama's coal plant regulations, saying a White House "crusade" has devastated his state's economy.
SNL: House Republicans slam EPA carbon rule for existing plants as 'unrealistic'
The Republican majority on the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee contends the EPA's draft carbon dioxide regulation is illegal under the Clean Air Act and that the proposal's goals are "unrealistic."
Reuters: Chevron cancels Canadian Arctic drilling as oil prices slide
Chevron Corp is putting a plan to drill for oil in the Beaufort Sea in Canada's Arctic on hold indefinitely because of what it called "economic uncertainty in the industry" as oil prices fall.
Bloomberg: U.S. Talking Oil Exports Just When World Needs It Least
The U.S. Congress is talking about allowing unfettered oil exports for the first time in almost four decades. Its timing couldn’t be worse.
Bloomberg Businessweek: TransCanada’s Keystone Fight Turns to Exports on Oil Glut
Russ Girling’s Keystone XL saga is taking a new twist with a global glut of cheap oil. Americans, including President Barack Obama, are increasingly questioning whether the pipeline is needed or if it will just be a corridor for Canadian oil-sands crude to reach China. Girling’s answer is that the U.S. isn’t weaning itself off foreign oil anytime soon and that Gulf Coast refineries will be the buyers, not Asia.
The Denver Post: Tilting the Keystone
Being an ardent opponent of the Keystone XL project in rural Colorado isn't a popular position. The vision for this 21st century pipeline has been sold as a necessary component of our energy challenges and a massive job creator. Unfortunately, the pipeline is neither, and would be better characterized through the lens of American rural landscapes as an assault as opposed to an asset.
KMTV: Fight over Keystone XL continues, landowners vow to fight until very end
TransCanada has until mid January to acquire the land needed to build the Keystone XL Pipeline through Nebraska. A new offer from the company is on the table for landowners.
Fresno Bee: Plunging oil prices are good for us, bad for Putin
Plunging gas prices are a gift in more ways than one. They mean more cash in people’s pockets during the holiday shopping season, so hopefully local retail will get a boost. They will soften the blow next month for any price spike when fuels come under California’s cap-and-trade system to combat climate change.
CBS 4 News: Falling Gas Prices Could Harm Colorado’s O&G Industry
While prices at the pump are pleasing to many drivers so far this holiday season, the plummeting prices of oil are a bit concerning for Colorado’s oil and gas industry. Coloradans are paying an average of $2.52 per gallon. That’s 54 cents less than a year ago when it was $3.06. “Colorado has had a significant increase in production. At these prices I’m not sure that will continue,” said Stan Dempsey, president of the Colorado Petroleum Association.
Associated Press: Colorado drillers warn of closures with fines
Colorado oil and gas industry leaders say new fines for rule violations could lead in some cases to companies shutting down or curtailing operations. An attorney for the Colorado Oil and Gas Association industry group told regulators penalties should be waived for minor infractions.
News & Observer: NC Rules Review Commission approves HF standards
North Carolina’s proposed fracking safety standards sailed through a rules reviewWednesday despite a staff attorney’s warning that several rules failed to meet state standards and should be put out for public hearing. The Rules Review Commission’s approval means the fracking rules won’t be delayed by several months for extra reviews and hearings. Instead, the rules, written by the Mining and Energy Commission, are now headed to the state legislature, which is expected to lift North Carolina’s fracking moratorium in a matter of months.
Baltimore Sun: Shale ban in NY prompts calls for MD to follow suit
With New York's governor banning hydraulic fracturing for natural gas in that state, environmental groups are calling on Maryland's lawmakers to follow suit. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo ended six years of study in that state and sided with his top advisers in deciding the potential environmental and health risks of "fracking," as it's commonly known, were too great to allow it to go forward there.
Lancaster Online: Home heating costs are down
Lancaster County residents should get some relief on their heating bills this season — unless there’s a repeat of last winter’s deep freeze. The administration estimated in its winter report on winter fuels that the decline in average price for some heating sources also will contribute to savings.
WOAI: Eagle Ford Production Strong--Won’t be Killed by Saudi Moves
The plummeting price of oil has not yet begun affecting drilling in the Eagle Ford shale south of San Antonio, an investigation by News Radio 1200 WOAI's Michael Board has concluded.  Benchmark West Texas Crude fell nearly a dollar again on Tuesday to settle at $55.05 a barrel. That's down from $116 in April, and $110 as recently as June.
Dallas Morning News: Lawmaker files bill to discourage cities from passing HF bans
Rep. Phil King, R-Weatherford, proposed on Wednesday a bill that would require cities to make up for any revenue lost as a result of passing a municipal oil and gas ordinance–a requirement that could dissuade cash-strapped cities from considering or approving some local regulations.
Express-News: 500+ rigs may shut down as oil slides, analysts say
As many as 550 drilling rigs may have to sit on the sidelines of U.S. shale oil patches over the next few months, analysts say, as oil prices have folded nearly in half since this summer. The projections come a few days after Texas drilling rigs led the nation in a 1.4 percent weekly decline in the U.S. active rig count, according to oil-field services firm Baker Hughes.


12-1-14 Call To Action Tonight In Anchorage!

01 December 2014 8:33am


Send us your comments to be preserved in our searchable archives!

Carl Portman, Resource Development Council for Alaska, BOEM, Beaufort SEIS, OCS, Arctic, Dave Harbour PhotoOur friend, Carl Portman (NGP Photo), of the Resource Development Council for Alaska (RDC) reminds us that tonight the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) will be holding a public hearing at 7 p.m. on the Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) for Chukchi Sea Lease Sale 193.

The hearing will be held at the Crown Plaza Hotel, 109 W. International Airport Road.  Members and supporters of the Consumer Energy Alliance, RDC and the Alaska Support Industry Alliance should arrive at 6 p.m. for a brief meeting along with refreshments.

BOEM has initiated a 45-day public comment period ending December 22nd on the draft SEIS.  Swift finalization of this document and reaffirmation of the lease sale is critical to preserving the opportunity to explore for Arctic resources. 

Portman says,  "It is critical that those supporting offshore energy production in the Chukchi Sea turn out to express support.  

"I realize many of us have testified several times on this particular lease sale over the past seven years. However, it is vital that we have a strong turn out at this hearing because our opposition is mobilizing its forces to condemn the sale and block any further activity offshore. As many of us know, decisions are influenced by those who show up."

We agree with Portman that 'testimony fatigue' cannot deter us.  After all, decisions on permitting, conditions attached to permits and future appeals of agency decisions can be affected by the weight of public testimony one way or another.  We should not let Alaska's interests be out shouted and out weighed by preservationist/activists simply because ordinary citizens preferred the comfort of a warm home on a December night in Alaska. 

Below is a link to RDC's helpful Action Alert on the SEIS.  http://www.akrdc.org/alerts/2014/leasesale193alert.html
We would emphasize the importance of arriving early, by 6 if possible, to claim a good seat and to put your name on the sign up list for early testimony (Of course, the rules for this meeting could change....)
See you there!   -dh

6-9-14 Polar Bears Are Cuddly and 'Political Shenanigans' Abound!

09 June 2014 6:54am

World Energy, by George Backwell.  ...a fraction of natural gas projects ... will become reality as high costs and weakening gas prices....

Alaska Dispatch, by Brigham McCown.  

As political shenanigans continue to delay approval of the Keystone XL pipeline, Alaska voters hold the key to avoiding a similar fate for what could be North America’s largest pipeline project (i.e. Natural gas pipeline).


Matt Cronin, Polar Bear, Global Warming, University of Alaska, Photo by Dave HarbourWashington Examiner by Mark Tapscott.  Another scientist has more bad news for global warming advocates who claim that Americans are killing Arctic Polar Bears....  *** Professor Matthew Cronin (NGP Photo) of the University of Alaska at Fairbanks studied the genetic histories of the three bear species, brown, black and polar (NGP Photo). *** What Cronin found casts significant Polar Bear, Alaska Zoo, Male and Female, Matt Cronin, Photo by Dave Harbour, Climate Chamge, Global Warmingnew doubt about claims that the furry white monsters of the Arctic are soon going to be extinct if America doesn't stop causing global warming by burning fossil fuels. *** Cronin has been studying animal genetics for 25 years and his latest study will be made public in a paper to be published shortly in the online Journal of Heredity, according to UAF's Nancy Tarnai.  (See a related article)

National Ocean Policy Coalition Newsletter

Fuel Fix.  American Energy Partners said Monday it plans to spend $4.25 billion to expand into Texas and West Virginia for the first time and to snap up more land in Ohio.

Aubrey McClendon, Wilcatter, Fuel Fix, Texas, Chesapeake, Permian, Marcellus, Greenwich Group, Photo by Dave Harbour, NARUCThe three announced acquisitions are the latest — and the most expensive — in a series of moves by Aubrey McClendon (NGP Photo), one of the first wildcatters to capitalize on the U.S. shale boom, to rebuild his empire after he relinquished his perch at the top of Chesapeake Energy last year.


From the National Ocean Policy Coalition: The U.S. Arctic Research Commission's daily update (last week) included an announcement by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and the National Ocean Council that former Alaska State Rep. Beth Kerttula has been selected to serve as National Ocean Council Office (NOC Office) Director.  Kerttula replaces Dr. Brad Moran, who has been serving as Acting NOC Office Director since November 2013.  Coverage of the announcement includes articles in the Alaska Daily Dispatch,Anchorage Daily News, and KTOO News.  KTOO reports that Kerttula will serve as NOC Office Director for one year, with an option to remain through the remainder of the Obama Administration.

Calgary Herald, by Stephen Ewart.  The military crisis in Ukraine has brought into focus Europe's dependence on Russian natural resources for 30 per cent of its energy requirements just as Prime Minister Stephen Harper is in Europe for the G7 Summit and the D-Day anniversary events Friday in Normandy.

With coercion of Russian oil supplies deemed "unacceptable" by political leaders in Europe this week, it appears crude from Canada's oilsands has become much more acceptable.

Consumer Energy Alliance (CEA) tells us that last Thursday, CEA-Florida joined PACE for the Gulf Coast Energy Forum in Mobile, Alabama during which executives from five southern utilities raised concerns about the EPA’s new rules on carbon emissions for existing power plants. As Alabama.com noted, one of the biggest concerns highlighted by the executives was the rule’s effect on the energy mix and the likely dependence on natural gas that will result.

The Daily Caller: EPA Rules To ‘Necessarily Skyrocket’ U.S. Electricity Prices
U.S. electricity rates are set to rise more than 10 percent by 2020 because of onerous federal environmental regulations on coal-fired power plants, according to an analysis by American Action Forum. This means consumers could be forced to pay $150 more each year for electricity due to Obama administration power plant regulations.

E&E News: “The United Mine Workers of America is blasting the Obama administration's new proposal for controlling greenhouse gas emissions from existing power plants, which will likely contribute to the loss of coal mining jobs. "The UMWA has not and does not dispute the science regarding climate change," Cecil Roberts, the group's international president, said in a statement this afternoon. "Our dispute is with how our government is going about addressing it, and on whom the administration is placing the greatest burden in dealing with this challenge," he added. Roberts said the rule would lead to "long-term and irreversible job losses." The union says it calculated the potential direct coal generation job losses at 75,000 by 2020.”



7-13-13 National Ocean Policy Council Update

13 July 2013 3:53am

Here is your important National Ocean Policy Council Monthly Report:

I. Mid-Atlantic Regional Planning Body Announces Public Webinar, Membership Roster
II. U.S. House Of Representatives Passes Two Bills With National Ocean Policy Provisions
III. Great Lakes Boating Magazine Addresses NOP, Calls NOPC “The Voice of Boaters”
IV. Petition Cites NOP As Justification For Protection Of 81 Species Under ESA
V. NRC Report Calls For National Sustainability Policy, Cites NOP As Model

I. Mid-Atlantic Regional Planning Body Announces Public Webinar, Membership Roster
In an email announcement, the federal, state, and tribal co-leads for the Mid-Atlantic Regional Planning Body (RPB) disclosed that the Mid-Atlantic RPB will hold a public webinar from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. EST on Thursday, August 1 to “provide an update about our progress and plans going forward, as well as future opportunities for public input.”  
Under the National Ocean Policy, the Mid-Atlantic RPB is tasked with developing a Coastal and Marine Spatial Plan for Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and Virginia.  
The announcement states that “input during this webinar will help us plan for an inaugural, in-person public meeting in the fall of 2013.”  According to the email, since April, the RPB “has been developing operational and administrative processes, as well as identifying opportunities to engage stakeholders throughout the ocean planning process.” 
The announcement further notes that the RPB “will implement a transparent regional planning process and we welcome stakeholder collaboration and input,” and concludes by noting that the RPB “look[s] forward to working collaboratively to advance successful ocean planning in the Mid-Atlantic region.”
Additional information about the webinar, including the agenda and log-in details, will be available here in the coming weeks.
The Mid-Atlantic RPB has also released a membership roster.  The RPB includes 9 federal members (and 4 federal alternates) representing the following entities:
U.S. Navy (Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff);
U.S. Navy (DOD);
National Marine Fisheries Service (NOAA);
Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (Interior Dept.);
Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy (Energy Dept.);
Natural Resources Conservation Service (USDA);
Maritime Administration (Transportation Dept.);
Environmental Protection Agency; and
U.S. Coast Guard (Homeland Security Dept.)
The RPB also includes 12 state members (2 each from Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania), 6 state alternates, 1 Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council representative (who also represents Virginia), 1 tribal member, and 1 tribal alternate. 

II. U.S. House Of Representatives Passes Two Bills With National Ocean Policy Provisions
In a 227-198 vote, the U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday passed H.R. 2609 (Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2014), which would provide FY 2014 funding for federal entities including the Department of Energy (DOE) and Army Corps of Engineers (USACE). 
The legislation includes a provision that would prohibit funds appropriated under the bill from being used to implement the National Ocean Policy Executive Order.  This provision was incorporated through an amendment offered on the House Floor by Rep. Bill Flores that was agreed to by voice vote shortly before the overall bill was passed. 
DOE is a member of the National Ocean Council, and DOE officials have been identified to serve on Regional Planning Bodies tasked with developing Coastal and Marine Spatial Plans for regions including the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, and Gulf of Mexico.  USACE is also involved with Coastal and Marine Spatial Planning and participates in National Ocean Policy initiatives.
On Thursday, in a 216-208 vote the U.S. House of Representatives also passed H.R. 2642 (Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act of 2013, also known as the “Farm Bill”).  This legislation includes a provision in Section 11326 that requires the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Inspector General to submit a report to Congress within 90 days detailing all USDA activities engaged in and resources expended in furtherance of the National Ocean Policy to date, as well as any FY 2014 budget requests that would be used to support National Ocean Policy implementation.
The provision also includes six findings, including the following:

  • “Despite repeated Congressional requests, the National Ocean Council, which is charged with overseeing implementation of the policy, has still not provided a complete accounting of Federal activities under the policy and resources expended and allocated in furtherance of implementation of the policy.”
  •  “The continued economic and budgetary challenges of the United States underscore the necessity for sound, transparent, and practical Federal policies

III. Great Lakes Boating Magazine Addresses NOP, Calls NOPC “The Voice of Boaters”
The August 2013 issue of Great Lakes Boating includes an editorial that addresses the National Ocean Policy and refers to the National Ocean Policy Coalition as “the voice of boaters.”
The editorial notes in particular that the National Ocean Policy “lacks input from the biggest users of the Great Lakes, recreational boaters and sportsfishermen,” and that “[t]he only organization speaking out for these users is the National Ocean Policy Coalition…, of which the Great Lakes Boating Federation is both a member and ardent supporter.”
Among other things, the editorial outlines concerns with the policy’s requirements to establish Regional Planning Bodies, develop a coastal and marine spatial plan for the Great Lakes, and institute ecosystem-based management.  
Writing that the policy could have a “serious impact” on Great Lakes recreational activities and that “users want to have a say in how it’s decided,” the editorial states that there are no means of providing advice to the National Ocean Council (NOC) because the only formal advisory body to the NOC (Ocean Research Advisory Panel) does not include Great Lakes representation. 
The editorial also says that the National Ocean Policy Final Implementation Plan does not adequately acknowledge the “economic engine” that is generated by Great Lakes recreational boating and fishing activities, and urges recreational boaters to contact federal, state, and local officials and communicate to them that “this new federal effort to manage, ‘protect,’ and zone the Great Lakes region is harmful to Great Lakes recreational interests, and that proceeding forward without them is simply not right or just.”

IV. Petition Cites NOP As Justification For Protection Of 81 Species Under ESA
WildEarth Guardians earlier this week announced the filing of a petition with theNational Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) for the protection of 81 “imperiled” marine species and species subpopulations under the Endangered Species Act.  The announcement says that the petition is part of an effort to “jumpstart the protection of our oceans.”
WildEarth Guardians states that the IUCN findings represent “the best available science,” and that “[o]ur oceans and the species that call them home are facing unprecedented threats from fishing, ocean acidification, pollution from toxic runoff and dumping of waste at sea.”
The announcement also notes “[r]ecognizing the decline of ocean health,” the National Ocean Policy Executive Order was issued in July 2010 “requiring agencies, including NMFS, to ‘protect, maintain, and restore the health and biological diversity of ocean…ecosystems,’ and to ‘use the best available science and knowledge to inform decisions affecting the ocean.’”  The announcement states that the petition “seeks to compel NMFS to live up to this mandate.”
WildEarth Guardians General Council Jay Tuchton said that the Obama Administration “acknowledges our oceans’ health is rapidly declining, even issuing an executive order instructing all agencies to do all they can to protect the ocean.”  Tuchton adds that the petition “is an effort to press NMFS to take concrete action in keeping with the President’s direction,” and that if NMFS “won’t take action in situations as dire as those faced by these critically imperiled species, it signals the Agency doesn’t really want to do anything but talk about declining ocean health.”
Of the 81 species proposed for protection, according to information contained in the petition, the following four are known to occur in waters under U.S. jurisdiction, among other places.
In a section on “The Obama Administration’s Policy Of Increasing Protection Of Marine Environments,” the petition discusses findings in the 2010 Census of Marine Life, as well as the National Ocean Policy Executive Order.  Statements of note regarding the National Ocean Policy include the following:

  • The Secretary of Commerce “is required to abide by the policy set forth in this executive order, namely he or she must ‘protect, maintain, and restore the health and biological diversity of ocean…’ and to ‘use the best available science and knowledge to inform decisions affecting the ocean, our coasts, and the Great Lakes, and enhance humanity’s capacity to understand, respond, and adapt to a changing global environment’”
  • “One clear way for the Secretary to comply with this obligation is to use his or her authority under the ESA to protect marine biodiversity”
  • “The dire threats to the health of the oceans and marine species are clearly understood by the President and those threats were included in the policy decisions that led to Executive Order 13,547”
  • The Interagency Ocean Policy Task Force and President Obama through the Executive Order “have recognized the extreme threats to the ocean biodiversity and the need to combat those threats wherever they occur…the need to follow the ‘precautionary approach’ when dealing with threats to the oceans and the need to set a new course for improved stewardship of the ocean”
  • The Secretary “should follow this direction from the President by recognizing the weight of the science, listing the petitioned species and subpopulations under the ESA, and thus provide them with the protection that they need in order to stop their slide towards extinction”

V. NRC Report Calls For National Sustainability Policy, Cites NOP As Model
The National Research Council recently released a study on “Sustainability for the Nation: Resource Connection and Governance Linkages” that is intended to provide a framework for policymakers and regulators to assess the “consequences, tradeoffs, and synergies of policy issues involving a systems approach to long-term sustainability and decisions on sustainability-oriented programs.” 
Among other things, the study recommends the development of a National Sustainability Policy that provides clear guidance to executive agencies on addressing governance linkages on complex sustainability problems and informs national policy on sustainability.
The report specifically states that creating a National Sustainability Policy by Executive Order and incorporating an implementation framework would “substantially enhance the nation’s capacity to address many of the governance challenges” it faces.  It also says that it could “significantly enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of complex initiatives involving multiple federal agencies, state, regional, and local governments, and non governmental stakeholders,” and would address environmental, economic, and societal issues and support human well-being.
The report cites several “models” for the development of a National Sustainability Policy, including the National Ocean Policy.  According to the report, the National Ocean Policy “speaks to the need for connections similar to those required for sustainability in that it establishes a national framework to address a cross-governance challenge, and then engages stakeholders in regular meetings and other interactions designed to stimulate cooperative action.”  It concludes that the National Ocean Policy is a “good model for addressing sustainability linkages.”
An event that will serve as the “launch” for this new report will take place from 1:30 pm to 3:30 pm PST on Wednesday, July 24 at the University of California, Davis.  The event will also be accessible via webcast.  Webcast registration is available here.


National Ocean Policy Coalition Quick Links

National Ocean Policy Coalition Quick Links


4-17-13 - More Evidence The Administration Usurps Congressional Authority

17 April 2013 8:15am

Calgary Herald by Sherri Zickefoose.  An anti-oil pipeline art show is being sent packing from City Hall’s atrium after officials yanked the group’s permit over price tags and politics.

Yesterday we editorialized on how the Administration's persistent effort to create a new ocean Drilling Permit Approval Delays, Federal Overreachzoning bureaucracy defies Congressional authority.  Over the last several years, we have documented many instances of this Administration's effort to overreach its authority and expand its jurisdiction and control over the American public.  One of the effects is to diminish jobs, economic recovery and tax/royalty revenue from domestic production on federal lands.  Below, we bring readers more contemporaneous examples of federal obstacles to reinvigorating America's economy.   We were worried yesterday that Congress fiddles while the Administration usurps its authority.  While we stand on that statement (i.e. wishing for a more robust effort to confront Constitutional violations), we do commend a couple of particularly courageous patriots (among a few others), who are trying to hold back the tide of federal overreach: Congressman Doc Hastings and Senator Lisa Murkowski.  -dh

Yesterday, HouseDoc Hastings, Chairman, House Resources, Washington, federal overreach, drilling delay Resources Chairman Doc Hastings (NGP Photo) said, “This final implementation plan raises more questions than answers and provides even less information on what the Obama Administration will impose under the guise of a National Ocean Policy. What is certain is that this policy represents a significant step towards the mandatory zoning of our oceans and is a backdoor attempt to control the way inland, coastal and ocean activities are managed. If implemented, it will inflict red tape and economic damage both onshore and offshore across a wide-range of activities including agriculture, fishing, construction, manufacturing, mining, oil and natural gas, and renewable energy.

Late yesterday we received this message from the National Ocean Policy Council.  We appreciate the diplomacy of their statement but believe that they and all Americans should be demanding that the President rescind the Ocean Zoning effort rather than simply reflecting their collective 'concerns'.  -dh  

NOPC said, "Following an initial review of the National Ocean Policy Final Implementation Plan released earlier today, significant questions and concerns remain about whether continued implementation of this initiative will adversely impact commercial and recreational activities across the United States."

Today, Hastings said, "Today we'll hear the story of two very different methods for energy production here in the United States.   (Photo-l)

The energy production that occurs on state and private lands, and the energy production that occurs on federal lands.  Energy production on state and private lands is flourishing - creating new jobs and thriving, healthy economies. These lands are the epicenter of the energy renaissance we're currently experiencing. On these lands oil and natural gas production has increased dramatically since 2007. The restrictions on these lands are not as onerous, and as a result, the average time to get a drilling permit approved is only 12 -15 days.

Contrast that with federal lands. There the average time to get a drilling permit approved is 307 days. That is nearly double the 154 days the process took in 2005. Regulatory hurdles, long delays, and policies that keep federal lands under lock-and-key have become all too common. As a result, federal oil and natural gas production has declined.

Yesterday, amid a Senate Energy Senator Lisa Murkowski, federal overreach, us forest service, multiple useCommittee hearing on the Forest Service's So-Called Multiple Use Mission and Budget, Senator Lisa Murkowski (NGP Photo) said, "“Our national forests are increasingly being managed like national parks – areas in which no timber harvesting is permitted,” Murkowski said. “The Forest Service must return to its multiple-use mission. The economic viability of hundreds of communities located next to national forests depends on the responsible production of our timber resources.” 
 Meanwhile, yesterday in Washington, the Administration took heat from another quarter, as Water Power Subcommittee Chairman Tom McClintock said: “The administration’s testimony makes it clear that we can expect ... increasingly severe government-induced shortages, higher and higher electricity and water prices, massive taxpayer subsidies to politically well-connected and favored industries, and a permanently declining quality of life for our children, who will be required to stretch and ration every drop of water and every watt of electricity in their bleak and dimly lit homes.  
“I believe that this Subcommittee will seek a different path," McClintock added, "one that leads to a new era of clean, cheap and abundant hydro-electricity; great new reservoirs to store water in wet years to assure abundance in dry ones; a future in which families can enjoy the prosperity that abundant water and electricity provides and the quality of life that comes from that prosperity.”

Two Visions of the Arctic


Mary Barr 

Former State Senator Drue Pearce sees the Arctic as an opportunity for growth and commerce.  The National Marine Fisheries Service (NFWS) sees the Arctic as a place to be protected, where development must be restricted, to preserve marine mammals and a subsistence lifestyle.  
Drue Pearce, Arctic Commission, EIS, Alaska, Federal Coordinator, Alaska State Senate President, Photo by Dave HarbourThese opposing opinions were both on display Thursday April 11th, when the Anchorage Republican Women’s Club hosted Drue Pearce (NGP Photo) as their luncheon speaker, and NOAA in the person of Jolie Harrison from National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) took public testimony on the supplemental draft EIS on the Effects Of Oil And Gas Activities In The Arctic.
The portion of the supplemental draft EIS being heard concerned the effect of noise pollution from seismic surveys and drilling in the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas, on marine mammals and subsistence fishing.  The apparent conclusion was that any impact on marine mammals or their habitat must be negligible or mitigated. And any development must be strictly regulated.
In the opinion of Senator Pearce, the Arctic is an area of opportunity.  Fifteen years ago, Canada turned management of their federal lands over to the governing body of the Northwest Territories, a devolution as she termed it, and the NW Territories are beginning to experience a boom.  She stated that with the glut of oil and gas the lower 48 states are currently experiencing, Alaska cannot rely solely on our natural resources to see us into the future.  She urged us to see and to promote Alaska as the Gateway to the Arctic, to find a new path forward and to become more involved in the Arctic Council.


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