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

 

Commentary

4-8-14 What Do Underfunded Pensions Have To Do With An Alaska Gas Pipeline?

08 April 2014 9:07am

Remember this announcement, 5 years ago today?  ANCHORAGE, April 8, 2008 - BP [NYSE: BP] and ConocoPhillips [NYSE: COP] today announced they have combined resources to start Denali - The Alaska Gas Pipeline. The pipeline will move approximately four billion cubic feet of natural gas per day to markets, and will be the largest private sector construction project ever built in North America. The project combines the financial strength, arctic experience and technical resources of two of the most capable and experienced companies in the world.


Globe & Mail.  The U.S. Energy Information Administration reported last week that Canadian oil exports to the United States are the highest in at least four decades. 

Today, CongressmanDoc Hastings, ESA, Photo by Dave Harbour Doc Hastings' (NGP Photo) House Natural Resources Committee held a Full Committee legislative hearing on four straightforward bills to update the Endangered Species Act (ESA) for the 21st century and improve species recovery.   This effort works in the favor of Alaska's and America's economy without diminishing reasonable support for protecting truly endangered species.  -dh


Does Alaska's Pension Liability Threaten Gas Pipeline Viability?

(See SitNews Ketchikan Reprint)

by

Dave Harbour

Alaska spends more than it takes in.  To that extent must investors worry about when -- and not if -- the next tax proposal will creep over the horizon toward THEM.  

Below is the link to an Op-Ed wherein mayors (i.e. whose own retirements are at risk with underfunded pension liabilities) urge lawmakers to support the Governor's proposal to reduce the $12 billion unfunded pension liability by $3 billion.

Bill Corbus, Juneau, State Spending, Mine, Electric Utility, Photo by Dave HarbourToday's Juneau Empire Op-Ed.  See long-time Alaskan utility and natural resource expert, Bill Corbus' (NGP Photo) related opinion.  -dh

To do that, lawmakers will have to remove $3 billion from state savings accounts at a time when their deficit spending level requires use of depleting savings.

Oil production from Prudhoe Bay is declining, upon which 90% of state spending is based.  Oil revenue could continue its dramatic, annual production decline putting more reliance on savings accounts to balance an unsustainable state budget.

See Alyeska Pipeline Service Company President Tom Barrett, Alyeska Pipeline, oil, taxes, production, TAPS, Photo by Dave HarbourTom Barrett's (NGP photo) response to yesterday's Alaska state revenue forecast.  We believe that better than projected production decline rates are due to the passage a year ago of SB 21, which reformed Alaska's oil production tax.  -dh

Paying off the entire pension liability is impossible since Alaska doesn't have $12 billion in total savings available.  (4-10-14 Note: See "Understanding Alaska's Budget".  Some might say we have over $20 billion in savings available; but since political reality prevents expenditure of most of these sources for "government pension fund liabilities," they should not all be considered available.) 

Gas pipeline investors have to be wondering, "If I commit to a portion of a $40 - 60 billion gas pipeline/LNG export project and the state continues running out of money, how safe is my investment from predatory tax policy?"

Alaska has a track record of taxing for more than it needs to operate and, to add insult to injury, taxing the oil industry retroactively.  It has built the highest cost per capita bureaucracy in the nation.  Now, in the face of rising costs and diminished revenues it is urging oil companies to invest in a mega gas pipeline project so that revenue from that project a decade from now can fund the state's spending appetite.

Link to our reports and commentary on LNG competition, here.

Energy advisor, Keith Kohl, says in his communique today that, " Like us, Canada's National Energy Board has approved seven LNG export license applications — but unlike us, the first project slated to start tapping the Asian LNG markets as early as next year."

Meanwhile, dozens of pending LNG export projects in the the US and Canada are all romancing the same Asian energy consumers.  Experienced observers know that profit margins will likely be thinner than they hope for.  Asian utility managers are not stupid.  They will want the lowest possible "ship or pay" cost for LNG energy in return for their own "take or pay", long-term financial commitments.  (Some good, Lower 48 researchers are excited about Alaska's prospects, but may not be fully aware of investor concerns or competitive pressures from other export projects that we have covered in these pages.  -dh)

The LNG project that offers the lowest, competitive price to an Asian utility in return for a 20-year, firm contract, cannot afford to risk company solvency on "assurances" that Alaska will not create new energy taxes out of thin air and even apply them retroactively--thus altering project metrics and risk.  The risk that the contracted delivery price of LNG to an Asian market could be lower than the cost of delivering the LNG -- under a "ship or pay" arrangement, may be an unacceptable risk to a responsible investor.

So the final question that any gas pipeline investor might be asking now is, "Can Alaska assure my company that today's gas pipeline investment is safe from future tax increases when unfunded pension liabilities, run-away budgets and diminishing oil production pose a dreadful danger in spite of Joe Griffith, In-state gas, gas pipeline, electric utility, MEA, CEA, Photo by Dave Harbour, ANGDA, CWNany politician's soothing assurances and best intentions?"  

As our friend, utility manager Joe Griffith (NGP Photo), has often said, "Hope is not a strategy."  We all hope for conditions that will enable sustainable budgets and projects to supply both the jobs and the financial resources of the future.  But hope alone will not achieve that goal.  

What then is an answer to this Gordian knot of intertwining politics and energy policy?  Cut public spending to be consistent with income.  Cut welfare/entitlement spending to be consistent with median welfare spending of all other states.  Business taxes should not exceed median of business taxes in other states.  Institute new taxes only on new investment, not on prior investment.  Never tax retroactively.  Cut tax and regulatory burdens to essential and responsible needs.  Avoid state investment into private sector projects--which always involves politicians risking "Other Peoples' Money".  Of course, there are as many suggestions as there are people with opinions.

So is some combination of these and other responsible remedies too difficult?  

If workable solutions are "too difficult" they will not be undertaken and undisciplined, unsustainable economic policies will ultimately result in involuntary compliance with economic realities.

Parents warn children that this is called, "learning the hard way".            

   


​Fairbanks News Miner, by Mayors John Eberhart, Luke Hopkins and Bryce Ward​.  

Gov. Sean Parnell’s budget includes a $3 billion line item to reduce the Public Employees Retirement System (PERS) and Teachers Retirement System (TRS) unfunded liability, which is about $12 billion. The mayors of Alaska, through the Alaska Conference of Mayors and the Alaska Municipal League, fully support the governor’s initiative to stop the can from being kicked down the road.

The state has attempted to make inroads in regard to this huge liability, but so far hasn’t had success. Every year the deficit has increased. The governor has stepped forward to address this issue in a responsible way.


Comment: Yesterday, April 7, 2014 the Alaska Department of Revenue issued its Spring 2014 Revenue Forecast.  We believe it provides a brighter outlook for a future, sustainable economy, if decision makers continue to support the sort of tax reform to which the increased production may be Tom Barrett, Alyeska Pipeline, TAPS, state revenue forecast, alaska, throughput, tax policy, Photo by Dave Harbourlargely attributed.  But for future years, a sustainable economy based almost entirely on the back of one industry needs serious, objective attention and problem solving.

Note that the forecast includes improved North Slope production and projects a lower decline than has been anticipated.   The following is from the office of Alyeska Pipeline Service Company President Tom Barrett (NGP Photo).  -dh

Barrett issued the following statement this morning:

“The Department of Revenue’s forecast is great news for TAPS.  This much needed upward shift in throughput is critical, because moving less oil through TAPS creates significant challenges for the men and women who work to keep the pipeline operating safely and reliably. Every barrel in TAPS counts and the prospect of thousands of additional barrels moving down the line is welcome news.” 

“We understand that Alaska depends on us to safely deliver the oil that funds so many state services.  That’s why Alyeska and the TAPS Owners have aggressively pursued solutions to declining flow.  But, as I have often said, ‘the best and most direct solution for TAPS is more oil.’”

“I applaud the Governor and the Legislature for fostering an environment that encourages more development.  The forecast reflects that the investments being made by the producers should pay off soon for Alaska.  That’s good news for TAPS and for everyone in the state.”

More information about the challenges of declining throughput is available at http://www.alyeska-pipe.com/TAPS/PipelineOperations/LowFlowOperations

About Alyeska Pipeline

For more than 36 years, Alyeska has operated the 800-mile Trans Alaska Pipeline System (TAPS), safely moving oil from Prudhoe Bay on the North Slope of Alaska south to the Port of Valdez, the northernmost ice-free port in the United States. The pipeline traverses three mountain ranges, permafrost regions and 34 major rivers and streams. Alyeska personnel work in Anchorage, Fairbanks and Valdez and at pump stations and response facilities all along the pipeline. They also operate the Ship Escort/Response Vessel System (SERVS) for Prince William Sound. Alyeska was created to construct, operate, and maintain TAPS for owner companies which today are BP Pipelines (Alaska), ConocoPhillips Transportation Alaska, ExxonMobil Pipeline Company and Unocal Pipeline Company

For more information, visit http://www.alyeska-pipe.com or follow Alyeska on Facebook or on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/AlyeskaPipeline

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4-7-14

07 April 2014 10:21am

WILD CANADA: This spectacular four-part series on the wildlife and the wild lands of Canada reveals a Canada that few have seen before. 


This morning, U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski (NGP Photo) ...Lisa Murkowski, Pebble, rule of law, Rio Tinto, Northern Dynasty, Photo by Dave Harbour

Rebecca Logan, SB 21, Senate Resources, Alaska oil taxes, Photo by Dave Harbour, Alaska Support Industry AllianceThis afternoon at 7:30 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, readers may watch a legislative hearing (i.e. live streaming) in Juneau before the Senate Resources Committee.  One of the Doug Smith, Little Red Services, SB 21, oil taxes, Alaska investment climate, Photo by Dave Harbouritems heard will be "Updates From The Field", including testimony concerning Alaska's tax and investment climate by Alaska Support Industry Alliance representatives, Rebecca Logan and Doug Smith (See photos). 

 ... commented on Rio Tinto's divestment of its interest in the Pebble Partnership.  

Her position is consistent with the view we have expressed over that last two years that EPA's potential, preemptive action is a gross violation of the rule of law and creates a dangerous precedent for any oil and gas, mining, commercial fishing, agricultural, construction or other public works project.

*   *   *

Here is Governor Sean Parnell's statement, released Sean Parnell, Rio Tinto, Northern Dynasty, Pebble, Rule of Law, preemptive, EPA, Photo by Dave Harbourearly this afternoon:  Governor Sean Parnell (NGP Photo) today released the following statement after learning of Rio Tinto’s decision to divest its 19 percent ownership stake in Northern Dynasty Minerals and the Pebble copper and gold project.  “It’s disheartening to see a company like Rio Tinto take its business elsewhere as a result of the current federal regulatory environment,” Governor Parnell said. “Even more troubling is the EPA’s efforts to preemptively veto a project before any proposal has been submitted and before a public permitting process has even commenced. Mining provides thousands of jobs for Alaskans and is a critical sector of our state’s economy. Looking ahead, for Alaska to compete globally for investment dollars, it will require a fairer and more stable regulatory process than what the federal government currently pursues.”

*     *     *    

The EPA's unrelenting ardor is aptly demonstrated by Administrator McCarthy's speech tonight to the US Water Alliance in Washington, National Geographic Headquarters Grosvenor Auditorium, 6 p.m.  She will discuss EPA’s continued efforts to "safeguard our waterways" (if not our economy -dh), including the Agency’s recent landmark proposal to clarify protections for the nation’s streams and wetlands under the Clean Water Act.  -dh


Peninsula Clarion/AP by Becky Bohrer.   The House Resources Committee version of a bill to advance a major liquefied natural gas project was starting to take shape Saturday, as members dug into a thick stack of proposed changes.  The committee, with a reputation for finely parsing language, was making slow but steady progress in an amendment process that began Friday. The panel planned to resume work Sunday, after making a slight dent in the stack after hours of meeting Saturday.


From Robert Dillon, Senate Energy Committee Staff.  The U.S. Energy Information Administration today released the first part of its Annual Energy Outlook for 2014. Under the EIA’s high-resource case for U.S. oil production – that is, a scenario where oil production sees sustained production increases over the next 25 years – net imports drop to zero:

“In the High Oil and Gas Resource case, growth in tight oil production continues for a longer period of time than projected in the Reference case. Domestic crude oil production increases to nearly 13 MMbbl/d before 2035 in the High Oil and Gas Resource case, and net U.S. oil imports decline through 2036 and remain at or near zero from 2037 through 2040.” – EIA.gov/forecasts.


U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) today released the following statement on Rio Tinto’s decision to divest its 19-percent shareholder interest in Northern Dynasty Minerals and the Pebble gold, copper, and molybdenum prospect in Southwest Alaska:

“I appreciate the way Rio Tinto is handling this decision. Instead of simply divesting, it has committed to investing in the education of Bristol Bay’s next generation. This will help ensure that local residents have the skills to get or create the kind of jobs that will allow them to provide for their families.

“I understand that many mining companies are reevaluating their project portfolios right now, but I’m concerned by what else may have prompted this decision. If we want to attract investment to our state and our economy, we need a regulatory system at the federal level that is predictable enough to allow responsible development to go forward – at least to the permitting stage, and without the threat of a preemptive veto from the EPA hanging over it."  

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3-25-14 A Frontal Attack On States' Rights

26 March 2014 6:03am

OP-Ed by Joseph Cafariello.  The EU’s 28 member states have mandated that the European Commission come up with a plan within three months to outline ways in which Europe can satisfy its energy needs without continued reliance on Russia.  (Energy Nation says, "Tell Congress To Increase LNG Exports"; Photo: Map of Ukraine gas pipelines bringing gas from Russia to the EU states.)


U.S. Senator Mary L. Landrieu, Chair of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, yesterday called the proposed EPA wetlands rule unfair, unwise and unnecessary.’  (Murkowski also opposes EPA rule.)
Lisa Murkowsk, LNG Exports, Photo by Dave HarbourU.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (NGP Photo), yesterday called on the Obama administration to expand U.S. energy exports and unshackle the nation’s energy policies to spur economic activity and improve its geopolitical standing.​
Obama Administration selective enforcement of wildlife laws re: Energy.  Hearing today.  See letter.

Comment: A careful reading of this "Monuments" Op-Ed analysis -- released today -- would lead one to believe that Alaska is the poster child for massive federal government land ownership.  We believe this analysis demonstrates why the huge monument designations in the state should be found to be illegal.

Proclaiming vast land areas in Alaska to have massive restrictions under the Antiquities Act has removed multiple use and access to millions of acres that do not conform to the "historical" and "cultural" guidelines by which they were designated.  

Lastly, the Alaska Statehood Act was based in large measure on Alaskans' ability to make a living from the natural resources of the state.  While this concept referred more specifically to the 104.5 million acres specifically allocated to the state, Alaskans had traditionally survived and subsisted in part on use of what were, following statehood, multiple use federal lands.  

To, thus, restrict land access and use in the 49th state and elsewhere by presidential fiat, without approval either of Congress or the citizens of the affected state, is a gross misuse of the power to designate "National Monuments" under the Antiquities Act and a frontal attack on States' Rights.  -dh

OP-ED: Give the American People a Voice in the National Monument Process

Roll Call Op-Ed by Reps. Rob Bishop (UT-01) and Steve Daines (MT-At Large)  

March 25, 2014

The Antiquities Act was established in 1906 as a way for the president to single-handedly create new national monuments. The law provides the president with the express authority to proclaim “historic landmarks, historic and prehistoric structures, and other objects of historic or scientific interest” as national monuments, “the limits of which in all cases shall be confined to the smallest area compatible with the proper care and management of the objects to be protected.”

Today, the new era of national monuments consist of vast swaths of vacant federal land, not specific structures or landmarks.

The Antiquities Act followed on the heels of Westward Expansion, which brought looting and vandalism upon antiquities found on public land throughout newer states and former territories. The environmental laws and protections we have today, such as the National Historic Preservation Act, were not yet in existence, and the president needed a way to expeditiously protect federal lands under imminent threat. The very first national monument was established just three months after the law was enacted. President Theodore Roosevelt designated 1,152 acres in Wyoming as the Devils Tower National Monument. In the 108 years since, the law has been used a total of 137 times by 15 presidents.

While the intended purpose of the Antiquities Act is to protect artifacts of cultural and historic significance, it has been used over the past 108 years as a political arrow in the quiver of many presidents. The act has allowed both Democratic and Republican presidents to work outside of the transparent public process that all other individuals and federal agencies must follow. This is one of the law’s major flaws.

We don’t disagree that many of the spaces and places protected over the last century are worthy of national monument designations. However, not all of these designations were made with public involvement or widespread local support. Federal designations have too great of an impact on local communities for them to be made without the involvement of those closest to the ground. If the proposed designation has widespread support at the local level, presidents shouldn’t have a problem moving the designation through a public process.

In Congress, our committees and subcommittees hear from expert witnesses and local officials as part of legislative review. If the committee review process is positive, bills are more likely to move through the system. If committee reviews go badly, bills are rightfully stalled until the sticking points are addressed. Presidents are not subjected to these same checks and balances when it comes to the Antiquities Act. They are not required to engage the public throughout the process.

Like Congress, the president ought to formally be required to consider the input of local communities and states prior to declaring new national monuments. The inequity of unilateral action lends itself to heavy political influence and pressure from special interests. This is why we are supporting the Ensuring Public Involvement in the Creation of National Monuments Act, which would require the application of the National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA) to future national monument designations.

Though NEPA is another law largely in need of reform, public participation is at the core of its process, and by making this a requirement of future monument declarations we can ensure that those on the ground have a say in the process. The American people deserve to have input on new policies and laws that will affect their communities and livelihoods. The legislation importantly gives everyone a voice in the process, not just those who happen to have the ear of the president.

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3-22-14 "We can't always judge a book by its cover."

22 March 2014 1:47pm

Governor's Prayer Breakfast In Anchorage This Morning 

 While the live event is sold out, NGP readers can attend the virtual event on line by going here.  The Prayer Breakfast coverage begins at 8 this morning, which is noon EDT.

We have attended and covered these events in the past.

Question.  Why would we do that?  Answer.  We make occasional reference to the omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent creator of the Universe here because we are lost in the chaos of temporal issues without Him.  

American and Canadian energy projects, family plans, company investments, government coordination and all other human endeavors can only go well in the long run with men and women of faith who seek God's wisdom and petition Him to direct our paths.  

The alternative, with apologies to Thomas Carlyle for use of his term, can only lead one, one's family, one's project or one's nation into a life of "dismal science".   -dh


On another but somehow related subject is a video designed solely to inspire and entertain the many loyal followers of "Northern Gas Pipelines".  Sit back, hold onto your chair, take a deep breath and listen to this Italian angel whose voice seems -- but is really not -- inconsistent with her uniform:

Alaska Dispatch.  A Californian withdrew his name from an Alaska board on which membership is reserved for Alaskans, but a Texan is still seeking confirmation to another Alaska board.     ...     Seeking confirmation now to a seat on the Alaska Gasline Development Corp. is Richard Rabinow of Houston, Texas.

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3-21-14 Court Weighs In On Pebble Referendum

21 March 2014 5:34am

Piedra de Agua, Japanese Pool, Photo by Dave HarbourSome Dear Readers have inquired about our travels.  While we always devote hours keeping NGP current -- no matter where we are --- we do not deny opportunities for consulting, photography, general writing projects and a little personal enjoyment.  Last Friday, here in Cuenca, Ecuador, we went to a nearby 'volcanic spa' after updating our pipeline projects and wrote about it on Facebook last Saturday.  Here is a glimpse.  Enjoy your weekend!  -dh


Calgary Herald by Mario Toneguzzi.  A bright outlook for Alberta’s economy is being haunted by pipeline risks, says a new report released Thursday by the Conference Board of Canada.  Alberta’s economy is forecast to grow more quickly than any other province in 2014, said the report, but the lack of pipeline development continues to present a significant downside risk to the forecast.

Commentary: We have often commented here and documented the case against the U.S. federal administration's lawless behavior. 

One of the most egregious examples is the EPA attempting to stop a lawful resource development project -- on validly held Alaska state land leases -- before that project had filed even the first permit that would initiate the regulatory process, due process (i.e. rule-of-law process).  Today, we have the latest status on a related matter, wherein environmental allies are using another technique to end-run the regulatory process.  

For other updates, see latest issue: Mining North of 60.

We are pleased to note that the court system (i.e. at least, the Alaska Superior Court) seems not to be drinking the anti-rule-of-law cool-aid being imbibed by the federal administration, as reported below by the Pebble Project.  -dh


The Pebble Limited Partnership issued the following statement regarding a decision in Alaska Superior Court upholding the legal claims raised by PLP and the State of Alaska regarding the legality and constitutionality of the so-called Save Our Salmon Initiative from 2011:

“We are pleased that the court agreed with our position that this was an improper and unlawful ballot measure. It is unfortunate that these issues could not have been sorted out before the initiative was placed in front of voters as there were significant resources expended in the campaign by both sides that could have gone to more productive uses in the Borough.

“The ruling says that the Alaska Legislature granted state agencies, notably the Department of Natural Resources, the comprehensive authority over mineral exploration, permitting, and development. The decision holds up the sanctity of the State of Alaska’s robust permitting process, one that has strict environmental standards for fish, water, and wildlife. This ruling will assure that permitting decisions are made through the state’s comprehensive process, which includes ample opportunity for input from local people as well as stakeholders throughout the state. In contrast, the SOS initiative had no provisions for public input or public process.

“Alaska's mineral wealth, like its oil and gas resources, is an asset for all Alaskans. The court’s decision assures that permitting decisions will continue to include views from around the state.”

Those interested can download the 29 page court decision here. 


Go here to 'Friend' us on Facebook and/or to see this and other personal updates.

Yesterday (3-14-14) was a long but blissful day.

Thursday night I was up until almost midnight writing and editing photographs. 

A few hours later, at 4:30, my Coo-Coo-Bird Iphone alarm rousted me from near REM slumber. I exercised, showered, dressed, made a cup of Instant Starbucks (usually, while at Casa San Sebastian in Ecuador I enjoy ground up, dark oily coffee beans from Loja, south of here), and loaded two backpacks. One had a change of clothes, sandals and swim suit and the other protected my Nikon and lenses.  I made a few www.northerngaspipelines.com updates and ran out the door to a waiting taxi on Calle Simon Bolivar.

My "brother" and taxi driver friend, Luis Rivadenetra, met me down front on the sidewalk at 5:30. Our plan was to be at the gate of Piedra de Agua at precisely 6 a.m. when they opened so that I could photograph this unique volcanic, mineral water/mud spa during the sunrise, golden hour.

I'll be writing more on this and other photo assignments elsewhere; suffice to say, amid photo sessions I treated myself to mudbaths, mineral pools, steam cabinets, etc.

For a person as tired as I was, it was truly a blissful experience which I can now recommend to anyone visiting this luscious part of God's green earth!

Late in the afternoon, and 450 photo images later, Luis met me in the reception area and we had a nice trip home, down the winding avenues.

Today the writing and photo editing continue with church on the schedule for tomorrow, http://thegatheringec.com/.

Meanwhile, Nancy is repairing well from a procedure she had done on her wrist Friday in Anchorage and Billy is moving a foot of snow off the driveway. As Nancy said in an email this morning, "Extremes in both locations, nice!"

It's 7 p.m., EST here. With a great family, a long, blissful day yesterday, good work today and a gathering of praise tomorrow, one must be thankful.

P.S. Here is a Gringo Post report we wrote for those following Ecuadorian opportunities from their own perches around the world: http://gringopost.blogspot.com/2014/03/recommendation-for-andean-spa-local.html— at http://www.piedradeagua.com.ec/

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3-20-14 Learning From History

20 March 2014 8:14am

What Does This Week's Gas Pipeline Effort Have To Do With The August Primary Election?

by Dave Harbour

                               Alaska, Governor, Jay Hammond, oil taxes, Photo by Dave Harbour

Thirty-three years ago this week, Alaska's governor, Jay Hammond (NGP Photo), gathered with House and Senate leadership to announce bipartisan legislation aimed at reforming oil taxes.

Point of Personal Privilege:
 
We celebrate the life and mourn the passing of our great friend, Dr. Milton Byrd (NGP Photo).  (See our later update and obituary on March 3, 2014)
 
Milton Byrd, Frontier Companies, Tennessee Miller, Alaska Support Industry Alliance, Commonwealth North, World Affairs Council, Rotary, Photo by  Dave Harbour, Charter CollegeInterested readers may contact us personally here, for more information as the Byrd family releases it.
 
For over three decades, Milton has contributed tirelessly to the growth and improvement of Alaska and her people.
 
We first met upon his arrival.
 
Tennessee Miller, the iconic Alaskan owner of Frontier Transportation (i.e. of North Slope 'Cat Train' fame), was his first Alaska boss.
 
"I've hired this bright, young college president," he once said proudly, "to come up here and help me handle my business affairs."
 
Milton called soon thereafter and he said mine was the first business call he had made.  
 
We met for lunch at Sheffield's old "House of Lords" downtown.  This was about a week after he hit town.  
 
We became lifelong friends and he seemed more excited to come to Alaska than any newcomer I've met over the years.  
 
Following his career with Frontier, Milton organized Charter College, which he led during another career, as president (i.e. his fourth college presidency, as I recall).
 
He remained active throughout his Alaska adventure with Commonwealth North, the World Affairs Council, Rotary International and the Alaska Support Industry Alliance, among many other charitable and public interest pursuits.
 
He and his beloved wife, Sue, moved to Las Cruces, N.M. where he passed away recently.
 
Our dear friend, Dr. Milton Byrd, was a serious man with a wry sense of humor punctuated with a twinkle in the eye.  He was a man of honor, grace, wisdom and dedication.  
 
He made the world better.
 
Thank you, God, for letting this great one to have been among us.
 
A mutual friend, Ken Martinson, summed it up best: "The news about Milt's passing is in sorrow, but his Life's accomplishments and contributions are full of joy."  -dh

That action led to roughly 20 years of tax stability, massive industry investment and more production than had been earlier envisioned.  

Then, in 2006-07, the production tax was massively increased, leading to continuing declines in production and action in the last legislative session to again reform taxes.  

Tax reform did pass (SB 21) last Spring, but it was immediately attacked by minority legislators and a group of environmental activists and mostly democratic grass roots operators.  They succeeded in gathering enough signatures last summer to place on this coming August primary ballot a proposition that, if a majority vote "yes", would repeal oil tax reform.  

This week's major focus (scroll down to review stories and commentary) in Juneau has been on legislation intended to advance an Alaska North Slope gas pipeline/LNG project that would both provide intrastate gas supply and gas for export.

We can easily surmise that if a majority elect to repeal tax reform, Alaskans will see diminished oil industry investment, a faltering economy and little hope for a gas pipeline/LNG project during this generation's watch. 


Calgary Herald.  

Deputy premier Dave Hancock was chosen interim premier of Alberta during a Tory caucus meeting at the legislature Thursday morning.

“I think what we need is some stability as we go through the process of leadership selection,” Hancock said when asked what qualities an interim leader should posses. “Government obviously has to continue to do its job. Ministers have to continue to do their work. The budget needs to get passed, the rest of our session needs to be dealt with, so it’s steady as she goes through that process while potential leadership candidates are getting their campaigns together and going out.


San Francisco Chronicle/AP by Becky Bohrer.  

The Alaska Senate on Tuesday passed legislation aimed at advancing a major liquefied natural gas project, over nagging concerns about the role of TransCanada Corp.

The vote, following hours of debate, was 15-5. Republican Sen. Bert Stedman joined minority Democrats Hollis French, Bill Wielechowski, Johnny Ellis and Berta Gardner in voting against.

Natural Resources Commissioner Joe Balash had hoped for a resounding approval as a message to the other project partners and markets about Alaska's resolve in pursuing a project. Tuesday evening, Gov. Sean Parnell thanked the Senate for passing his bill and said he looked forward to working with the House to pass legislation "on Alaska's terms and in Alaskans' interests."


 

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