WSJ YESTERDAY: Obama’s Trans-Alaska Oil Assault
He’s slowly starving the current pipeline so it will have to shut down.
Washington’s energy debate has been focused on President Obama’s endless opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline, but maybe that was only a warm-up. His new fossil fuel shutdown target is Alaska.
Refer also to Monday's editorial re: A Good Father Figure
another layer of anti-development complexity courtesy of a new Arctic Executive Order....
President Obama announced Sunday that he’ll use his executive authority to designate 12.... Read More
TODAY. From Robert Dillon, Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee:
NPR Morning Edition host Renee Montagne spoke with Sen. Lisa Murkowski, (NGP Photo), this week about the impacts on Alaska of the president’s decision to designated 12 million acres of Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge as wilderness.
Alaskanomics: Alaska's Leaders Stand Strong Against Proposed ANWR Designation
Arctic Slope Regional Corporation: "We are staunchly opposed to this relentless and coordinated effort to designate the Coastal Plain of ANWR as Wilderness."
White House Calls Alaska Voices "Overreaction"....
Fed plans for OCS also overreaching
Sen. Murkowski, the chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, reminded NPR listeners of the oversized role the federal government has in Alaska – where more than 60 percent of the land is under federal control – and the restrictions that can place on the state government’s ability to build a robust economy.
Murkowski also said the sharp reaction from her and the entire Alaska delegation was prompted not just by the president’s announcement on ANWR, but on the restrictions placed on energy exploration in Alaska’s arctic waters and in the National Petroleum Reserve. Sen. Murkowski called the administration’s actions “a one, two, three kick to the gut of Alaska’s economy.” Click here to listen to the interview--then scroll down to read the very similar, vindictive comments.
Latest Federal/Political Overreach Endangers Alaska's Future and Threatens U.S. Economy
If you read the comments at the end of the NPR interview story above, you'll understand how truly well organized the Enviro-Industrial-Governmental Cabal is in America today (i.e. Click and scroll down for many references).
We would love to see the emails that Soros/Podesta-supported websites and organizations dispatch whenever a story occurs that runs counter to the democrat/socialist party line. Virtually 100% of a landslide of comments to the NPR interview are negative and we have seen the talking points used by these 'seminar indoctrinated blog responders' repeated on various sites. (Reference: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5)
Either left-comment writers are mobilized to write or call in whenever the community organizers ask them to, or virtually all of NPR listeners are left-leaning and extremely activist writers. I prefer to think the latter, especially our tax money and corporate funds support NPR. But reality tells me it's a combination of the two: a mostly left-leaning audience supported by professional community organizing communication professionals.
We often ask our private sector friends, "Why don't you appear at more hearings, write more letters to the editor, etc." Answer: "Hey, may, I've got a job." Nevertheless, we continue to inform our readers, urging them to take the time to participate as well. If we with greater knowledge of the industry issues do not comment, the public and/or regulatory records are left with nothing but negativity toward the development that sustains our way of life.
Apparently the "job" or at least hobby of many activists is to become serial, seminar blog and letter writers.
(In fact most of the emails we at NGP receive that attack economic development are written during business hours from folks employed by universities, and local, state or federal governments.)
Having lived in Alaska for most of a lifetime, this writer has found that, if anything, Senator Murkowski's view of the Obama Administration's anti-Alaska efforts understates the danger to our republic.
The Administration, by its actions, has demonstrated a consistent and determined effort to defrock Alaska of its constitutional dependence upon natural resource development.
Having now accomplished that, in large part, it could only be a matter of time before private industry begins a withdrawal from Alaska. As federal executive and regulatory assaults continue, the state and municipal governments will become economically unsustainable--at least in their current form. This is because 90% of the state's operating budget is based on transporting oil through the Trans Alaska pipeline, whose continued life is threatened by the current, federal administration. In addition, over a third of Alaska's entire economy is based on that single, trans Alaska oil economy lifeline.
And, we should not underestimate the damage to America's entire economy and future resulting from a loss of access to Alaska's critical oil, gas, coal, timber and strategic metals.
Readers have questioned, "Why would the administration do these things; it is not logical."
It is not logical from an ordinary, honest citizen's viewpoint that just expects his elected government to conform to the rule of law and "do the right thing" for the country.
But the executive branch's hostile actions to Alaska are logical from the viewpoint of a left-leaning political strategist whose goal is not preserving the "right", but in amassing the "might".
That professional, left-leaning strategist advises the administration and its leftist allies throughout the country to put up every possible barricade against oil and gas shale development ... because that is where mostly free enterprise (and, shall we say, mostly republican) jobs are created?
The strategist recommends against timely approval of great, private controlled projects like the Keystone XL, because that is where mostly free enterprise jobs are created.
The strategist can demonize -- and attempt to liquidate -- one of America's great, wealth producing industries, COAL, even as it has become the "clean coal industry". This is because it sponsors wealth producing, mostly free enterprise jobs from the Rocky Mountains to the job-starved eastern states.
Washington strategists over the years have decimated thousands of timber jobs throughout the country and killed Alaska's major timber employers, all private sector 49th state pioneers.
The strategist recommends that the administration hamper all sorts of private projects using the Endangered Species Act, the Clean Water Act and the Clean Air Act. In this way, the lizards, frogs, fish, sage grouse, beluga whales, steller sea lions and polar bears can take the heat for proclaiming millions of acres of public and private lands to be off limits to any wealth producing activity that might strengthen the economy or the national defense--even when that activity will have no ill effect on the critter the regulators seek to employ as scapegoats (i.e. Beluga Whale, Steller Sea Lion, etc.).
These devices are used to prevent employment of private sector Americans, as efforts are made to increase the ratio of Americans employed by government or those indebted to federal entitlement, subsidy, loan, transfer, social or immigration programs.
Yes, the Administration is not stupid. Alaska is currently a red state, with republicans dominating most of the statewide elected positions.
But it takes a majority of conservative voters to achieve that representation.
By administrative action, the federal government seems determined to change the voting ratio in Alaska.
When and if that happens, the population will be lower and economic activity greatly reduced. But following a potential exodus of private sector workers, the remaining federal and state bureaucrats, entitlement beneficiaries, elected officials, center-left and mostly green non-profit organizations and a majority of voters will be highly supportive of progressive state and federal administrations.
While that may threaten the economic stability of the state, there is always the possibility that those who 'know best' in Washington, will exercise paternal generosity and, once again, make Alaska a ward of the federal government--a new entity that we suggest could be known as, "an Entitlement State".
So, yes, Senator Murkowski has it right and so does the Wall Street Journal. If a majority of our readers also believe they "have it right", then one cannot avoid being drawn to our conclusion.
Painfully, we are witnessing a pattern of deception so powerful that absent dramatic reversals in federal policy and leadership, Alaska is headed toward entitlement statehood.
And, with the greatest oil, gas, coal, minerals, timber, fishing resources, it is worth repeating to say that Alaska's loss is America's economic loss. (We say fishing because without oil and gas, the remaining tourism, fishing, retail, and individual taxpayers will be coughing up all the money needed for the government they will wish to support. That burden will also force many of the remaining private sector endeavors out of business--as Alaska learned during the low oil price era of the late-1980s.)
And with those losses comes the specter of a more determined Arctic power, now evaluating America's weakness of will -- amply demonstrated throughout the world -- along with its downsized military. Could this adjacent Arctic power, bold enough to continually test Alaskan air space, be determining how to retake what it once sold to America for a mere $7.2 million, 2 cents/acre.
We innocently assume that a majority of NPR commenters are well intentioned, if misled. They may simply be enjoying the prospects of participating in authoritarian control of a formerly free country--"Change they can believe in".
But with weakness comes vulnerability and they may actually be playing the role of Useful Idealists who end up participating not just in the demise of freedom, but in also seeing their best laid plans go astray.
Senate Energy Committee staff representative responds to White House staff representative:
From Robert Dillon (NGP Photo), Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee:
We are amazed to hear White House counselor John Podesta (Ref. 1, 2) claim that Senator Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, has “overreacted” to the White House’s decision to declare war on Alaska’s economic future.
“Overreaction” is an interesting choice of words, to say the least.
Let’s think about this for a moment. Which of the following does not deserve a strong reaction from Alaska’s senior senator?
- Is it the fact that the White House is placing 12 million more acres of the Arctic Coastal Plain into escrow and de facto wilderness, despite ANILCA’s “no more” wilderness clauses, and even though 80 percent of Alaskans support development that would cover just 0.01% of ANWR?
- Is it the fact that the White House also plans to indefinitely withdraw additional areas of Alaska’s northern waters – in the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas – from leasing in its upcoming Five-Year Outer Continental Shelf plan?
- Is it the fact that the White House is threatening to impose such steep mitigation requirements on a long-stalled project in the National Petroleum Reserve – which was specifically reserved for petroleum development – that the company seeking to develop it for the last 17 years is now on the verge of being forced to pull the plug?
- Or, is it the fact that this White House refuses to make any of the nearly 40 billion barrels of oil in Alaska’s federal areas open to development, even though the state’s oil production has declined precipitously, and the state now faces a budget crisis due to a combination of low production and low prices?
Apparently, the White House believes that the proper reaction to its week-long series of anti-Alaskan energy announcements is to nod in silence and assent. Yet, Mr. Podesta went on to prove that Sen. Murkowski’s reaction was fully warranted in his very next sentence. (We’re so glad the White House isn’t going to try to shut down production on state land, by the way. Very generous of them.)
A final question for Mr. Podesta: does this response, from Democratic Rep. Ben Nageak of Barrow, also qualify as an “overreaction”? We’d love to hear his thought. Click on link for video of Alaska State Rep. Ben Nageak of Barrow:
JANUARY 27, 2015 Robert_Dillon@Energy.Senate.Gov
Interior’s Proposed Offshore Leasing Plan Will Place
New Restrictions on Exploration of Alaska’s Waters
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, today criticized the Obama administration for its continued campaign to shut down oil and natural gas activity in Alaska.
“This administration is determined to shut down oil and gas production in Alaska’s federal areas – and this offshore plan is yet another example of their short-sighted thinking,” said Murkowski, the chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. “The president’s indefinite withdrawal of broad areas of the Beaufort and Chukchi seas is the same unilateral approach this administration is taking in placing restrictions on the vast energy resources in ANWR and the NPR-A.”
Murkowski’s comments come on the heels of the release of the Interior Department’s new five-year offshore oil and natural gas leasing plan, which bans exploration in large portions of Alaska’s Chukchi and Beaufort seas.
Interior’s draft plan does include three proposed leases sales in Alaska’s federal waters – one each in the Beaufort and Chukchi seas, and one in Cook Inlet – but Murkowski said there is no guarantee those sales will ever be held.
“This administration is once again promising Alaskans that it will allow exploration sometime in the future – but not right now,” Murkowski said. “I think we all know what promises from this administration are worth. They promised Alaska multiple lease sales under the current five-year plan, but so far there have been none, as sales continue to be postponed even past when the president will no longer be in office. Promises will not fill the trans-Alaska pipeline.”
The draft 2017-2022 plan also includes a proposal to open a portion of the Atlantic to leasing off the coasts of Virginia, North and South Carolina, and Georgia.
“The proposed lease sales we’re talking about right now aren’t scheduled until after President Obama is out of office,” Murkowski said. “Forgive me for remaining skeptical about this administration’s commitment to our energy security. I look forward to working with the next administration to ensure that Americans have access to abundant and affordable energy.”
Interior Department Announces Draft Strategy for Offshore Oil and Gas Leasing
Regionally-tailored plan continues balanced approach to leasing, development; Draft proposal would protect sensitive resources, makes available nearly 80% of estimated undiscovered technically recoverable oil and gas resources on U.S. Outer Continental Shelf
WASHINGTON, DC – As part of President Obama’s all-of-the-above energy strategy to continue to expand safe and responsible domestic energy production, Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell and Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) Director Abigail Ross Hopper today announced the next step in the development of the nation's Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Oil and Gas Leasing Program for 2017-2022.
The Draft Proposed Program (DPP) includes 14 potential lease sales in eight planning areas – 10 sales in the Gulf of Mexico, three off the coast of Alaska, and one in a portion of the Mid- and South Atlantic.
“The safe and responsible development of our nation’s domestic energy resources is a key part of the President’s efforts to support American jobs and reduce our dependence on foreign oil,” said Secretary Jewell. “This is a balanced proposal that would make available nearly 80 percent of the undiscovered technically recoverable resources, while protecting areas that are simply too special to develop.”
Release of the draft is an early step in a multi-year process to develop a final offshore leasing program for 2017-2022. Before the program is finalized, the public will continue to have multiple opportunities to provide input. Today’s draft proposal was informed by more than 500,000 comments from a wide variety of stakeholders and states.
“The draft proposal prioritizes development in the Gulf of Mexico, which is rich in resources and has well-established infrastructure to support offshore oil and gas programs,” added Jewell. “We continue to consider oil and gas exploration in the Arctic and propose for further consideration a new area in the Atlantic Ocean, and we are committed to gathering the necessary science and information to develop resources the right way and in the right places. We look forward to continuing to hear from the public as we work to finalize the proposal.”
The OCS Lands Act requires the Secretary of the Interior to prepare a five-year program that includes a schedule of potential oil and gas lease sales and indicates the size, timing and location of proposed leasing activity as determined to best meet national energy needs, while addressing a range of economic, environmental and social considerations.
BOEM currently manages about 6,000 active OCS leases, covering more than 32 million acres – the vast majority in the Gulf of Mexico. In 2013, OCS oil and gas leases accounted for about 18 percent of domestic oil production and 5 percent of domestic natural gas production. This production generates billions of dollars in revenue for state and local governments and the U.S. taxpayer, while supporting hundreds of thousands of jobs.
A REGIONALLY TAILORED APPROACH
The draft proposal reflects a continuation of the regionally tailored leasing strategies employed in the current 2012-2017 Program that are specific to each planning area. The options in the draft proposal involve sales in offshore areas that have the highest oil and gas resource potential, highest industry interest, or are off the coasts of states that expressed a strong interest in potential energy exploration, while still considering potential environmental impacts, stakeholder concerns, and competing uses of ocean and coastal areas.
Gulf of Mexico:
The draft proposal includes ten sales in the Gulf of Mexico, one of the most productive basins in the world and where oil and gas infrastructure is well established. The draft proposal includes a new approach to lease sales in the Gulf of Mexico by proposing two annual lease sales in the Western, Central, and the portion of the Eastern Gulf of Mexico that is not subject to Congressional moratoria. This shifts from the traditional approach of one sale in the Western and a separate sale in the Central Gulf each year.
“This new approach will allow for BOEM to more effectively balance the sales while providing greater flexibility to industry to invest in the Gulf, particularly given the significant energy reforms recently adopted by the Mexican government,” said BOEM Director Hopper
In Alaska, the draft proposal continues to take a careful approach by utilizing the targeted leasing strategy set forth in the current program, which recognizes the substantial environmental, social and ecological concerns in the Arctic. The draft proposal proposes one sale each in the Chukchi Sea, Beaufort Sea, and Cook Inlet areas.
Also today, President Obama – using his authorities under the OCS Lands Act – designated portions of the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas as off limits from consideration for future oil and gas leasing in order to protect areas of critical importance to subsistence use by Alaska Natives, as well as for their unique and sensitive environmental resources. In December, President Obama used this same authority to place the waters of Bristol Bay off limits to oil and gas development, protecting an area known for its world-class fisheries and stunning beauty.
“We know the Arctic is an incredibly unique environment, so we’re continuing to take a balanced and careful approach to development,” said Jewell. “At the same time, the President is taking thoughtful action to protect areas that are critical to the needs of Alaska Natives and wildlife.”
Four of the five areas withdrawn today by President Obama were previously excluded from leasing in the current 2012-2017 oil and gas program; three of the five were also excluded by the prior administration. Those areas include the Barrow and Kaktovik whaling areas in the Beaufort Sea, and a 25-mile coastal buffer and subsistence areas in the Chukchi Sea. The withdrawal also includes the biologically rich Hanna Shoal area in the Chukchi Sea, which has not previously been excluded from leasing. Extensive scientific research has found this area to be of critical importance to many marine species, including Pacific walruses and bearded seals.
The proposed Alaska sales would be scheduled late in the program to provide additional opportunity to gather and evaluate information regarding environmental issues, subsistence use needs, infrastructure capabilities, and results from any exploration activity associated with existing leases from previous sales.
The draft proposal invites public comment on one potential lease sale late in the program for a portion of the Mid- and South Atlantic OCS, which includes areas offshore Virginia, North and South Carolina and Georgia.
“At this early stage in considering a lease sale in the Atlantic, we are looking to build up our understanding of resource potential, as well as risks to the environment and other uses,” said Jewell.
The potential lease sale would require a 50-mile coastal buffer to minimize multiple use conflicts, such as those from Department of Defense and NASA activities, renewable energy activities, commercial and recreational fishing, critical habitat needs for wildlife and other environmental concerns.
The July 2014 Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement on Atlantic Geological and Geophysical activities furthered the Atlantic area strategy by establishing a path forward to update information on the region’s offshore oil and gas resources, which is more than 30 years old. Today’s proposal is in line with comments received from adjacent states and reflects the Administration’s thoughtful approach to potential lease sales in new areas, pending further public review and comment.
Areas off the Pacific coast are not included in this draft proposal, consistent with the long-standing position of the Pacific coast states opposed to oil and gas development off their coast.
“Public input is a critical part of our process and we encourage citizens and groups to provide comments to help guide our decisions,” said Hopper. “We anticipate robust dialogue with stakeholders in the coming months that will help us prepare a program that emphasizes protection of the marine environment and coastal economies and uses the best available science and technology to inform our decision-making.”
In conjunction with the announcement of the DPP, the Department is also publishing a Notice of Intent to Develop a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). Following significant public comment and environmental review, the Department will prepare a Draft EIS and Proposed Program, and a Final EIS with the Proposed Final Program (PFP).
The Request for Information, published on June 16, 2014, began a process of broad consideration of all 26 areas of the OCS that are available for leasing and gradually narrows as a result of many stages of public comment and environmental analysis. This DPP is the first such narrowing. Prior to any individual lease sale in the future, BOEM will continue to incorporate new scientific information and stakeholder feedback in its environmental reviews to further refine the geographic scope of the lease areas.
The Draft Proposed Program and the Notice of Intent to Develop a Draft Environmental Impact Statement will be available for public comment for 60 days following the publication of the documents in the Federal Register.
For more information, including maps, please visit: http://www.boem.gov/Five-Year-Program/
President Obama this weekend announced plans to designate 12.3 million additional acres on Alaska’s North Slope as wilderness. This new designation – which should not be possible by virtue of ANILCA’s “no more” wilderness clauses – would be on top of the seven million wilderness acres already within the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
The president is “very proud” of himself, but maybe you heard – most Alaskans do not share that feeling. From what we’ve heard, most Alaskans agree with Sen. Murkowski, who expressed genuine anger onSunday nightin the wake of the first of several anti-Alaska energy actions that the Obama Administration plans to take.
As is typical, the White House couldn’t imagine why anyone would disagree with its political choices. Counselor John Podesta even tried to declare that Senator Murkowski’s strong response was not “warranted”as part of a statement clearly confirming that it was.
That leaves us with a question: if Sen. Murkowski’s response was not “warranted,” what about the reactions of other Alaskans? What does the White House think when a Democratic member of the Alaska State House of Representatives, an Alaska Native who represents the Arctic, expresses his own shock and disappointment over the president’s announcement?
Ben Nageak is a Democrat. He is an Alaska Native. He is an elected representative of the people who actually live in and around ANWR. He is angry about the White House’s ANWR plans, too. And, in a post yesterday on an Alaska news blog, he told it exactly as it is.
Mr. Negeak’s entire op-ed is included below.
So, Mr. Podesta, what do you think: was Ben Negeak’s reaction also unwarranted?
KTUU: Alaska Native desires for ANWR fall on deaf ears thousands of miles away
by Ben Nageak
Alaska Natives have been fighting for access to the lands and resources within the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge since the Congress enacted the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act more than 30 years ago.
President Barack Obama and his lieutenants at the Interior Department will permanently harm our people and all Alaskans with his colonial attitude and decision-making. We were promised through ANILCA and the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act, the opportunity to self-govern and build our own futures to some extent, through the formation of regional and village corporations, and the selection of lands to manage.
My people, the Inupiaq, have been harvesting the region’s renewable resources since time immemorial, and it’s time the federal government quit tying our hands behind our backs. Let us have access to our lands, for the betterment of our people, the state and the nation as a whole.
It’s terrifying to see the extent by which our pleas for time and a fair airing of our views fall on deaf ears five thousand miles away. President Obama said ANWR has supported native communities, and he’s right. Where he is wrong, very wrong, is in his interpretation that ANWR is fragile.
Our land in the north is resilient, hard, unrelenting. We have adapted to coexist with it and its wildlife over millennia. President Obama’s decision, locking up 12.8 million acres, only serves to further reduce our stewardship role, and the 10-02 set aside, which was specifically singled out due to its rich oil and gas potential.
Now, let us better support our children and grandchildren by responsibly developing our resources. We have been careful stewards of our fish and game resources for as long as our history is recorded – the State of Alaska has some of the strictest and rigorous environmental controls on the planet. We have proven that we can and will act responsibly.
Our people and our state need access to that oil and gas to heat our homes and buildings, power our snow machines and four wheelers, and earn revenues to support our core community services. The area outlined for development is similar in size to Reagan National Airport in the president’s backyard; its impact will be less than one-tenth of 1 percent of the total Coastal Plain.
We have been advocating the opening of ANWR for decades, and our voice and our values have not changed, only the marionettes in Washington, D.C.
Our frustration grows with every passing season, as the Section 10-02 and 10-03 language is a ticking clock to when all of ANWR must be managed as Wilderness. We must establish and allow for exploration and development now, when it can help us secure our future and contribute the resource to our state and nation.
We will work with our congressional delegation and governor to continue to make our voice heard. I’m, personally, sad that proposal has come forward. It only strengthens my resolve to continue speaking out. AllAlaskans must join in and present a unified voice asking for inclusion in the process and honory our statehood and ANCSA/ANILCA promises.
From our friends at the North Slope Borough, courtesy of David (D.J.) Fauske
North Slope Borough Decries Interior Department Plans for Arctic National Wildlife Refuge Wilderness Designations
(Barrow, AK)—“Today’s announcement by the Department of the Interior represents the worst of Washington politics,” announced Mayor Charlotte Brower (NGP Photo). “These types of paternalistic, executive fiats seem to be more appropriate for Andrew Jackson’s administration than Barack Obama’s.
The people of the North Slope have been unequivocal in their opposition to further Wilderness designations in ANWR. How ironic is this decision on the heels of this week’s earlier Executive Order calling for federal agencies to consult more with Alaska Native people over arctic issues.”
Mayor Brower made her remarks shortly after reading the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s announcement and watching President Obama’s video message. The North Slope Borough had expressed its opposition to any further Wilderness designations within ANWR through written comments submitted to the Wildlife Service in 2011.
“We would like to invite President Obama and Secretary Jewell to travel to ANWR and meet with the people who actually live there before proposing these types of sweeping land designations,” remarked Mayor Brower. “They might learn that the Inupiat people, who have lived on and cared for these lands for millennia, have no interest in living like relics in a giant, open-air museum. Rather, they hope to have the same rights and privileges enjoyed by people across the rest of the country.”
Urgent note from our friends at the Alaska Support Industry Alliance.
Our emailed submission:
Please register this as a voice in support of the proposed Donlin Mine and its associated gas pipeline.
The pipeline enables the favorable economics developed by Donlin management and serves the public interest.
A critical advantage is that rural residents will be given a new energy lifeline at the most reasonable possible price for fuel. Furthermore, provision of numerous well paying, local jobs is a project component desperately needed in the proximity of the mine and its pipeline.
Regulatory Commission of Alaska (Retired)
DEADLINE Tomorrow, January 28th, is the deadline for comments to the State Pipeline Coordinator’s Office supporting the right-of-way application that Donlin Gold has submitted for their gas pipeline from Cook Inlet to the proposed project site.
In addition to providing energy for the Donlin project, the pipeline has the potential to offer local communities access to stable energy should they choose to tie into the pipeline in the future.More information about the pipeline and right-of-way request can be found on Donlin’s website at www.donlingold.com
Comments may be sent via mail, email or fax to:
State of Alaska Department of Natural Resources
State Pipeline Coordinator’s Office
411 West 4th Avenue, Suite 2
Anchorage, AK 99501
Here's a reader letter: You're a great American, Steve!
From: Connelly, Stephen
Sent: Monday, January 26, 2015 11:04 AM
Subject: Donlin Gold Gas Pipeline Right of Way
To: DNR State Pipeline Coordinator’s Office
I am writing to support Donlin Gold’s right of way request for a gas pipeline from Cook inlet to the proposed Donlin Gold project site. In addition to supplying a source of energy for the Donlin project, it will also bring natural gas closer to rural Alaska and offer a potentially lower cost energy option. Coupled with the jobs to be created by the Donlin project and the pipeline construction, the gas pipeline will be a tremendous benefit to the residents of that region.
Since the pipeline will be buried, the environmental impact will be negligible. This pipeline will be a win-win for the State of Alaska in a region with few job opportunities and a high cost of living.
11860 Nebesna Dr.
Anchorage, AK 99507
The decline in oil drilling that has occurred so far across the United States is probably enough to ensure U.S. production peaks by April or May, though that might not be evident until June or July given delays in publishing production records. If the number of active rigs continues to decline in...
A Good Father Figure
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan, and Rep. Don Young will hold a press conference today at 2 p.m. in the Senate Radio and TV gallery to respond to the Obama administration’s efforts to lock up millions of acres of the nation’s richest oil and natural gas prospects on the Arctic coastal plain and move to block development of Alaska’s offshore resources.
We will report.... -dh
For those keeping a close eye on the Alaska economy, Alaskanomics produced this report today:
The Department of Labor and Workforce Development release its monthly unemployment numbers on Friday. The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for December was down to 6.3 percent. The national rate was 5.6 percent for the same period. Alaska’s unadjusted rate was also at 6.3 percent for December.
The Municipality of Anchorage and the North Slope Borough were the only areas that did not have an increase in the unemployment rate. Anchorage is less subject to seasonal shifts and the North Slope Borough saw an increase with winter construction. The North Slope Borough has the lowest unemployment in the State at 3.7 percent, while Hoonah-Angoon Census Area has the highest with 21.6 percent.
Yesterday as I was considering the President's continuing and escalating attack on Alaska's statehood act, constitution and people my mind wandered to how other presidents would be acting.
I first thought of the "Father" of the United States, George Washington. He endured great hardship with his troops. He left family behind to fight the nation's enemies. He protected his people and defended them against internal and external threats. And, he refused to become "President for life" when the people urged him to do so.
I think of Abraham Lincoln, the father of American unity who poured his energy, soul and his very life into service of his country.
And, I think of their mutual devotion to our Creator, without whom the country could not have achieved maturity and without whom the country cannot long remain great or even exist.
Then, I think of our current president who vacations while his people fight; who deceives the people on all manner of domestic issues; who aligns himself with communists, socialists and anarchists bent on destruction of America's way of life; who will not come to the aid of soldiers and diplomats locked in mortal combat and hesitates not to leave them behind to the cruel devices of our enemies; who claims credit for energy and economic accomplishments occurring in spite of his contrary efforts; who actively blocks energy, mining, timber and other multiple use, wealth and job producing activity on public lands...and so much more.
One asks, when the president of a country birthed in sacrifice and devotion to Christian service separates himself from that legacy, what can the future hold for citizens?
None of us is perfect. Presidents aren't perfect. And, regular fathers of families are imperfect, too.
Perfection in our presidents and our fathers is not the issue. The issue is the purpose, devotion and example of life set for a father's children or a president's citizenry.
On this side let's say you have a father who acknowledges his imperfection yet strives with devotion to his heavenly Father to care for, protect and guide his children to healthy, adult outcomes.
And, on this side, you have a proud, imperfect father who does not seek the kingdom of heaven, scorns it and thereby neglects the time honored rules of the spirit and of living. Can he with that lack of foundation care for, protect and guide his children to healthy adult outcomes?
If a president consorts with those who would deprive his children of freedom and the opportunity of free enterprise can that be called protection?
If a president demonizes opponents to win an argument, can that lead citizens to healthy outcomes?
If a president seeks luxury while his citizens suffer in war or other depravations, can he be said to nobly guide them?
Enough of the Father analogies. They might just as well have been "mother" analogies or "cousin" analogies.
The point is this. We don't have much choice about the family into which we are born. We do get to have the leadership we elect. If the majority of Americans supports the kind of leadership we have, it will continue and its goals will change the culture and nature of the nation.
If the majority comes to believe that the traditional values of founding Fathers are critical to America's future, America might prosper, survive and enjoy a continuing mantle of protection.
For one, I am for good father and mother figures as defined above and reject the alternative.
It remains to be seen if the majority of my fellow citizens agree or prefer the new direction upon which we are now embarked.
One way leads to historically proven, laudable, protected and peaceful outcomes. The other way, history shows, leads to dictatorship, misery and loss of freedom.
It's time to make a choice and act upon it.
Today we focus on northern energy highlights so that readers can join us in appreciating the bigger picture and how each of our own special interests is framed within it. (Send us your comments and go here for yesterday's related commentary. -dh
Today, we would add these comments to the observations in yesterday's essay:
1. We did our best, yesterday, to portray the major components of what we believe to be the most serious leadership challenge in Alaska's history--and made some observations about Canada's energy challenges. We urge readers to scroll down and carefully review the object lessons that might be gleaned from yesterday's essay. (We who fail to learn from history are condemned to repeat it. -apologies to Edmund Burke, et. al.) -dh
2. Earlier this month, the Alaska Support Industry Alliance held its annual, Meet Alaska Conference. While the overall tenor of the conference was positive and optimistic, that determination was, in part, the result of "keeping a stiff upper lip", as we discussed in yesterday's essay. Below, we will be posting MEET ALASKA event photos.
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Alaska Journal of Commerce writer Tim Bradner writes: There was an apprehensive mood among oil support contractors and service companies at the Alaska Support Industry Alliance’s annual “Meet Alaska” conference in Anchorage Jan. 9. Activity is still bustling on the North Slope despite the steady slide of crude oil prices — Alaska crude oil slid to $50 per barrel last week — but contractors worry that the layoff of rigs, crews and budget cuts being seen in the Lower 48 will spread to Alaska.
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Petroleum News' Alan Bailey reported that, "Likening the challenges in Alaska over oil price volatility to the challenges of driving a snow machine across rough terrain, John Minge (NGP Photo), president of BP America, told the Alaska Support Industry Alliance’s Meet Alaska conference Jan. 9 that it is important to stay the course."
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Go to the Alliance webpage here to view several of the MEET ALASKA PowerPoint presentations.
3. Thursday, if you are in Anchorage, plan to attend the Alaska Support Industry Alliance breakfast briefing by the Alaska Deputy Commissioner of Revenue Marcia Davis. That will coincide with the Governor's legislative budget speech to the Legislature. Important days upon us....
ALASKA SUPPORT INDUSTRY ALLIANCE, MEET ALASKA 2015, EVENT PHOTOS
Marianne Kah, Chief Economist, ConocoPhillips
Alliance Trade Show Participants:
Eric Dompeling, SolstenXP
Todd Jones, Alaska Glacier
Caroline Higgins, Consumer Energy Alliance - Alaska
Alliance and General Support Staff:
(More photos coming....)
Throughback to 2004:
The Prince - Romeo & Juliet
Essay: Maintaining Optimism In A Challenging Environment
An essay to assist both Alaska citizens and our thousands of readers abroad in understanding the critical circumstances now confronting the 49th state.
America invented the term, “Keep a stiff upper lip”, exactly two hundred years ago in a book entitled, "Massachusetts Spy". The Brits adopted the term and now oil producers throughout the world are repeating it to stay calm in the face of what may be a prolonged period of low oil prices.
We will first sympathize with Alberta’s new Premier, one of the best and brightest elected officials in North America. Jim Prentice (NGP Photo) inherited a southern neighbor whose president is guided more by political debts to environmental extremists than the public interest.
Prentice also entered office just as oil prices began to plummet, putting his Province in a similar but much less severe fiscal crisis than Alaska faces (See box, lower left).
Alaska's situation is more critical than Alberta's, because its budget is over 90% dependent on its declining oil production vs. Alberta's 10% dependency on oil sands royalties. Note in the link above the decisive steps Premier Prentice is considering. With a much more dire fiscal challenge, will Alaska undertake decisive measures this legislative session, as Alberta seems to be doing, or will Alaska fund deficits with the remaining state savings?
Note to: Elected Officials
We hope there is not one elected official in Alaska (i.e. Governor, Mayor, Assembly or Council or School Board member) who has had a conversation at home with a significant other, like this:
"Honey, you know the situation is dire. We have had deficit budgets for some time now. But with 50% lower oil prices, we'll burn through the savings in a couple years. And still, we have almost a $10 billion unfunded PERS/TERS liability. (Though if worst comes to worst a bankruptcy court would order the permanent fund to keep our state pensions whole, I think). Hopefully, we'll see another boom in discoveries or in prices...but if not, we have to make plans. So I'm thinking we just stay in office through 2017, keep a low profile, then make our move. Are you O.K. with that?"
Surely no elected official would swear an oath of office and decide to do nothing requiring courage or sacrifice to confront the fiscal shortfalls -- like cut capital projects, operational spending, even matching government programs and even entitlement programs.
We realize that these challenges are not fun for politicians.
But we hope we elected statesmen and not politicians, for the latter care too much about pleasing constituencies and guaranteeing reelection.
Statesmen will be willing to be vilified and defeated in order to make decisions that best serve the public interest.
So now, we suggest that all those who wanted to serve and are serving will meet their moments of truth in short order.
Will they take the easy road and keep all beneficiaries of state spending whole -- subsidized by remaining savings, then split...?
Or, will they lay it all on the line for their fellow citizens knowing that their 'thanks' may well be the disdain of thousands of constituents who wanted and did not receive money transfers from government.
We truly do sympathize, Honorable Elected Officials...just as we sympathize and respect military veterans who have served their country and been willing to give it all for the rest of us.
Thank you, in advance, for your service.
Exacerbating President Obama’s delay and perhaps an ultimate blockade of TransCanada Corporation's Keystone XL oil pipeline --designed to move stranded oil sands oil in Northern Alberta to America’s gulf coast -- is a second negative development. Environmental groups and utility interests in Quebec are trying to block the converting of an old gas pipeline into an oil pipeline, through which TransCanada could ship Alberta’s oil to European markets (See our commentary).
Then we have TransCanada’s effort (i.e. along with that of dozens of companies and governments) for a half century to move stranded Arctic gas from Alaska and the McKenzie Delta to Midwestern markets via a number of projects. We could certainly sympathize with TransCanada shareholders and those paying tariffs on its existing pipelines, for they have been sporting stiff upper lips for a long time.
Surging oil and gas shale technology less than a decade ago, evolved into a true energy revolution. The extended and expanded reach of shale production on mostly private lands touched almost everyone. Consumers have experienced lower prices for gas fired electricity, home heating and gasoline. Manufacturers depending on low cost energy began expanding North American operations. Investors launched several dozen American and Canadian LNG export projects. Job growth has been phenomenal. European energy markets began to envision a day when Russian producers could not control their destinies through price and supply manipulation. Finally, Asian markets used to paying premium prices for imported LNG began to see a softening of consumer prices.
The Canadian provincial and federal governments were supporting energy development in spite of significant environmental activism. Oil prices supported the relatively expensive production of Northern Alberta bitumen.
In the US, the last few years saw production on private land cause economic rejuvenation in many pro-energy states, in spite of Federal government support of environment activism aimed at killing projects on both private and public lands. Ironically, the Administration has gone on to claim credit for the economic improvements, even as it intensifies EPA opposition to energy specifically and job development generally.
As economic cycles would have it, all is not well in the world. The shale revolution was not just good for consumers; it was GREAT. So great that with supply increasing oil & gas prices began to retreat along with commodity values. That, in turn, has brought many shale operational revenues beneath or close to the cost of production. Combined with Canada’s inability to export necessary volumes of Alberta oil, North America’s two great economies are now facing giant economic challenges.
Federal, provincial, state and local governments throughout the US and Canada are now engaged in cutting or plans to cut government services in response to the diminishing production of energy wealth.
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Alaska may be facing the single greatest economic challenge in the free world for many reasons that, together, compose a perfect storm of economic hurdles, including:
- With its operating government budget over 90% dependent on oil income, along with over a third of its entire economy, Alaska is the most dependent of North America's state or provincial governments on oil revenue— now down by 50% over the last few months.
- Alaska is the U.S. producing area most dependent on high prices. High oil prices help compensate for some of the highest oil taxes, the harshest climate, the highest labor costs, its remoteness and distance to the markets and the additional cost liability of having to move its oil via an expensive, underused and ageing 800-mile pipeline to tidewater where it has to be loaded onto seagoing tankers capable of transporting it thousands of miles to markets. In stark contrast, its biggest competitors produce oil mostly at tidewater, mostly in temperate zones, mostly in lower labor cost areas, with lower logistical costs and cheaper transport to their market areas.
- Alaska’s nearly 40-year-old Trans Alaska Pipeline System (TAPS), has already moved the lion’s share of Prudhoe Bay oil. It once transported the greatest share of America's domestic production (i.e. But has now fallen behind North Dakota, Texas and California) at the rate of about 2.1 million barrels per day. That production rate has since sunk by over 70%.
- Governor Sara Palin’s (NGP Photo) administration succeeded, nearly a decade ago, in attaching high, progressive production taxes on Alaskan oil in spite of what was then a pattern of annual 5-7% declines in TAPS throughput. That economically suicidal action dried up new investment even though producers needed to hire more people and initiate more projects just to maintain the decades-old production and transportation facilities. Two years ago, the Legislature saw the error of Alaska’s shortsighted ways and passed SB 21, modifying the production tax. Talk quickly spread around the industry that new investment and exploration was now possible and being planned – hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth. Unfortunately, opponents of SB 21 and environmental groups undertook a voters initiative to repeal SB 21, inserting dark clouds of caution over the investment climate. After spending millions of dollars to combat the initiative Alaskan citizens and businesses defeated it last August. Still, investors are left with the nagging knowledge that in Alaska, “A Deal May Not Be A Deal”, since a few guys and gals with a volunteer lawyer and dozens of activist organization volunteers could initiate a new voters initiative at any time.
If Alaskan citizens and their leaders summon the faith, humility, wisdom, cooperation, sacrifice, initiative and diligence required by GREAT ACCOMPLISHMENT, the future can still be bright for this generation and those to follow.
This is where optimism is to be found.
One must add to this mix the fact that Alaska’s huge resource potential has been slowed or stopped at almost every turn by a hostile and overreaching federal administration whose cheerleaders are activist environmental groups that in the last 3 decades have implanted some three dozen anti-development campaign offices around Alaska.
- Alaska’s North Slope gas remains stranded. Several projects over the years – all involving TransCanada – have endeavored to free that energy wealth since the early 1970s. All of the projects have failed after having met the wrong end of unforeseen economic or technological forces. When natural gas prices exploded at the turn of the century, producers again began eyeing the economic feasibility of “monetizing Alaska North Slope gas”. After spending a hundred million dollars to update studies, they affirmed one of the critical requirements for investment to be, “fiscal certainty”. This meant that investors couldn’t justify building the largest construction project in history with the chance a “sovereign” state government could enact massive new taxes after a multi-billion dollar, high pressure gas pipe was buried into the frozen tundra. Then, just as feasibility was looking promising, came the Palin Progressive Production tax. Today, following the passage of SB 21, producers and the State of Alaska have dramatically changed the gas project. Because of shale, the gas is not needed in the Midwest. So now, with falling revenue and fading economic hopes, the state, producers and TransCanada are endeavoring to prove out the feasibility of an Alaska LNG export project …targeting Asia…just as gas prices are falling and over a dozen LNG projects (i.e. see map) throughout the US and Canada are mostly vying for the same markets.
- Alaska defends its high cost of government because of its enormous size (i.e. 20% the size of the entire US), its low population (i.e. less than a million), and logistical costs. But excuses don’t matter in a world of competition and excuses cannot erase the facts:
- Alaska spends more per capita than any other state.
- Alaska’s debt is larger per capita than that of any other state or the federal government.
- Its per capita education costs are the highest.
- Alaska government and citizens fund the most non-profit organizations per capita.
- Alaska’s anti-business legislators and activist groups normally seek higher taxes to meet the challenges rather than restrain government spending. The republicans locally, as nationally, are generally in support of a sustainable economy. But just as all democrats are not socialists, all republicans are not prudent guardians of other people’s money and often let spending/entitlement increases slide through in exchange for capital projects, constituent tax breaks, etc.
- Alaska’s legislative session is now beginning and the previous governor’s budget under consideration is now several billion dollars short. This requires a possible tapping into about $3 billion of nearly $10 billion in savings. Any second grader knows that’s not sustainable for long. But to make matters more interesting, rating agencies are noting that Alaska also has an unfunded liability to its retirement program of almost $10 billion. The obvious way to fund that deficiency is to tap Alaska’s $50 billion permanent fund. The permanent fund was created two decades after statehood to fund ‘rainy day’ budgets but has been traditionally used to pay citizens an annual allotment, last year approaching $2,000 for each man, woman and child. It has become sacred income to voters.
Last November Alaskans elected a new governor whose primary constituencies were rural Alaskans, democrats, and labor. So far, Governor Bill Walker (NGP Photo) has ordered a slowing of spending on capital projects but has not, at this writing, undertaken serious cuts to state government operations or entitlement programs. We'll hear more this week as he delivers separate state of the state and budget speeches.
Some hope, through stiff upper lips and gritted teeth that another boom of some sort will appear just in time to facilitate continued high state spending.
Others believe that Alaska’s unparalleled rise in oil riches has come to an end and that serious, adult decisions must quickly be made.
Still others believe that Alaska’s 1959 Statehood Compact has been mortally wounded; they believe that federal regulation has so exacerbated the scenarios described above that only the most brilliant, persuasive, intelligent, savvy and charismatic leadership can now save the “Last Frontier” from federal hostility and its own tax and spend decisions.
So join us now in observing the tensions that will surely appear over the next four months of Alaska’s legislative session as, together, we witness leadership rising to the occasion, or not.
Meanwhile, keep a stiff upper lip!
Dave Harbour is Publisher of Northern Gas Pipelines. A former Chairman of the Regulatory Commission of Alaska, he also served as Chairman of the Gas Committee, Western Conference of Regulatory Utility Commissioners. Harbour is former Chairman of the Anchorage Chamber of Commerce and the Alaska Council on Economic Education. He has served in executive positions with three producing/pipeline companies and as a board member and officer of a number of non-profit corporations. His articles have appeared in hundreds of magazines, newspapers and on-line publications. He has delivered hundreds of speeches throughout North America and chaired oil and gas programs and conferences from Houston to Calgary, Edmonton, Anchorage and Inuvik. Contact the author.
Caution: We would urge our Arctic oriented readers to carefully follow this BSEE Arctic/General OCS Research Plan, for if contracts are given to organizations or professors that are predisposed to be agenda driven, the results may be less than scientific, less than objective. In short, one hopes we can avoid the situation wherein a Federal Administration sells leases, then does everything in its power to nullify action--at considerable expense to leaseholders and consumers. -dh
|But hold on.... Bradner has an update for this story.
Alaska Attorney General Craig Richards ... said in a Jan. 14 interview with the Journal that the current requirement keeps too much information from the public and that a new policy is being developed that will allow more open discussion of AK LNG issues in public while protecting certain private information
Alaska Journal of Commerce by Tim Bradner. The state’s political and resource communities are still buzzing about Gov. Bill Walker’s sudden firing Jan. 6 of three Alaska Gasline Development Corp. board members and his order that new board members not sign confidentiality pledges.
Apache Cuts This Week. WSJ by Lynn Cook. Apache Corp. is laying off as many as 250 employees this week in one of the first major workforce cuts at an American oil producer since crude prices began to plunge last summer.
|Washington Times. BP has announced it will cut an estimated 200 staff jobs and another 100 contracting jobs in light of falling oil prices.|
The Houston-based energy company, one of the biggest in the U.S., pumps oil and gas in places from Texas to Egypt and employs about 5,000 ...
(including Alaska, we might add. -dh)
Keystone XL Week's End Commentary
James R. Halloran
We have made it clear that our position is that Keystone XL will not be constructed, at least the five feet of pipeline that would cross the border. The basic weapon that will doom it is time. Its opponents will drag out the approval process until TransCanada gives up. The combination of litigation in multiple courts and dithering by Obama and his minions will drag out the process for years to come.
Much has been written about the Nebraska Supreme Court supposedly clearing the way for Obama acolytes to back into a four-corner stall. But according to Washington Analysis (below), Nebraska may be able to baby-sit the proposal for some additional time. Read the explanation below.
(Follow-up material coming....)