Senator John Barrasso of Wyoming supports free trade and freedom to export LNG, an issue critical to the future of Alaska gas pipelines. -dh
Ocean Policy: Obama's End Run Around Congress and The Constitution. We began alerting readers to the White House move to zone the oceans and further restrict freedom of citizens four years ago and have added more details since then. We applaud Representative Millett's current observations, expressed here.
When our readers click to the actual article and scroll down to the comment section they will be astounded. As knowledgeable observers, our readers will at once recognize the illiteracy of commenters and their mean spirits. One's instinct could well lead to a conclusion that the commenters are recruits from environmental activist cells and graduates of the George Soros School of Propaganda.
We have seen similar comment treatment given to other legislators who provide logical, important reaction to overreaching government activity.
We lament that news media blogs perpetuate this nasty behavior and constant ad hominem criticism by allowing commenters to remain anonymous.
If news media wanted truly thoughtful commentary, they would require proper commenter identification.
Until then, we can only offer our own appreciation to Representative Millett on behalf of our own loyal, well-studied and well-behaved readers.
ADN Op-Ed by Rep. Charisse Millett (NGP Photo).
Alaskans today have tremendous potential opportunities that can provide lasting benefits for decades to come. Plentiful energy and mineral resources, new Arctic shipping lanes, vibrant fisheries, and a bustling tourism industry are but a few of the areas that could all combine to usher in a new era of unprecedented economic and societal prosperity for the people of Alaska and beyond. Unfortunately, prospects for this bright future could potentially be delayed if not derailed as a result of President Obama's issuance of the July 2010 National Ocean Policy Executive Order and the recently-released National Ocean Policy Final Implementation Plan.
Note to Readers: We think the "Jobs" link above is among the most useful anywhere. Check it frequently for updates and feel free to suggest additions/corrections for the benefit of other NGP readers! -dh
|Our return from China occurred too late for us to update our stock photos of the Kentucky Derby for the fourth year in a row. However, we note with pleasure that there is a new kid on the block: Frac Daddy!|
Alaska's constitutional mandate to reasonably develop natural resources is again subject to debate. Our Friends at the Resource Development Council for Alaska have urged us to provide a comment to the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) by MONDAY'S May 6 deadline.
Here is a link to a comment delivered by Alaska State Senator Cathy Giessel (NGP Photo) to the Department of Natural Resources wherein she cautions DNR, "Our state government is directed, by Article VIII, Section 1 of the Alaska Constitution, 'to encourage the settlement of its land and the development of its resources by making them available for maximum use consistent with the public interest.'
"Our lands are rich in resources," she writes, "which create wealth and economy, supporting healthy people and communities. Alaska is not a massive park. Alaska is a land which has supported multiple-use resource development for generations. Please stand firm and reject narrow proposals that seek to restrict access by our people to our lands and its resources." -dh
Today's Consumer Energy Alliance Energy Links:
|LNG 13 Conference Report Here|
Bloomberg: Keystone foes seek climate measures in case they lose - President Barack Obama is being pressed by opponents of the Keystone XL pipeline to tie any approval to measures that would curb climate change, reflecting mounting pressure on the administration to mitigate the project’s impact if it goes forward.
POLITICO Pro: Dip in gas prices prompts GOP to shift tactics - The threat of $4 a gallon gasoline is a fast-fading memory, forcing House Republicans to shift tactics as they continue to blame President Barack Obama’s policies for driving up Americans’ energy prices. Republicans' broad agenda is largely unchanged, anchored by the Keystone XL pipeline, expanded offshore drilling, a rollback of EPA regulations and other steps they say would offer relief for consumers. But unlike the past two years, the price on the pump isn’t cooperating this time around.
Houston Chronicle: Environmental groups sue EPA over refinery emissions - Environmentalists have filed a lawsuit to force federal regulators to review the way they calculate emissions from petrochemical plants, oil refineries and other large industrial facilities. In the suit filed on Thursday, Air Alliance Houston and three other groups accuse the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency of using outdated and inaccurate formulas to estimate levels of air pollution.
Associated Press: Oil drilling technology leaps, clean energy lags - Technology created an energy revolution over the past decade — just not the one we expected. By now, cars were supposed to be running on fuel made from plant waste or algae — or powered by hydrogen or cheap batteries that burned nothing at all. Electricity would be generated with solar panels and wind turbines. When the sun didn’t shine or the wind didn’t blow, power would flow out of batteries the size of tractor-trailers.
Bloomberg: Anti-fracking laws in New York towns upheld on appeal - Anti-fracking laws passed in two New York towns were upheld by an appeals court, which rejected arguments by a dairy farm and a Norwegian energy company that the bans are superseded by state law. An appellate panel of the New York State Supreme Court in Albany today ruled that drilling bans in the towns of Dryden and Middlefield don’t conflict with state regulations for the oil and natural-gas industry.
U.S. News & World Report: Fight Over Fracking Continues as Counties Begin to Ban Practice - While the nation's so-called "Shale Gale" might be benefiting some communities in the United States, one county in New Mexico has said "no thanks" to a stronger oil and gas industry presence in its region. Mora County, N.M. voted to ban all oil and gas extraction this week, after commissioners decided federal and state laws did not adequately protect communities from the impacts of hydraulic fracturing, a common practice used to extract oil and gas from shale rock.
Bloomberg: Natural gas tumbles most in nine months after stockpile increase - Natural gas futures dropped the most in nine months in New York after a government report showed that U.S. stockpiles expanded by more than forecast. Gas slid 7 percent, the biggest one-day decline since Aug. 2, after the Energy Information Administration said inventories rose 43 billion cubic feet in the week ended April 26 to 1.777 trillion cubic feet. Analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg showed a gain of 29 billion. Unusually cold weather into early spring helped eliminate a supply glut that emerged in late 2011.
CBC News. China's largest bank will be helphttp://www.northerngaspipelines.com/sites/all/modules/fckeditor/fckedito...); background-position: 0px -528px;" alt="" />ing to finance the proposed Kitimat refinery, which would process oil from the Alberta oilsands in B.C., instead of the raw bitumen being shipped overseas. B.C. media mogul David Black said he has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) for the proposed refinery that is estimated to cost $25 billion.
Shooting Oneself In the Foot
Commentary by Dave Harbour
Certain left leaning Alaskans are intent on shooting Alaska's economy in the foot.
They are promoting a voters' referendum that would repeal the oil tax reform recently enacted. Just as the Legislature and Governor acted to improve the investment climate through oil tax reform, these people are acting to maintain the uncertainty of the investment climate--adversly affecting all Alaskans, particularly the future of the coming generations.
Readers can bet that this group will be composed of an odd assembly of socialists, environmental extremists, publicity seekers and ex-public officials who see the oil industry as enemies and not the strong supporters of Alaska's way of life.
One can envision investors gathered around a breakfast or boardroom table in coming days, concluding that Alaska is still too uncertain and risky to merit a major new financial commitment.
So, what should Alaskans do now? Do not sign the anti oil petition. Those who do sign it will be telling investors: "Stay out; we can do just fine without your money and commitment!"
Meanwhile, Alaska's economic lifeline, the Trans Alaska Pipeline, continues its steady throughput decline from 1/4 capacity toward zero. Only a change in Alaska's investment climate can produce a greater flow of investment. Repealing tax reform will drive a stake through the heart of investor confidence, perhaps for a very long time. (References: Fairbanks News Miner, SB 21 and the Petition to repeal it.) -dh
Tonight Is Another Big Night, For Those Who Care About Alaska's Economic Future!
The Government Gas Pipeline
Late yesterday, we followed the Senate Finance Committee review of the Alaska Gasline Development Corporation's answers to questions about the pending, HB4 that would expand AGDC's powers and infuse it with operating capital. (Watch the video. Photo: House Speaker Mike Chenault.)
We have always supported the concept of this project as an insurance policy for Interior and South Central Alaska electric power and space heating consumers. This is because Cook Inlet gas supplies are dangerously low, a fact exacerbated by a regulatory decision six years ago (i.e. which has likely cost ratepayers over $.5 billion in unnecessary natural gas expense since then.)
Enstar, the local gas distributor, has worked hard to safeguard its customers from gas shortages. It has aggressively pursued more gas supply contracts, built a gas storage facility and investigated new gas supplies--from Prudhoe Bay to potential gas imports. Still, during a cold winter the actual deliverability of supply could push available supplies beyond the breaking point. Every year, the threat of a gas shortage grows.
The AGDC project involves a 737 mile pipeline from Prudhoe Bay to Southcentral Alaska, after winding its way by Fairbanks.
The lion's share of its right of way work is done and its engineering work is moving steadily toward a potential 'open season' wherein those interested in the gas can bid on pipeline capacity to move purchased gas.
While a government owned pipeline concept is controversial, running out of natural gas is unacceptable. If sufficient new gas reserves are proven to exist in Southcental Alaska, the AGDC project could be terminated. But if there is no AGDC insurance policy and more gas is not found, the old cliché about, "freezing in the dark", comes to mind.
During the hearing yesterday, several witnesses distinguished themselves. The HB 4 sponsors are House Speaker Mike Chenault (NGP Photo, above) and Representative Mike Hawker (NGP Photo with Rena Delbridge). Hawker thanked Senators for their complete hearing of the issues while Chenault described the compelling need for the project to safeguard citizens. Hawker's staff executive, Rena Delbridge, artfully briefed the committee on all current issues related to the bill before them. Frank Richards, representing AGDC, offered highly credible, technical briefings and responses to questions.
As our readers know, we have followed Arctic gas pipeline issues for many decades. We have seen many projects come and go.
We briefly worked with AGDC and continue to believe that the project is closer to becoming reality than any of its cousins for several reasons:
This is not a case of a heavy handed government saying, "We are going to create a gas pipeline bureaucracy come heck or high water".
Rather, this is a case of government exercising its proper role of protecting citizens.
Our hat is off to the dedicated public officials who have developed the vision, protected and remained focused on the mission and worked so hard to so successfully overcome political technical and financial obstacles.
At this writing, HB 4 hasn't received final approval. We expect it will. When it is the law of the land, the citizens will have been well served.
To NGP Readers:
Here are Consumer Energy Alliance's earlier comments on the EIS, for your reference.
CEA's general concern is that the proposed mitigation measures will limit OCS exploration activity without any significant benefits for the local marine mammals.
NMFS should focus on cooperative mitigation measures with companies – such as Shell’s efforts to suspend operations in the Beaufort during whaling season – as opposed to broadly limiting activity.
Note: this is the kind of comment opportunity that badly needs elected officials from throughout Alaska submitting comments for the record. Otherwise, the record will not be balanced nor will it reflect the opinion of Alaska's elected leaders.
|Today we heard this tax reform 'thank you' commercial on a local radio station, sponsored by the Alaska Support Industry Alliance -- illustrating the many dimensions the controversy covers. The point about sustainable policy benefiting many generations -- not just this one -- is a cultural value we have stressed for years and we thank the Alliance for its message. -dh|
Status of Alaska In-State Gas Pipeline:
|Alaska Dispatch Op-Ed by Representative Les Gara (NGP Photo). No one who knows natural gas pipelines disagrees with this point: a line that delivers a vastly higher volume of gas does it more efficiently, for less cost. Alaska is in the middle of a shell game with a lot of potential, but not perfect, pipeline prospects. Some people say “just pick something.” Here’s why that’s not so easy, and picking the wrong project can harm the state with high natural gas prices.|
Status of Alaska Oil Tax Reform: (Here is the status of Alaska production compared with other states, including Texas and North Dakota.)
- Today's House Resources hearing video.
- Yesterday's House Finance Committee consideration of SB 21. Below is testimony prepared by Steve Pratt, Consumer Energy Alliance - Alaska.
- Yesterday we offered an "April Fools" update and commentary. Part of that commentary revealed that Alaska has virtually no savings -- aside from the Alaska Permanent Fund -- when one deducts outstanding liabilities. Here is a letter dated March 27 from Jay Dulany, President of the Retired Public Employees of Alaska. Among his many relevant points is this: " based on calculations of the Alaska Retirement Management Board (“ARMB”), the State’s annual appropriation to PERS/TRS will soon exceed $1 billion. Payments at this level, which will only continue to grow as the UL (i.e. unfunded liability) advances beyond its current $12 billion level, will simply not be sustainable, by neither the state nor by local government employers. A benefits crisis may not be right around the corner; an employer contributions crisis is." If Alaska is to fulfill its public employee obligations, the $12 billion liability should be paid off now while Alaska has the savings available. Otherwise, public employees can expect to have their annual income reduced by a judge someday, as retired employees in Detroit and Stockton can attest. This is because the state's fiscal house is in disorder, a fact which we believe the bond rating agencies will soon discover. We also believe the rating agencies have not competently assessed the gravity of Alaska's fiscal crisis for bond holders and future investors. Any decrease in Alaska's credit worthiness will result in higher rates paid on public debt, further exacerbating Alaska's pending, economic decline. We believe this challenge is a requirement for increased investment and oil tax reform. Keeping a predatory tax policy in place is a short term solution to a looming fiscal crisis. Reforming the oil production tax to create a more attractive investment climate is a long term solution. The short term model benefits this generation at the expense of the next while the long term approach can make the economy sustainable for this and future generations. -dh
- Here are results of a poll on this subject. Dittman Corp. surveyed 800 Alaskans last week (March 13-14), resulting in a 3.4-percent margin of error. All regions of the state were represented and balanced to the 2010 Census. The House traditionally commissions a poll to help inform members and the public on priority issues before the Legislature.
“Alaskans, generally, feel our economy is stable, and support many of the issues we have identified,” Alaska Speaker of the House Mike Chenault, R-Nikiski, said. “They agree with us that we need to modify our oil tax system to make us competitive, and build an in-state gasline for in-state use. Alaskans, also, want the chance to decide whether we amend our constitution to allow parents the right to choose where to send their kids to school. Dittman Research and staff have provided us with another top-shelf document we can add to our discussions over the course of the next three weeks. It’s a valuable and informative tool to help us understand where Alaskans stand on issues before the legislature.”
AK urges North Slope producers to grow LNG commitment - Gas Business Briefing - A pending bill would give the state-owned Alaska Gasline Development Corp, which is planning the project, more flexibility in doing engineering along with ...