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      This is your public service 1-stop-shop for Alaskan and Canadian Arctic energy commentary, news, history, projects and people. We update it daily for you. It is the most timely and complete northern energy archive 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 name others existing before 2001.  -dh

 

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Commentary

Mackenzie Valley Oil Pipeline? Cook Inlet Gas For Fairbanks?

09 March 2015 8:03am

Watch live hearing  today @ 1 p.m. ADT re: HB 105, AIDEA BONDS; PROGRAMS; LOANS; Fairbanks LNG PROJECT (Note increased C.I. reserve estimates) ... Friday, Gas Larry Persily, Federal Coordinator, Kenai Peninsula gas pipeline, LNG, Photo by Dave HarbourPipeline Federal Coordinator's Office Closed; Larry Persily (NGP Photo) now Kenai Borough Gas Pipeline Coordinator ... AJOC, Midwest Utility Coming North To Alaska?

Alberta Oil Magazine by Richelle Wiseman.  (Mackenzie Valley Oil Pipeline?  See our earlier stories.  Photo, Invuik Church, Circa. 2002)

Inuvik, NWT, Church, Dome, Dave Harbour PhotoIt took nearly 40 years, one national inquiry and thousands of hours of negotiations, but in 2011 the National Energy Board finally approved the Mackenzie Valley gas pipeline. By then, there was just one problem: nobody really wanted to build it anymore. A massive pipeline that was once described as “the biggest project in the history of free enterprise” had been waylaid, ironically enough, by free enterprise. Gas prices were too low to justify the expense or generate a reasonable return for investors. And yet, there’s a movement afoot, driven by both government and industry officials, to build another major oil project in the North. Who said Canadians weren’t capable of optimism – or irony?  

Wall Street Journal -- Stupidity of Oil Export Ban....

Commentary: As Obama squashes TransCanada's Keystone, an army of Interveners seek to quash TransCanada's Energy East exit for oil sands crude.  And, more recently, Alaska's governor transfers support for the TransCanada/producer/state Alaska LNG project to a 100% government controlled gas pipeline, imperilling the former.  -dh    


Larry Persily, former federal coordinator for Alaska gas line projects, has accepted a position with the Kenai Borough government to include sharing information with the public about the Alaska LNG project and oil and gas issues in general. He will distribute the twice-a-week summaries in his new capacity. The update service will continue free of charge to readers.

Office of the Federal Coordinator is closed

The Office of the Federal Coordinator for Alaska Natural Gas Transportation Projects closed on March 7, 2015, due to lack of funding. Its website, Arcticgas.gov, is being maintained, but not updated, by the U.S. Arctic Research Commission, with assistance of Alaska Resources Library & Information Services (ARLIS) at the University of Alaska Anchorage.

Much of the office’s work also can be accessed online at The Pipe Files, a searchable digital library of hundreds of Alaska gas line project documents going back to the 1970s.

Congress created the Office of the Federal Coordinator in 2004 to help expedite and coordinate federal permitting for construction of a pipeline to move Alaska North Slope natural gas to North American markets. The current project under consideration by North Slope oil and gas producers involves piping the gas to a liquefaction plant in southcentral Alaska for export of LNG. More than 20 federal agencies are expected to have jurisdiction over that project.

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3-5-15 View Live Senate Arctic Hearing Now!

05 March 2015 6:08am

U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski, Arctic, Alaska, Dave Harbour PhotoTODAY AT 10 AM EASTERN, The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing to evaluate opportunities for the United States to build on its status as an ​Arctic nation for the betterment of the nation and those who live in the Arctic.

Charlotte Brower, Alaska North Slope Borough Mayor, Arctic Policy, Photo by Dave Harbour

U.S. Senator Lesil McGuire, Alaska Senate, Arctic Policy, Photo by Dave HarbourLisa Murkowski ​(NGP Photo-Upper L) chairs the hearing.  The hearing features North Slope Borough Mayor Charlotte Brower (NGP Photo-L.  Said federal Arctic policy works against Alaska's and America's future and is like painting a mailbox while the house burns down...."); and Alaska State Senator Lesil McGuire (NGP Photo); and Representative Bob Herron (Said Canada is key to the success of Alaska and all of America).  -dh  (View hearing here.)


TransCanada, Energy East Pipeline Map, NEB Intervenors

Today's State Spending Commentary by Dave Harbour


 

CBC News.  A New Anti-Energy Tactic: inundate TransCanada's Energy East pipeline regulatory process with nearly 2,000 requests for intervention?  If so, watch for enviro allies in the US to begin applying this technique throughout the U.S.  -dh  "The National Energy Board has received 1,805 applications to participate in the hearing for TransCanada Corp.'s proposed Energy East Pipeline...."


Alaska State Spending Commentary

by

Dave Harbour

Alaska's huge permanent fund fools everyone into thinking the state has no spending problem--including New York rating agencies that give Alaska a AAA bond rating.  

The New York analysts ignore that Alaska is basically insolvent right now -- setting aside the Permanent Fund -- when one cancels its estimated fiscal year-end savings of $9 billion with over $9 billion in the state's personnel retirement fund liability.  

Citizens in general just assume, "well, we'll have the permanent fund for a rainy day."  Rating agencies assume "prudent management" going forward when financial management has not been "prudent" for decades.  But our readers are not stupid.  They can envision a day of divisiveness ahead when every public safety and education lobbyist will be fighting retirees and unions and matching federal fund programs and revenue sharing municipalities for the Permanent Fund scraps.  

Yes, the time to control the budget is now, if not long past.  The fiscal cliff ahead comes closer, for every year of imprudent (i.e. deficit spending).  

Unfortunately, we see this independent governor and republican legislature kicking the can down the road once again, with only cosmetic operating budget cuts this year (We hope we are wrong and that courage will abound as necessary cuts are achieved.  Yet the most courageous, right-thinking elected officials are a small minority and their demands for fiscal responsibility seem muted as the legislative leadership tries to keep the ship of state from rocking too much this year.  We can envision many of these "leaders" retiring in the next year or two, hoping their own undeserved retirement checks are the first priority to fund by a permanent fund soon to be under siege.)

We believe odds are that rating agencies will soon be saying, "With its enormous Permanent Fund savings account, Alaska had the ability to weather volatile oil prices--assuming as we did that they would undertake prudent spending practices.  We regret that their lack of prudence now requires us to reevaluate Alaska's credit worthiness."  

Meanwhile, liberals and environmental activists must be rejoicing; the sooner Alaska depletes its savings, the sooner they can happily advocate higher natural resource taxes, exacerbating the death spiral of Alaska's economy and depopulation of the 49th state.

Below we provide readers with the raw data: we report.  You decide.  -dh


1.  Here is Commonwealth North's new Alaska state operating budget study ("...the state operating budget has increased 102% - from $2.2 billion in FY 2004 to $4.4 billion in 2014.")  More here....

2.  Above is the video -- along with a link -- of Governor Walker's recent presentation to New York rating agency financial analysts representing: Standard & Poor's, Moody's, and Fitch.

3.  Here are the rating agency reports accompanying the ratings they applied to Alaska.  More here....



The State’s Operating Budget: Critical Crossroads, Choices, and Opportunities  Posted: 04 Mar 2015 

Over recent years the state operating budget has increased 102% - from $2.2 billion in FY 2004 to $4.4 billion in 2014. In Commonwealth North's study on the Long Term Economic Sustainability for the State of Alaska (January 2013) they noted that the current level of spending is unsustainable and it's imperative that the state implement a long-term fiscal plan, which will require spending restraints. Fiscal discussions have primarily focused on the revenue side of the state's ledger and on capital project spending. Minimal public attention or discussion has been given to the recurring cost drivers of other state spending.

As a way to find solutions to the budget problems, Commonwealth North enlisted the help of its Fiscal Policy Study Group. The study group is co-chaired by CWN board members Eric Wohlforth and Cheryl Frasca and the group was asked to produce a study that aims to:

  • Increase the understanding of cost drivers of the operating budget over the last ten years and the forecasted impact over the next ten years.
  • Understand the impact and nature of formula-driven programs and the latitude for change.
  • Identify the effectiveness of state programs through a review of its performance measure framework in terms of results delivered and resources required.

More than 6 months of discussion and research allowed the group to produce a report that gives targeted suggestions to evaluate and reduce spending in the state’s operating budget. It is important to evaluate spending before addressing revenue because Alaskans will want to know that the state is being fiscally responsible before being asked/required to contribute to the state’s revenue. The recommendations from the report are below.

  • Immediately get Medicaid reforms underway to ensure the state can continue to provide services to those most in need. All formula-driven programs must be reviewed in terms of policy goals, results being achieved and cost effectiveness.
  • Administration, unions re-open negotiations to identify short and long-term savings in personnel and benefits costs.
  • Ensure all current revenue is available to fund highest priorities by placing all state revenue in the general fund unless external legal restrictions.
  • Undertake in-depth review of programs that examines effectiveness and appropriateness and engage citizens in these reviews. Report results to citizens and use data to inform budget decision-making.
  • Governor establish citizen-led commission to undertake such a review.
  • Establish a process similar to BRAC to implement package of recommendations that will be necessary to re-size state programs.
  • Governor and Legislature co-sponsor series of dialogues in which citizens better understand the challenge and through which they provide input on the choices they believe should be made.

Budget practices and process recommendations- Governor

Governor’s budget development

  • Citizen panels provide input into Governor’s proposed budget
  • Governor moves up budget submission to November 15 to give Legislature more time

Budget practices and process recommendations- Legislature

  • Revenue limit
    • Establish limit on savings used in any one year- provides additional pressure for spending reductions and prolongs availability of savings
    • Deposit all savings into statutory budget reserve- removes ¾ vote requirement to access Constitutional Budget Reserve
  • Create Joint Ways & Means committee
  • Establish revenue limit by defining, through resolution, amount of savings and other revenues available to fund next budget
  • Review revenue forecasting for reliability
  • Return to Constitution’s 120-day session
  • Increase interim work on budget
  • Special session(s) devoted to budget work if necessary
  • Increase time for budget work
  • Implement contingency plan for mid-year savings when significant drop in revenue

Each of these recommendations involves political obstacles and requires deliberative, thoughtful actions to ensure economic stability. Commonwealth North presented this study to public at an luncheon on February 25 and delivered the report to the Governor and the Legislature on the same day. Read the full report and presentation given by Eric Wohlforth and Cheryl Frasca.  


Rating Ag

ency Letters and Ratings

State Announcement: March 3, 2015 JUNEAU –Governor Bill Walker and Department of Revenue Commissioner Randall Hoffbeck today announced that the State of Alaska has received three separate AAA bond ratings from Moody’s Investor’s Service, Standard & Poor’s and Fitch Ratings. The announcements come after the bond rating agencies met in February with Governor Walker, Commissioner Hoffbeck and staff members of Departments of Natural Resources and Revenue. The meetings addressed growing concerns about Alaska’s declining oil revenue.

“This is excellent news,” Governor Walker said. “Three separate agencies have each given Alaska a triple-A bond rating, which will provide the state with unparalleled access to funding for future capital projects. I look forward to the opportunities this news will provide us in the years to come.”

A rating of AAA is the highest grade assigned by credit rating agencies. It is given to entities with an exceptional degree of credit worthiness, with little risk of loan default. As a result, Alaska will receive some of the lowest interest rates available when issuing or refinancing its bonds, saving the state millions of dollars in the coming years.

“Developing Alaska’s natural gas resources is one of the top priorities of this administration,” said Governor Walker. “Securing these bond ratings will help see such projects to fruition by attracting potential investors and allowing Alaska to get the biggest bang for its buck. I also want to thank past leaders, who had the wisdom to create large reserve funds—without which we could not have secured these coveted ratings.”

On March 10, the state is scheduled to sell its Series 2015A $162.7 million general obligation bond anticipation note to refinance its Series 2014A bond anticipation notes. In addition, on March 26 the state is scheduled to sell approximately $100 million of its Series 2015B general obligation bonds to refinance its Series 2009A general obligation bonds, saving the state an estimated $9 million in future interest costs.

Download Moody's rating here

Download the Fitch rating here

Read the S&P letter here

Read the S&P report here

###

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3-2-15 Here's Your Invitation To BOEM Day In Anchorage - What Do You Call It When Enviros Give Aid & Comfort To Anti-US/Canadian Energy Attacks?

02 March 2015 5:59am

CEA invitation to attend TODAY'S Pre-BOEM hearing press conference and reception:

_____________

Wall Street Journal Video: Western NY cities trying to secede from anti-fracking state to join Pennsylvania where fracking produces wealth and jobs.  Also ... Russia flowing money through anti-fracking groups to stall US fracking projects (Note that some of the groups named in these various reports are TransCanada, Keystone XL opponents).  

Does Russian and middle eastern money laundered via US environmental activist groups to oppose US Energy Independence = Foreign Aggression + US Enviro Disloyalty = Foreign/Domestic Enviro Conspiracy?   

Could this be a conspiracy that gives aid and comfort to enemies of North American energy and national security?  

With the evidence we do have, we must also ask if other leftist allies are involved in developing/executing this Anti-American strategy.   

Based on the foregoing revelations, we now wonder if any Clinton Foundation donations from Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, and Oman (some of whom have been aggressive supporters of terrorist organizations) have been funneled to hostile, anti-US/Canadian energy independence efforts by enviro-activists.  

We suspect that someday the truth will out....         -dh                                


PRE-HEARING Press Conference & Reception: Alaska and the Federal Government's New Five-Year Offshore Lease Sale Plan

Please come out to show your support for Alaskan energy before the Department of Interior's (DOI) Public Hearing on the Proposed Five-Year Offshore Lease Plan.

TODAY: March 2, 2015

RSVP HERE FOR FREE RECEPTION AND NEWS CONFERENCE
Reception: 2:00 pm-5:00 pm
Press Conference: 2:15 pm, prior to DOI public hearing at 3:00 pm
Anchorage Marriott Downtown
820 W 7th Ave, Anchorage, AK 99501

Confirmed Speakers:

David Holt, President of Consumer Energy Alliance

Andy Rogers, Deputy Director of the Alaska Chamber

Carl Portman, Deputy Director of the Resource Development Council of Alaska

Aves Thompson, Alaska Trucking Association

Former Lt. Governor Mead Treadwell

Vince Beltrami, AFL-CIO

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2-26-15 Please Review Yesterday's Commentary

26 February 2015 7:17am

What's next for Keystone XL?


We urge our gentle readers to review yesterday's posting; we cannot remember -- in well over a decade -- posting a more useful, relevant and actionable commentary for our Alaskan, Canadian and Lower 48 readers.  -dh

Alaskanomics by Mark Edwards.  

Understanding the Current Oil Price Environment - Part I  (See later Parts II and III)

Mark Edwards, Economist, Northrim Bank, Commonwealth North, Oil Prices, Photo by Dave HarbourOver the next couple of days, I will post a three part series about the current oil price environment in Alaska.

It is well known that Alaska’s economy is highly sensitive to the price of oil.  Billions of dollars in investment capital flow into the state each year as energy companies both explore for new oil and maintain their existing fields.  This activity has an enormous positive multiplier effect on the rest of the economy as major service industries including trucking, construction, finance, legal, engineering, retail and countless others see a direct benefit from the contracts and employment required to support this massive effort.   Read more....


 

 

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2-25-15 We Are Optimistic That Good Intent Will Win The Day Over Daunting Challenges!

25 February 2015 4:22am

We Are Optimistic That Good Intent Will Win The Day Over Daunting Challenges!

A tale of two pipelines and two chief executives: President Barack Obama and Governor Bill Walker

by

Dave Harbour  (Note: By Friday more links, references and other minor modifications will be added for archive purposes.)

Bill Walker, Alaska Governor, Barack Obama, Comparison, freedom, Photo by Dave Harbour, gas pipelines, oil line, agdc, asap, AkLNG, Keystone xlResultado de imagen para image, barack obamaWe must be optimistic!  After all, who wants to even contemplate the bankruptcy of Alaska or the destruction of America's way of life?

So in our Churchillian way, we will never, never, never, give in to pessimism and will fight to the bitter end…and overcome!

In doing so, like in actual war, we must count on our countrymen, the ones on either side of us sharing wet foxholes and stale food; the ones who watch as we sleep, with whom we share intimacies; the ones who would defend us then die or watch us die before each other’s eyes...and, the ones we have chosen to lead us.

So as Alaska strains to regain a sustainable economy, we believe that the best intent of our leader and his actions will pave the way to happy days again.

And we can see a brighter future ahead for the United States as we and our fellow countrymen feel our way through the morass of:  anti-energy rhetoric, stifling regulations, oppressive taxation, wildly expensive litigation at every turn, unpayable debt, coffers filled with fiat currency, diminished morals, a flatulent economy buoyed up on false assumptions and its declining military capability.

ALASKA

Our Alaska leader is a charismatic speaker and compelling character.  He was born in the state, is of humble and self-made background.  He is a survivor of the 1964 earthquake and Valdez Tsunami and successful attorney.  No one can doubt his singular focus on producing income for his family while following a lifetime dream to create a (Preferably government controlled) gas pipeline and LNG export project.  Readers might research the history of Organization for the Management of Alaska’s Resources (i.e. OMAR) and the Alaska Gasline Port Authority (Dubbed the “All Alaska Gas Pipeline”).  Walker’s history cannot be distinguished from the development of these organizations: cloaked in patriotic “all Alaska”, sometimes anti-Canadian, often anti-producer terminology, proudly plodding a path independent of the traditional business community, political parties and natural resource investors.

Governor Wally Hickel, Alaska, Howard Boyd, El Paso, OMAR, Dave Harbour PhotoGovernor Bill Walker speaks of Alaska as an "Owner State", hearkening back to Governor Walter J. Hickel's (NGP Photo) terminology.  We are convinced along with a majority of Alaskans that these two men have both had the state's best interest in mind.  Others reasonably think of "Owner State" as a socialist concept involving control from the top elite, redistribution of wealth, big government, high business taxes, and hostility to business owners (i.e. bourgeoisie). 

To those doubting his intent, the newly elected governor famously said in one of his first public speeches to a business gathering, as governor-elect, “I am not your enemy”.  He added, somewhat reassuringly, “You can’t be anything but pro-oil development in this state to be a successful governor in this state.”  We do see the point that while some may view the “state” (i.e. however that is defined) as the primary beneficiary of public policy, others might be concerned that “freedom of the citizens” should be the highest public policy priority—and not secondary to the “state”.

Governor Walker seems to be a man of intuition.  He acts on what he believes at the time out of good intent: to lead an Owner State.  This quality of flexibility led him to first file for public office as a republican, then gather a large democrat constituency by switching to an independent affiliation.  It was a crafty move that won him the governor’s office.  Walker had much of his original republican support base plus new, liberal voters who liked his pro-oil tax rhetoric, pro-government ownership theme, pro-social program expansion (i.e. Medicaid). 

He campaigned on cutting the state’s budget to a sustainable level, but facing the realities of office promoted only modest cuts to the Legislature.  As a campaigner, he generally supported the larger AK-LNG project involving the state, producers and TransCanada while opposing a smaller, Alaska Gasline Development Corporation (AGDC) alternative created by the Legislature and supported by Governor Parnell. Once in office, he replaced highly experienced AGDC board members with inexperienced citizens saying that their major qualification for service was that they were, “Alaskans”.  He then proceeded to switch his support, proposing a strengthening of the 100% government owned AGDC alternative as a competitor of the joint AKLNG project consortium which included the state.

We would note that while Walker qualified his inexperienced gas pipeline board appointees by dubbing them, “Alaskans”, he might also have said the same of himself. 

With his youthful experience as Mayor of Valdez and most of his legal career devoted to promoting an “All Alaska” gas pipeline, it could be said that his major qualification for leading thousands of state employees, governing wisely, representing Alaska to the world, negotiating in good faith with lawmakers and investors alike, is that he, too, is “an Alaskan”--

We have also written fairly extensively about a government controlled effort to finance and build for the community of Fairbanks a natural gas utility supplied by LNG from the Alaska North Slope.  During the campaign, Walker opposed the project of the previous administration.  At about the time of the election, the major contractor reported that the scheme to bring LNG from the North Slope via LNG trucks to be regasified and injected into a to-be-constructed, Fairbanks  gas distribution system was uneconomic.

After he was elected, the government agency responsible for developing the failed Fairbanks LNG project, announced that, “In conjunction with Governor Bill Walker…,” the Fairbanks LNG project would be refashioned into another Fairbanks LNG project, this time obtaining its gas source from the Cook Inlet area.  No one explained why using the Agency (i.e. Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority “AIDEA”) that created a failed Alaska North Slope LNG project for Fairbanks would be successful in designing and constructing a feasible Cook Inlet LNG project serving Fairbanks.   Neither AIDEA nor the Regulatory Commission of Alaska, to our knowledge, has considered the potential negative impact a Fairbanks LNG project would have on Anchorage natural gas consumers as competitive demand for the limited Cook Inlet gas supply will undoubtedly lead to higher Cook Inlet gas prices.

Earlier this week, we wrote that while we wished the new governor well we, “….hoped there was not a screw loose somewhere.” 

On the bright side, we can see how dogged determination and flexibility led Bill Walker to the governor’s office.  On the other side, we could be concerned about the wisdom of his decisions affecting the future of both the big Alaska LNG export project and the government coordinated Fairbanks gas utility experiment.

Here, Walker seems determined to have the government-owned AGDC project control the destiny of Alaska North Slope gas.  Over there, he seems determined to have the power of government force feed the economics of a small, interior Alaska city gas utility.  Between the two efforts, billions of dollars are at stake along with the economic health and future of the state.

These scenarios are playing out at a time when Alaska is the highest per capita spending state in the nation and the highest per capita debtor state in the nation.  One might say, “Well, but Alaska has few people and a lot of territory to cover.” 

That excuse for high per capita metrics might be convincing when there is plenty of money.  But Alaska’s operating budget is 90% dependent on declining Prudhoe Bay oil production as is over a third of the state’s entire economy.  Even with high oil prices last year (i.e. Over $100/bbl), the state was balancing deficit spending from its savings accounts.  The low oil price environment now finds the state’s savings,  this coming summer, to be in the $9 billion range whereas its Alaska state employee retirement account has an unfunded liability of almost $10 billion. 

The governor’s campaign focus on cutting operating budget spending to a sustainable $5.2 billion has faded and the majority of legislators seem unwilling to become the champions of spending restraint—even as the fiscal cliff approaches.  We regard this lack of leadership to flow from moral weakness: fear of loss of future legislative leadership positions, popularity, support, elections. 

Yet, we must remain optimistic that out of a republican led house and senate there will arise true leaders, true diplomats, true patriots who will work with (or, against)  the Governor to create a sustainable spending plan—no matter the political or personal fallout!

The low oil prices have also put a squeeze on oil production.  Naturally, oil companies worldwide are spending less on capital projects with oil at $50/bbl than they were when it was twice as valuable.  That phenomenon will exacerbate the drop in Alaska revenue from taxes and royalties over time, hastening Alaska’s coming day of fiscal reckoning.

We are left with no choice but to be optimistic.  Yes, we are realistic and understand the challenges.  But a majority of Alaskans elected Bill Walker to lead them out of the wilderness of insolvency to a new day of prosperity. 

We must be optimistic that our “All Alaska” governor has the insight, courage, wisdom and grace to be both humbled at the challenges he faces and capable enough to overcome them.  We are also optimistic that Walker’s propensity to be flexible will enable him to reverse course if he sees the ship of state headed toward rocky shoals.

United States

Just as we are optimistic about the good intent of Alaska’s leadership to overcome daunting challenge, so are we optimistic that the citizens of the United States can overcome the debilitating policies and actions of the person they elected as their president, twice.

Some say that the lawyer, professor, politician, community organizer who became President of the United States is incompetent.  On the contrary, we have followed his administration closely and believe him to be highly competent in achieving his goals. 

When he first ran for office, he promised to engage in “Fundamentally transforming the United States of America”.   We believe that none of his armies of excited supporters ever asked, "transform into what"?    A campaign slogan was, “Change we need”.  What kind of change?  To his constituency, these were powerful, emotional draws, though ill defined, similar to Governor Walker’s reliance on “All Alaska” themes.   Obama also admitted that his plan would cause utility rates to “Skyrocket” but we think most of his constituency may have felt shielded from those by 'LiHeap' and other federal subsidies.

Killing the Keystone XL Pipeline project is a good, contemporary example of "redistribution of prosperity." 

This project was supported by a majority of citizens.  It had regulatory support from the Obama State Department, since it would cross international boundaries.  It also had support from a few but not all unions.

And, it had the dedicated opposition of the entire, North American environmental community.

Killing Keystone meant killing 40k free enterprise jobs while creating six years worth of enormous fundraising cash flows for coffers of environmental activists.

In past years, the State Department professionals would have a legal record that supported approval and that would have been that: it was, simply, in the public interest.

But this administration's strategy of "prosperity redistribution" left no room for a public interest decision.  

This is why the current administration is also presiding over the corruption of America's traditional reliance on an even handed rule of law!

Since taking office, virtually every White House action has been carefully engineered to “redistribute prosperity” for political gain. 

The Administration has designed its programs to create prosperity for those supporting a big government, liberal regime and to pull the floor out from under those depending on private sector employment. 

This is not incompetence.  It is a highly competent operation designed to increase wellbeing -- and numbers-- of political supporters and undermine the wellbeing -- and numbers -- of political opponents. 

The President has faithfully executed his campaign promise of, “Fundamentally transforming the United States of America”. 

Today, we think it might be difficult to impossible, for even the White House's most fervent supporters, to discover more than a couple of major White House initiatives which have actually been designed to support traditional American values, culture, and the rule of law. 

Following are a few examples of the harmful changes to America’s values, customs and even the rule of law in support of the “redistribution of prosperity” strategy described above:

  • Energy and Environment
    • White House failure to approve Keystone XL pipeline in spite of overwhelming public support, greater energy independence, tens of thousands of private jobs, a positive environmental report from the State Department, improved relations with America’s largest trading partner, Canada.
    • Refusing to negotiate a favorable outcome and being 100% inflexible concerning the Keystone XL and other energy projects while negotiating weak US positions and outcomes against Russian imperialism,  Islamic Terrorists and countries supporting them.
    • EPA acting unconstitutionally, to preemptively disapprove an Alaska mining project being planned on Alaska state leased lands before the project had completed a mining plan or filed for even one mining permit with state or federal agencies.
    • USFWS acting with the White House to, de facto, apply wilderness status to ANWR’s 1002 area, designated by Congress for potential oil and gas exploration, without an act of Congress (i.e. violation of ‘no more’ clause of ANILCA).
    • BLM acting with White House support to restrict half of the Nation’s petroleum reserve in Alaska from petroleum exploration and development.
    • Corps of Engineers and EPA acting to block ConocoPhillips from reasonable infrastructure development in accessible portions of NPR-A.
    • Federal Government failing for decades to clean up federal government oil spills created by its own operations in the NPR-A…then demanding special funding from Congress to clean up messes as it should have done decades earlier.
    • Unrestrained and unreasonable application of the ESA throughout the western United States primarily aimed at blocking energy projects.
    • Creating a ‘war on coal’ which six years ago provided 40% of the nation’s electricity and the lowest cost electricity for American consumers.
    • BOEM and many other agencies providing ‘community outreach’ and other support to the White House’s Ocean Policy Task Force, thus unlawfully using money designated by Congress for one purpose to another purpose not approved by Congress.
    • Designating Critical Habitats under the ESA when species were not ‘endangered’ and whose populations were increasing (i.e. Steller Sea Lions and Polar Bear)
    • Using the EPA’s flimsy application of the CAA to stop Shell’s Arctic exploration of lawful, Federal leases
    • Sending EPA armed storm troopers into interior Alaska to look for non-existent CWA violations in mining camps
    • Using the Corps of Engineers to forward White House environmental agenda in conjunction with the EPA in on-shore areas (i.e. CD-5, Yukon River Bridge, etc.), rather than providing citizens with simple, agenda-free access to due process.
  • National defense
    • Using the U.S. Coast Guard to forward White House environmental agenda in Alaska’s waters when other Arctic nations are using their military forces to expand and protect Arctic jurisdiction for an area containing 20% of the world’s remaining oil and gas reserves.
    • Creating false ultimatums (i.e. red lines) for Syria and for Iran’s nuclear programs while ignoring the cries of mercy from Christians and other minorities under attack by ISIS.
    • Disrespecting White House military aids
    • Culling the ranks of loyal Generals and Flag Officers
    • Denying Purple Hearts for those killed or injured on base by Islamic terrorism
    • Giving aid and comfort to the enemy (Article III, Sec. 3, U.S. Constitution):
      • Engaging in treacherous and one sided terrorist prisoner exchanges resulting in unjustifiable release of some of "the worst of the worst".
      • Giving citizen rights to incarcerated terrorists
      • Publicly announcing plans for military operations
      • Publicly announcing plans for retreat from Iraq and Afghanistan
      • Releasing some of "the worst of the worst" terrorist detainees by executive fiat when the administration expects at least 30% to return to the battlefield, seeking to kill Americans and their allies.
    • Threatening the Ukraine’s destruction by failing to provide military aid or energy support to the NATO candidate.
  • General
    • FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn, Anchorage Visit, Net Neutrality, Photo by Dave Harbour“Fundamentally transforming the Internet” by having the FCC promulgate rules in secret to create government controls over that traditional, ubiquitous medium of free expression.  (We appreciate the courage of our friend, Democrat FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn (NGP Photo), who has second thoughts and could be the swing vote on this massive overreach orchestrated in large part by an overreaching White House.  The five commissioners vote tomorrow.)
    • IRS targeting of opposition, not-for-profit groups
    • Federal monitoring of AP
    • Federal targeting of Fox News
    • AG dropping charges against voter intimidation by black terrorist group
    • Federal non-enforcement of immigration laws
    • Irresponsible release of thousands of detained and incarcerated illegal aliens, a significant number of whom are convicted murderers, rapists or felons in general.
    • Irresponsible seeding of illegal aliens, including children, into cities throughout America without regard to educational, social, financial or communicable disease impacts on citizens.
    • Stimulus spending projects designed to funnel hundreds of billions of dollars into the coffers of the administration’s corporate and labor supporters
    • Unrestrained and unsustainable spending
    • Devaluation of U.S. currency over time (i.e. although in a world of QE, the dollar is the best of the worst currencies, for a time at least)
    • Continual stimulation of racial unrest in black communities by the AG and the President (i.e. Sharpton’s dozens of White House visits.)
    • Transformation of College Loan Program from private sector management to federal bureaucratic management.

We could go on and on.  And, we suspect our faithful readers could as well.

However, we now wish to end on our optimistic note:  that the pent up power of freedom, of the determination of America’s people to ‘do or die’ will overcome a breathtakingly competent socialist takeover of America’s government, culture and political structure.

Since optimism leads to action which leads to success, we also encourage our dear readers to carefully consider the old analogy.  The frog put in a pan of cold water does not realize he is cooked while the water temperature is slowly increased to boiling.  America is entering the boiling stage now.  Will citizens even realize the change that has enveloped their constitutional republic? 

Or will complacency lead to inaction, acceptance and a slow but sure end to our way of life?

We are optimistically betting that, soon enough, our collective psyche will awaken both to Alaska’s daunting challenges…and the duty to recapture America’s values, culture and rule of law traditions.

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2-23-15 We continue to wish Alaska's new governor well, but hope there's not a screw loose somewhere....

23 February 2015 8:19am

Bill Walker, Alaska Governor, gas pipeline, Photo by Dave HarbourIn tomorrow's posting, we'll explain why we struggle with the logic of recent public statements.  -dh

Meanwhile, we urge our readers to carefully listen to Governor Bill Walker's words from his news conference last week.

Then, we suggest that our discerning readers fill in any blank spaces by absorbing Walker's message in his Saturday, Mat-Su Frontiersman Op-ed piece:

From Sunday's Fairbanks News Miner comes this related Op-ed by Senator Cathy Giessel, Senate Resources Committee, Alaska gas pipeline, ASAP, Alaska LNG, Photo by Dave HarbourSenate Resources Committee Chairman, Cathy Giessel (NGP Photo): 
See Harold Heinze's 2-21-15 letter to Senator Giessel, here.

Walker sincerely shares the same goals as myself, my colleagues and the rest of the state: it’s high time we got our gas to market. But when it comes to how that goal is achieved, his proposed road is a funny one.  (See Rhonda McBride's KTVA commentary below.)

The governor had originally on the campaign called the AK LNG Project fatally flawed, that Alaska didn’t have a big enough stake in the project. Then the governor said the backup plan was redundant, that money was being spent twice. Once in office, the governor removed three highly qualified members of the Alaska Gasline Development Corporation board, and told his commissioners on the board to not sign confidentiality agreements, all in the name of transparency.

In contrast to the producer-driven AK LNG project, my intention is that ASAP be market-driven, with Alaska in control. Using existing funding, the project will explore market opportunities and financing arrangements with potential buyers of Alaska’s gas and will be designed for both in-state and export markets. Working with the buyers, the project will develop a financing plan anchored with long-term contracts for purchase of Alaska gas. 

What it comes down to is this: we will work with the producers to continue to develop the AK LNG project. With ASAP, we will work with gas buyers to secure the opportunities the market offers. Whichever project is first to produce a solid plan, and conditions acceptable to the state, will get the state’s full support. Or, perhaps the two projects could be combined at some point along the way.

Given our financial situation, we can no longer afford to stand by and wait while Alaska’s future is decided in the boardrooms of international corporations that have competing global interests.   (Also reference: FuelFix, Alaska Dispatch, Alaska Native News.  -dh)   


Governor’s actions on natural gas raise concerns for Republican majority

By Rhonda McBride, KTVA Commentary

...the governor did an about-face on a project he had campaigned against — the Alaska Stand Alone Pipeline project, known as ASAP, or the “Small Line” — as opposed to the “Big Line,” the Alaska Liquefied Natural Gas project, which so far has been the main focus of getting North Slope gas to market for both in-state use and export.


 

 

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