Our Instinct: Conservatives Must Seize Opportunity To Save Alaska's Economy
|We admire Senator Lisa Murkowski's vigilance on Arctic exploration issues -- and the initiative of her committee's Communication Director, Robert Dillon. See TODAY'S COMMUNICATION AND VIDEO HERE.|
Many moons will come before Shell Oil and other producers, under the most agreeable circumstances, can find and commercially produce oil and natural gas from Alaska's Arctic reservoirs in the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas.
Any Arctic discovery and production may not likely come in time to ameliorate diminishing Alaska production that funds 90% of state government and over 1/3 of the state economy.
The impressive but modestly increased production within the onshore National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska (NPR-A) is clouded by the Bureau of Land Management's decision to lock up half of its remaining potential and continuous/agenda driven EPA and Corps of Engineers efforts to deny and/or delay permits.
The federal bureaucracy opposes the 1980 intent of Congress and is acting illegally to manage a Refuge like a Wilderness. The Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA) re-categorized the Arctic National Wildlife Range (into a more restrictive "refuge"), but allowed a future Congress to approve oil exploration and production in a small sliver of the coastal plain of ANWR.
We know that even existing, high cost projects can be lost overnight with imposition of new or increased taxes.
Meanwhile, Alaska's North Slope oil production continues its slide downward exacerbating negative impact on Alaska state government revenue during this low oil price era.
This week we observe that (below) the Governor's reaction to an austere budget is not using his bully pulpit to convince democrats to join the republicans in voting to access billions stored in the 'Constitutional Budget Reserve' (CBR) savings account to balance the budget.
Instead, he is joining the democrats, browbeating the republican leadership to agree to increasing democrat-desired government spending as a quid pro quo to democrats agreeing on a super majority CBR vote.
Together, the Governor and democrats are pressing for more spending, not less, in today's austere fiscal environment.
And, they know exactly what they are doing. They are together trying to assemble popular support for increasing oil taxes during next year's legislative session, because 1) that would minimize the need for large spending cuts, and 2) THAT IS WHERE THE MONEY IS.
The problem with increasing the already high Alaska oil tax burden, is that it would discourage if not devastate oil industry investment that could otherwise produce a sustainable amount of future production and financial support for a moderate spending taxing authority.
Our instincts all point to the need for more effective communication.
Conservatives better become better communicators if they hope to explain why their tough approach on the budget is best for Alaska now and for future generations.
They could start by requesting editorial board meetings and giving reporters their personal cell phone numbers.
If they don't quit dodging reporters and don't become superior communicators quickly they will find that the current name calling will escalate. The Governor and democrats will likely initiate a summer program of constituent meetings around the state. They will probably ask folks how they think Alaska will solve its fiscal shortfalls.
Renewed demonization of industry and the legislature's republican leadership can easily be reignited; as could a new voters referendum.
And community organizers can produce crowds for constituent meetings and listening sessions that will demand, "Increase oil taxes"!!!!
Compelling conservative spokesmen need to articulate -- soon and often -- the wiser, approach to dealing with:
- budget shortfalls
- falling oil production
- bloated, unaffordable state budgets
- Federal government overreaching authority
- The future of Alaska's children.
But making silk purses out of sows ears requires a miracle. Our instinct further advises us that it is unlikely the republicans will successfully make the case for tax stability and fiscal restraint. If they wanted to or had the ability to, they would have been doing so every day and twice on Sunday for the last month.
While there are several very noteworthy exceptions, as a group the republican legislators are uncharismatic, unenergetic, unimaginative, uncompetive and rely on demographic majorities for reelection and support.
While there are many noteworthy exceptions, their democrat opponents are aggressive, young, seek out the media, and have fire in the belly.
As a group, democrats have the further advantage, as we've said, of believing and acting on the precept that, "The end justifies the means".
Political instinct teaches that democrats see a day ahead, when with aggressive and effective communications, they can seduce the entitlement generation into putting them into power throughout Alaska...and, indeed, the country. They've already done so within Anchorage city government.
And, for republicans with memory, that will have been an opportunity mis-handled THIS YEAR and countless opportunities lost for the remnants of future generations.
|ADN, by Dermot Cole.
A state plan aimed at speeding the transition to natural gas in Fairbanks reaches a key decision point Tuesday, with the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority scheduled to consider a $54 million investment to move the project forward.
The AIDEA board, set to meet in Anchorage, is to hear a report recommending the agency buy Pentex Natural Gas Company LLC, the parent company of the Fairbanks Natural Gas utility, for $54 million, with a closing expected by the end of July. The sale price would be reduced by about $15 million through the spinoff of the company’s Point MacKenzie liquefaction plant and other assets to Hillcorp later this year.
ADN by Dermot Cole. An annual multibillion-dollar debate between oil companies and local municipalities about differences in the taxable value of the trans-Alaska pipeline resumed in Anchorage Monday.
The oil companies argue the 38-year-old pipeline is worth $2.6 billion, while the municipal governments of the North Slope, Valdez and Fairbanks say it is worth about six times that much, in large part because billions of barrels of profitable oil remain to be pumped to Valdez in the decades ahead. The state is arguing for a value three times higher than that favored by the companies.
News Miner. Gov. Bill Walker on Monday vetoed much of the underfunded operating budget sent to him by the Alaska Legislature and warned state employees that 15,000 of them could be without a job on July 1 if the Legislature can't come up a fully funded budget.
Peninsula Clarion by Phuong Le. (Note our extensive coverage by scrolling down through last week's postings. -dh)
Neither a protest by hundreds of demonstrators nor a permit violation notice from the city will halt Royal Dutch Shell's use of a Seattle seaport terminal as it prepares for exploratory oil drilling in the Arctic Ocean, spokesmen say.
The violation notice issued Monday by the Seattle Department of Planning and Development said use of Terminal 5 by a massive floating drill rig was in violation of the site's permitted use as a cargo terminal. The 400-foot Polar Pioneer and its support tug Aiviq must be removed from the terminal or Shell's host, Foss Maritime, must obtain an appropriate permit, the city indicated.
Today's Note From Robert Dillon (NGP Photo), Communication Director, U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources:
There’s been lots of misinformation out there about what the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) has said about the safety of offshore Arctic development in Alaska. Let the attached fact sheet from BOEM set the record straight – it is not accurate to say there is a 75 percent chance of an oil spill from Shell’s Arctic exploration. Period.
The fact is that Alaska has a long history of safe and responsible oil and natural gas production in the Arctic. Some 35 wells have been drilled in Alaska’s Arctic waters since the 1980s. But you wouldn’t know that by listening to the opponents of oil production who claim Arctic drilling can’t be done safely. Hogwash.
To date, Alaska has produced and shipped more than 17 billion barrels of Arctic oil through the trans-Alaska oil pipeline. We’re already producing oil from federal waters at the Northstar field, which was discovered in 1984 and has produced more than 150 million barrels of oil since 2001.
And our state – with an estimated 46 billion barrels of conventional oil reserves and 430 trillion cubic feet of natural gas reserves – has much more to offer the nation. Studies suggest that increased leasing and development in Alaska’s Beaufort and Chukchi seas and in Cook Inlet could, by 2035, create nearly 840,000 jobs, raise more than $200 billion in revenue for the government and increase U.S. energy production by 3.5 million barrels.
Even President Obama agrees that Alaska production is good for America: “I would rather us – with all the safeguards and standards that we have – be producing our oil and gas, rather than importing it, which is bad for our people, but is also potentially purchased from places that have much lower environmental standards than we do.” – President Obama, May 14, 2015.
Our friend, Julie Hasquet offers this heads up about the upcoming luncheon of the Alaska Oil & Gas Association (AOGA).
"This annual event is the best place to learn all of the latest information, facts & figures about what is happening in Alaska’s oil and gas industry. This year’s opening remarks are from U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, and the keynote speaker is Adam Sierninski, Administrator of the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
The 2015 luncheon is Thursday, May 28 at 11:30 am at the Dena’ina Center in Anchorage. If you haven’t already, please take the opportunity to consider buying a table for you and clients...or individual tickets. You can register at www.aoga.org.
Commentary: Earlier this week we gave credit to the useful idiots of the country by respecting their devotion as true believers in however climate change is defined today. We also pointed out that one of the world's most respected climate change leaders admitted that her work was not so much about the environment as about destroying capitalism. The story below describes the thought process, or lack thereof, of a graduate student from Olympia who drove to Seattle to protest the world's reliance on oil. And he brought others with him. -dh
Seattle Times by Coral Garnick. Conrad Ely brought a kayak and canoe with three of his friends from Olympia. He is pursuing a master’s degree in environmental studies program at The Evergreen State College in Olympia and drove up Saturday to join the demonstration and show his opposition to oil dependency.
“I think our resources should be spent on finding alternatives rather than on finding oil,” he said after unloading his supplies and signing a waiver upon arrival at Seacrest Park.
(Comment: We believe an interesting environmental studies masters thesis could focus on the fossil fuels and mined minerals that compose Mr. Ely's Kayak, clothing and the car/fuel that carried him from Olympia to Seattle; then, using scientific methodology, determine how he would maintain his lifestyle and future career without them. -dh)
Published this morning: our MASTER RESOURCE Op-ed: "Seattle Hearing on Shell's Arctic Rig Docking: A Clash of Visions"
|Investors Business Daily. At a news conference last week in Brussels, Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of U.N.'s Framework Convention on Climate Change, admitted that the goal of environmental activists is not to save the world from ecological calamity but to destroy capitalism.
"This is the first time in the history of mankind that we are setting ourselves the task of intentionally, within a defined period of time, to change the economic development model that has been reigning for at least 150 years, since the Industrial Revolution," she said.
Politico. United Nations climate change chief Christiana Figueres on Wednesday questioned the wisdom of Shell's quest to drill in the Arctic. "There is an increasing amount of analysis that points to the fact that we will have to keep the great majority of fossil fuel reserves underground (Note: one of the talking points in several enviro presentations in Seattle on Tuesday. -dh), and there’s increasing amount of analysis that points to the increased danger ... of high-cost carbon investments," Figueres, the executive secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, told reporters.
Today we fearlessly define the role and character of 'useful idiots', expose their masters and shatter the innocence of those who continually ask, "why would they do that?"
As in the case of the Seattle hearing earlier this week, we often see the liberal element of our society acting in character: loud, defiant, rude, intolerant, highly emotional and quick to cite assumptions without much factual basis.
Above, we quoted Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of U.N.'s Framework Convention on Climate Change in connection with the Seattle hearing. She commented on Shell's exploration plan and her talking points mirrored those heard in the hearing
They will often demonize their prey and take illegal shortcuts as they pursue their ends via any means.
Who are the world's current army of useful idiots?
- These are the fresh faced, idealistic Australian "volunteers" who trespass on legal, oceangoing vessels to protest their oil exploration missions.
- These are the selfish who would print money to overspend now for their own comfort at the expense of their children who will pay the bill one unjust way or another.
- These are forest activists whose handiwork produces forest fires by politically fighting sustained yield forestry and who injure the loggers by 'spiking' trees.
- These are city park "occupiers" advocating anarchy while looting nearby stores and leaving piles of human waste and trash for honest citizens to clean up later.
- These are avowed socialists, advocating dictatorship and economic slavery by taxing a business to transfer wealth to, "green industry", true believers.
- These are politicians who have developed wealth transfer into a lucrative profession.
- These are litigants who would introduce a cake maker or photographer to bankruptcy or jail for politely declining to support a wedding ceremony.
- These are atheists, secularists and alternative religious fanatics who would erase the Christian heritage of America by forcing removal of all reference to Christ from public dialog and public places.
- These are global warming (a.k.a. "climate change") devotees who use devious techniques with religious fervor as a means to achieving their end -- eliminating opposition.
- These are those whose livelihood is based on creating racial or gender or religious or patriotic mistrust, bias and unrest where there was none.
- These are politicians advocating a weaker military and a more robust welfare state.
- These are school administrators who don't support teachers attempting to enforce order in a classroom and teachers who infuse their own liberal philosophies into lesson plans of every subject, from physics, to biology, English, history, economics and political science.
- These agitators will oppose without meritorious argument the construction of major projects, such as the Keystone Pipeline.
- These geniuses will burn to the ground the only pharmacy or convenience store in a ghetto to protest the lack of jobs in the ghetto.
- These will picket or boycott a restaurant whose management proclaims devotion to Christian values.
- These will picket and interrupt commerce and traffic in support of a government-ordered "Minimum Wage" as thousands of entry level, teen aged employees and senior citizens face layoffs, restaurant closings and non-human automation.
- These will support amnesty for trespassing, criminal, disease carrying and otherwise illegal aliens whose own countries would incarcerate or execute Americans who attempted illegal entry...and whose immigration programs are only open to healthy investors, fixed income retirees or professionals with talents to offer.
- These are those who are quick to criticize and demonize America's founding Christian principles while demeaning those who might in any way criticize an alien religion that is abhorrent to America's constitutional values and the intent of the country's founders.
- These others would wrap their climate change/global warming vocations/avocations in a mantel of religious fervor, absent the omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient Creator, of course.
- These are the ones who would use, not their own, but taxpayer dollars to subsidize unqualified homebuyers or uneconomic green company supporters in return for political support.
- These are that flank of the movement that would disarm America as the bureaucracy gains power.
Most of these seem highly dedicated to some cause.
All are on a stage.
Their acting performances are near flawless, because they are not merely actors on this stage of life and political action: they are true believers: housewives, students, professors, retirees, group activists, religious activists, political operatives.
And most align themselves with the Democrat Party in the United States or, more honestly, with "liberal" or "socialist" or "communist" parties in other countries. (Some of us can remember having good friends and colleagues who labeled themselves, "conservative democrats". Try to find one now who will not vote lockstep with the mainstream democrats on most issues.)
To those controling these intricate productions, to those who write the scripts, choreograph the action, design preprinted picket signs, create and coordinate talking points with the democrat/socialist/environmental networks and finance the productions -- to those who manipulate them -- the real life actors are very useful idiots.
|Follow the money and power. The result of all of the misguided, unAmerican actions above is to shift money and power -- and votes -- from producers in a free society to beneficiaries of a fascist bureaucracy.|
Fate of the useful idiots may not be what they expected.
Tragedy might await useful idiots. When the manipulators achieve power through the labor of the many constituent groups, their faithful environmental or social or political advocates will be expendable.
This is because following the accumulation of complete power, the liberal idealists, the useful idiots, will have no option but to support and vote for the fascist manipulators. Just ask liberal minorities how their brothers and sisters in Chinese or ISIS territory or Cuba are treated. And how did they fare under Roman, Turkish, Nazi, Soviet, Russian, Pol Pot or Boko Haram rule?
If useful idiots in America reflect on this history, they would join Christian prayer groups. They would carry the American Flag in parades, promote the Constitution and eject leftist philosophies whose end can only be to enslave the idiots who enable it.
Which of the countries hyperlinked above would provide the security, safety, rule of law, freedom, true hope and opportunity enjoyed by our past generations?
But what about mainstream, traditional, conservative, patriotic America in a fascist environment?
Those opposed to the manipulation will have already been dealt with: forced into bankruptcy, intimidated, monitored, investigated, jailed, or otherwise neutralized. It is now happening before our eyes.
The IRS abuses us, is not punished and its offenders given princely retirements and bonuses. The VA abuses veterans, is not punished and its offenders given princely retirements and bonuses. The Attorney General selectively enforces the law and encourages racial strife. The White House co-habits with tax cheats and employed one as Treasury Secretary. And, so much more....
I am often amazed when the federal government denies a permit, promulgates a terrible new regulation or vetoes a logical law that some of my friends still ask in wonderment: "Why would they do that?"
I always suggest that friends might find the answer by considering the manipulators of that result to be very smart, logical and serious. One should then consider the movement of money and power in connection with that particular issue and suddenly the very clear but evil strategy is revealed.
What is that mysterious cabal of government, environmental and corporate manipulators?
She is certainly one of the manipulators, using her "climate change" position of authority in the United Nations to disseminate global warming/climate change propaganda used by her faithful followers.
One guesses that the desirable end result of her work would be to put the UN firmly in charge of its various world units in a new world order -- though other world dictators might have a more selfish reason for bringing down the world's largest free economy.
In any case, we refrain from speculating further as to precise plans.
All we have to go on now is what we believe in a court of law to be a powerful case of circumstantial evidence, combined with the occasional admission such as that of Ms. Figueres, quoted above.
However, when we note the dozens of White House visits of some of the favored ones noted column right; when we note lack of prosecution of guilty allies; when we note the use of federal power to attack political opponents; and, when we see before our eyes the long tradition of due process fading into history: then, we know change is on the way. No, change is here.
And we know for certain that such change does not bode well for freedom, constitutional principals, the rule of law, free enterprise, traditional values, our Christian culture, our history, our Founders' dreams, our childrens' hopes and opportunities, peace in the world, or security at home.
What is the solution?
Already, we see change is inevitable. The question is how extreme will it get.
When the majority of Americans vote for the sort of change described herein --and they have -- change has already occurred.
When great companies like Wal-Mart and General Electric have already laid tribute at the alter of various politically correct, carbon tax, climate change, socialist and/or environmentally extreme NGOs -- change has already occurred.
When the military's traditions have been emasculated, Bibles banned, Christianity abused, General and Flag officers replaced with agreeable operatives in uniform -- then we know change has already occurred.
When we see an Administration that backs down from a red line in Syria, how can we expect for it to support allies engaged in Asian island disputes with China; with mano a mano disputes between Russia and NATO allies; with the Iranian fleet testing our Yemen resolve; with Middle Eastern jihadists threatening our Israeli, Jordanian, Saudi and other allies; with jihadists establishing training camps throughout the United States; with Russians taking more and more command of Arctic resources and waterways?
What is the solution; what should we do?
Well, the thing the United States of America is not doing as a nation and the majority of its people are not doing as individuals, is kneeling before our Master and Creator, vowing allegiance, requesting forgiveness, giving thanks, asking for guidance and protection as his children.
The most important thing we could do are those things listed above. Our Founders did and were led to miraculous victory--not unlike Joshua of old.
By taking the same approach, we expose ourselves and our Nation to a state of grace, to the unequaled power of our God. We will be led to elect good people to public office and to find hope where now there is only the specter of disaster, destruction. That is the solution.
We will keep faith with our Founders who, in turn, found God's guidance and protection real, everlasting and irreplaceable. And they warned future generations that only by continued allegiance to the creator and the founding principles could we hope to see the nation survive future challenges. That is what we should do.
Yes, this webpage is about energy. But energy is a part of and will be controlled by the big, orchestrated changes now occurring. Presently, those changes do not look well for a free and productive private sector. And while we do not have ministerial training, we would be compelled by history and logic to this conclusion -- even were we not compelled by faith.
Unless we face the major issue -- reliance on Holy God -- no industry, no state, no employment, no nation, no family, no future is secure from the dedicated and evil networks organized against and poised to change our way of life.
In that somber change, sadly, we can believe -- unless we are willing to change ourselves.
Yesterday's Port of Seattle Testimony: News, our commentary below...
Commentary. We watched a "clash of energy philosophies" at yesterday's hearing online.
We drew three main conclusions:
1. Alaska witnesses. Many testified. All but one (i.e. a Mat-su area environmentalist who criticized Alaska's position on natural resource development) represented themselves professionally, presenting actual facts and history relating to the century-old relationship between Seattle and Alaska.
They also carefully briefed the commissioners on the importance of Shell's exploration, potential sustainability of the Trans Alaska Pipeline System (TAPS) and TAPS' impact on Washington state jobs and economic impact.
Alaska North Slope (ANS) Native leaders discussed the importance of properly developing oil in concert with subsistence and lifestyle values--and their successful history of working both with the oil industry and the Seattle Seaport.
Here is the testimony of Rick Rogers (NGP Photo), Executive Director of Resource Development Council for Alaska (RDC). He focuses on the economic "ties that bind" Alaska and Seattle together and the importance of the sanctity of contract law. A unique group, RDC represents forestry, commercial fishing, mining and other natural resource interests other than oil and gas.
We were particularly impressed with the calm and effective presentation Alaska State Senate Resources Committee Chairman Cathy Giessel (NGP Photo) made as first witness. Her diplomatic but firm recommendation that the Seattle Port respect its agreement to provide dockside support to Shell and its contractor Foss Maritime, set a positive tone for the whole day--and reflected credit on Alaska's government.
Another distinguished Alaskan, Paul Fuhs (Quoted in the Times article), spoke as a former mayor and current port manager, focusing on the credibility of the Port's decision process.
We believe the Seattle Times reporters featured his words, in part, because of his own credible testimony.
2. Anti Shell, anti fossil fuel witnesses were not credible but emotional pleas sometimes win debates.
The activist crowd represented several national and international environmentally extreme groups along with well intended but highly emotional local residents who focused on emotional techniques to generate support.
Some stood rather than delivered prepared presentations seated at the witness box.
Some sang an anti-oil song.
Some snapped their fingers after their friends testified.
Some applauded when the Chair asked that all witnesses be heard without interruption.
Some held up anti-oil signs as they testified.
Some brought children.
Some were foreign national environmentalists advocating more activism.
A socialist advocated denying Shell lease space, taxing the company and using the cash to create "green jobs" to replace all the carbon producing jobs that would be supposedly lost by refusing to allow the Seattle port to service Shell's fleet.
3. Education. The hearing should have been a 'wake up call' both for Alaska and the natural resource extraction industries in general.
It is apparent that many school teachers from K-12 through University worship at the "Global Warming Altar".
We detect this trend from having carefully listened to the words of local witnesses.
We support an atmosphere wherein parents and teachers encourage their children to engage in honest debate on all issues.
By our own observation -- confirmed by this hearing -- we are concerned that the religion of global warming takes no prisoners, does not tolerate debate, demeans and demonizes all opposition, believes the end justifies all means including violation of laws.
This growing new attitude of intolerant environmental activism seems to have spread like a viral gospel through the neighborhoods and politics of Seattle.
One indication of the virility of the environmental gospel is Monday's action by the Seattle city council.
It passed a resolution opposing Seaport services for Shell. It used embarrassingly flimsy rational that appeared to reflect much of the same emotional sentiment expressed by the environmental activists on Tuesday.
All of these anti free enterprise, anti fossil fuel allies seem to have been studying the same talking points and drinking the same Kool-Aid from the same communion table.
Religions have in common that they place the state of faith above worldly facts.
Let us propose this concept to our own faithful readers:
They have faith that what is man-caused can be man-controlled.
They believe that regardless of whether the rest of the world acts, America should act to eliminate use of fossil fuels in spite of economic, national security or even unintended negative environmental impacts.
And, they don't mind proclaiming that if they can use political pressure to stop Shell from using Seattle port facilities, this will somehow reduce carbon emissions.
But Shell will look for Arctic oil or not, depending on Federal permits. If the company doesn't find Arctic oil, the worldwide demand for oil will set a price that will provide the incentive to find it somewhere else...as America, Seattle and Alaska lose jobs and economic growth from our own domestic production.
We have observed natural resource hearings for 4 decades. Never has such a pervasive, activist, elitist, anti-civilization mentality so effectively pervaded our society.
If our civilization is to continue, our well-grounded public and private leaders need to wake up and undertake communication programs designed to better articulate the facets of free-enterprise, wealth creation, natural resource development, freedom and history to community members--young and old.
Such a new education movement could well begin in Seattle, anchor tenant of America's "Left Coast".
For every new generation of citizens and their elected leaders need to be reminded of how America became great because of wealth producing natural resources.
Our future generations of citizens also need to be taught how a country's greatness -- and perhaps its existence -- can fast disappear without the means to sustain a desirable way of life.
Seattle Times by Coral Garnick. Hal Bernton, Paige Cornwell, Evan Bush, and Daniel Beekman contributed to this story.
Shell Oil says its offshore oil rigs will arrive shortly on Seattle’s waterfront to prepare for drilling in Alaska, despite a Port of Seattle resolution Tuesday asking it to delay while the Port challenges a city ruling aimed at keeping the rigs out.
“Rig movement will commence in the days to come,” said Shell spokesman Curtis Smith in an email.
Paul Fuhs (NGP Photo), executive director of the North Slope Port Authority in Alaska, said before the meeting that rescinding the lease with Foss would be the equivalent of Alaskans telling Washington to “just shut down your Boeing plant and solve global warming with that.”
“Regardless of what the city (of Seattle) does, they cannot stop Shell from drilling this season,” said Fuhs, of the North Slope Port Authority. “The real damage that’s being done is to the credibility of the Port.”
Samples of the two types of witnesses: Resource Development Council for Alaska and A Gaggle of Grannies (a.k.a. "Raging Grannies")
12:58 PM: Just as Seattle port commissioners are about to start their meeting on the controversial Terminal 5 lease to Foss/Shell, we received ....
1:05 PM: The meeting has begun. Commissioner Stephanie Bowman is leading it; her co-president Courtney Gregoire is absent “for health reasons.” Bowman urges civility, saying her 70-year-old mom is in the front row so if you’re rude to the commission, you’re rude to her mom. This will start with public comment, and #1 is the one elected official Bowman has mentioned as being here – Alaska State Senator Cathy Giessel, who chairs....
#2 – a speaker who says he’s from a faith-based community: “Help us find the courage to make our lives a blessing....
#3 – Anthony Edwardson from Barrow, AK, chair of Arctic Inupiat Offshore, “asking the commission to honor (the lease). … We have partnered with Shell to be sure....
#21 – Zoe Buckley Lennox, an Australian who was one of the six Greenpeace activists who boarded the Polar Pioneer in the middle of the North Pacific, gets up to speak and gets an ovation of sorts ....
#31 – The Raging Grannies are speaking now, and the photographers are rushing to the front of the room. “We are imagining a future where people ....
Seattle Times Commentary by Denny Westneat: "A state mostly run by liberal Democrats for years continues to dodge the tough work required for the economy to grow greener."
The other day I was watching video footage of one of Seattle’s emerging leaders, City Councilman Mike O’Brien, as he was training to be a “kayaktivist” in opposing Shell Oil’s drilling rigs ….
He said something designed to be a rallying cry, but ….
“We’re protesting the idea of Arctic drilling … the idea that Shell Oil is going to bring its drilling fleet into Seattle and tie us up in their shenanigans up in Alaska,” O’Brien said to Q13 News. “We don’t want ….
But we’re already tied up in their shenanigans. The reality is Seattle is probably as hooked on Arctic crude ….For going on 40 years, Arctic crude has literally fueled the prosperous growth in….
U.S. Sens Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, and Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., along with 11 of their Senate colleagues today introduced the Energy Supply and Distribution Act of 2015 (S.1312). This bipartisan legislation would modernize federal energy policy by ending the outdated ban on crude oil exports.
Murkowski and Heitkamp were joined by Sens. Hoeven, R-N.D., Barrasso, R-Wyo., McCain, R-Ariz., Corker, R-Tenn., Alexander, R-Tenn., Risch, R-Idaho, Flake, R-Ariz., Capito, R-W.Va., Inhofe, R-Okla., Rubio, R-Fla., and Lankford, R-Okla. as cosponsors representing six committee Chairmen.
“America’s energy landscape has changed dramatically since the export ban was put in place in the 1970s. We have moved from energy scarcity to energy abundance. Unfortunately, our energy policies have not kept pace,” Sen. Murkowski said. “This legislation builds from bipartisan ideas, linking energy security and infrastructure to expanding exports and helping our allies. Our nation has an opportunity to embrace its role as a global energy powerhouse, sending a signal to the world that we are open for business and will stand by our friends in need.”
“The 1970s-era ban on exporting American crude oil is as outdated as the typewriters on which the policy was written. It’s past time for an upgrade,” said Sen. Heitkamp. “Senator Murkowski and I are working to change the trajectory – by doing away with this nonsensical, out-of-date ban on U.S. crude exports, we can fully harness our resources here at home, level the playing field in the global energy market, and support our energy security by making sure our allies get energy resources from us instead of volatile regions. In the coming days, I’ll introduce complementary legislation that will hopefully be combined with this bill to make sure our legislation to lift the ban is as strong and comprehensive as possible.”
“Lifting the decades-old law banning U.S. producers from selling their product on the world market will help produce more energy, grow our economy and create more jobs, both in North Dakota and across the nation,” Sen. Hoeven said. “In addition, according to the Energy Information Administration, removing the ban will increase the supply of oil on the world market, bringing the price of crude down globally, which will bring down the price of gasoline and other fuels for consumers.”
“For generations, Americans have been subject to the whims of OPEC and its impact on the world oil market. Americans pay more at the pump whenever the world’s supply decreases —whether that is a result of events close to home or decisions made on another continent,” Sen. Barrasso said. “Ending the ban on exporting crude oil will allow American producers to add to global oil supplies and help stabilize the world oil market. American exports will help us keep gasoline prices affordable while undermining the influence of oil-rich countries that don’t share our values or our interests.”
“Lifting this outdated ban to expand markets for U.S. oil products will provide economic and strategic benefits for our country,” Sen. Corker said. “Increasing U.S. supply on the world market will contribute to lower and more stable prices for American consumers, while giving our allies and partners alternatives to oil from places like Russia and the Middle East.”
“Today, America is in the midst of an energy boom, topping Saudi Arabia and Russia as the world’s leading oil producer. With this surge in production projected to continue, and U.S. refineries unable to process it all, producers should be permitted to sell it abroad,” Sen. Risch said. “A responsible update to our crude oil export policy, which this legislation represents, will be good for the economy and for American interests abroad.”
“It’s high time for the U.S. to reconsider policies that only serve to artificially constrain market access. I am pleased to join Sen. Murkowski in pushing for an end to the oil export ban,” Sen. Flake said.
“With the U.S. producing more energy than ever before, now is the time to lift the current ban on U.S. oil exports. The sooner Congress updates these outdated policies, the sooner American workers can start experiencing the benefits of an energy-driven economy,” Sen. Capito said.
“I am proud to support Chairman Murkowski's bill to lift the oil export ban. When producers can export everything from gasoline to jet fuel, it only makes sense that unrefined products should be exported too,” Sen. Inhofe said. “This bill would help provide energy security for our allies in Europe and Asia, as well as support job creation in the United States by encouraging greater production. Leading studies also show that this policy change will lower gasoline prices at the pump. This is the right thing to do - both for ourselves and our allies abroad.”
“Energy development has been a valuable part of the American economy for decades, even while unnecessary barriers have restrained its’ growth and limited jobs,” Sen. Lankford said. “The energy industry has been a bright spot through a recession, and its potential, specifically in the area of crude oil exports, is tremendous. This bipartisan Energy Supply and Distribution Act of 2015 is important for growing our economy, creating good-paying jobs, and unleashing a robust recovery. We actually have the capacity to produce enough resources to be a net exporter, yet are unable to do so due to an antiquated and outdated ban. We should take every advantage to export both our resources and our values to nations around the world.”
Murkowski, chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, has long supported ending the outdated ban on American crude oil exports. In March, the Senate energy panel held a hearing to examine the benefits of ending this outdated energy policy. Murkowski released a reportedly last year calling for the liberalization of America’s energy trade policies. The legislation introduced by Murkowski and Heitkamp and cosponsored by 11 of their Senate colleagues, furthers Murkowski’s commitment to modernizing America’s energy policies.
More information on S. 1312, the Energy Supply and Distribution Act, is available on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee website.
|In part, the Seattle City Council's Resolution 31576 states, "WHEREAS, broad community support for the policies and investments needed to sustain and improve the Port as a working waterfront with a significant number of family-supporting jobs
is vital to the future of the Port and Seattle’s employment base, and that support would be
undermined by use of the Port to stage Arctic drilling operations.
We suppose that the next step will be for the Mayor to demand that the Port Commission order the Airport to not permit cargo flights that originate from Seattle if they are providing logistical support to Alaska North Slope oil production. -dh
See our commentary below (column, lower right) on the Port of Seattle Commission meeting today. We would also draw readers' attention to the efforts of the Seattle City Council to subject virtually every City and Port of Seattle policy to the vagaries of "Climate Change" philosophies du jour.' We say, "vagaries" because so many of the justifications used in the resolution are bald, vague assertions without reference to specific facts or scientific findings.
If City Council Resolution 31576 is adopted and if the Port of Seattle agrees with it, Shell's current staging plans at Terminal 5 could be grudgingly accepted by a tie breaking vote.
However, all future oil and gas related or energy using activity could be prohibited uses -- even those occurring far away with City or Port staging, supplying or other support functions. -dh
Early Tuesday News: It is significant that -- as the Port of Seattle Commissioners prepare to meet on an Arctic policy matter today in Seattle, Governor Bill Walker (NGP Photo) signed an Arctic policy bill into law yesterday, taking a major step forward in defining Alaska’s involvement in Arctic development. Sponsored
Today's Port of Seattle Commissioners Meeting Agenda and Streaming Live Video. Links are here.
Commentary: "Educating Seattle"
We encourage readers to provide comment to the Port of Seattle Commissioners, who are meeting today on the subject of providing port support for Shell Oil's summer exploration program in the Chukchi Sea.
Here is our comment; and, here is our 2002 speech to the Seattle Chamber of Commerce, whose theme is generally relevant to the current Port issue.
Here is a comment from Aves Thompson (NGP Photo), Alaska Trucking Association.
Send us your comment/opinion and we will post it here for our archives.
We hope that Alaska's Governor and a number of Alaska's elected officials -- particularly Mayors and Legislators -- provide friendly comment to the Seattle Port Commissioners before this issue is resolved.
Regardless about how this particular matter evolves, we predict that Alaska's relationship with Seattle can only improve from here on out.
Because many Alaskans went to the expense, on short notice, of flying to Seattle to testify today before Port Commissioners.
We believe our Alaska colleagues and Seattle Chamber friends will discover -- through this port challenge -- that Alaska myths pervade the Western Slope, coastal communities of Washington, especially in what has become a very socialistic city of Seattle.
We revered the congressional leadership of Doc Hastings (NGP Photo) before he retired, and before him the moderate and balanced leadership of Senators Warren Magnuson and Henry M. (Scoop) Jackson whose legendary cooperation with Alaska Senator Ted Stevens (NGP Photo) produced such landmark legislation as the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (i.e. balancing ANWR oil development with wilderness protection), and the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act.
The new crew of elected leaders has now taken over and it is critical that Alaskans and their Seattle counterparts conduct information programs designed to properly educate our SeaTac/Seaport friends about the true and critical relationships existing between our two communities.
To not educate new generations of constituencies with fact and history is to leave their education to those espousing political agendas.
by Representative Bob Herron of Bethel, HB 1 outlines the state’s priorities for Arctic policy and spells out ways in which the state will attain those priorities.
“As the United States assumes chairmanship of the Arctic Council, it’s important that Alaska establishes itself as a leader in Arctic issues,” Governor Walker said. “This legislation is significant because it is the first of its kind to define Alaska’s role in the rapidly-changing Arctic.”
HB 1 outlines Alaska’s Arctic policy priorities as promoting economic and resource development, addressing the infrastructure and response capacity gap in the Arctic region, supporting healthy communities, and strengthening a state-based agenda for science and research in the Arctic.
“Our country is an Arctic nation because of Alaska,” Governor Walker said. “That is why it is absolutely critical that we have a seat at the table for Arctic development discussions. I commend Representative Herron and the co-sponsors of this bill for taking on such an important issue.”
Monday’s bill signing took place at the Arctic Slope Regional Corporation office in Anchorage.
“I also thank members of the Alaska Arctic Policy Commission for their two years of work in setting the stage for this bill,” Governor Walker said. “Their implementation plan paved the way for this important legislation.”
1. To view the full text of enrolled HB 1:
2. For more information on the Alaska Arctic Policy Commission, visit http://www.akarctic.com/
UT San Diego. A giant floating oil rig currently anchored off Port Angeles, Washington, will be towed to Seattle this week despite the Seattle mayor's assertion that....
Comment from Aves Thompson, Alaska Trucking Association:
Port of Seattle Commissioners:
I am writing on behalf of the Alaska Trucking Association to urge you to vote against any effort by the Seattle City Council to interfere with the Port of Seattle’s lease provisions for Terminal 5 to Foss Maritime. The most immediate of which is Council Member O’Brien’s resolution urging the Port of Seattle to reconsider its Terminal 5 lease.
One of the basic tenets of the free market is contract law. Without the inviolable obligation to honor a contract, all transactions become suspect. How can one conduct a business operation if there is no reasonable expectation of the contract performance of each party.
Many people in Seattle and King County have jobs as a result of Alaska trade. It seems to us that the action to deny lease space to Shell is an affront not only to your friends and neighbors but also to your Alaskan neighbors.
Alaska has been and continues to be one of the Port of Seattle’s largest trading partners and both Alaska and Seattle, including the rest of the state of Washington have benefited greatly from this trading partnership.
Alaska depends on oil and gas production to support our economy. Anything that reduces Alaska’s ability to produce oil has a negative effect on Alaska’s economy thereby having a negative effect on the many Seattle and King county residents whose jobs depend on Alaska trade.
Shell Oil has an enormous investment in Alaska in an effort to develop the offshore oil leases it acquired years ago. Please let them stage their operations under the terms of the lease provisions for Terminal 5.
Thank you for your consideration.
Aves Thompson, Executive Director
Alaska Trucking Association
3443 Minnesota Drive
Anchorage, AK 99503
Yesterday, the Department of the Interior gave conditional approval to allow Shell to move forward with developing Alaska’s offshore areas. Chairman Rob Bishop (UT-01) released the following statement.
“The Obama Administration’s decision to approve Shell’s exploratory plan is finally a sign of its affirmation of the industry’s safe record in offshore development. Government officials and regulators have confirmed that developing offshore resources in the Arctic, Atlantic, and Gulf of Mexico is absolutely safe. Yet, this is just an initial step in what will be many more hurdles for Shell and the entire offshore industry. Many barriers remain, most notably the barrage of regulations contained in the Arctic rule announced by the Administration in January. As we look for more opportunities to expand responsible energy development offshore, these barriers must be overcome.
“The Committee will do its part to help address these challenges through oversight of the Administration and by greater engagement with both states and the private sector, which is the driving force behind innovations in safety and production capabilities. I endorse this first step and hope it means future cooperation between Congress and the Administration.”
The Committee on Natural Resources held a hearing last month that featured industry innovations in safety in the offshore, and will be holding an oversight hearing to examine the implications of the Arctic Rule next month.
Comment: If Seattle's mayor succeeds in influencing local, independent decision making of the Port of Seattle, we have commented that unanticipated reactions could occur.
Tomorrow, the Port of Seattle commissioners will hear testimony on their provision of dock space for support of Shell Oil's summer exploration program in Alaska's Arctic. (Here is the comment we offered commissioners.)
Successful exploration could well mean rejuvenation for the Alaska oil pipeline, now 3/4 empty. It provides transportation of Alaska North Slope oil upon which over a third of Alaska's economy and 90% of Alaska's state operating budget are based. It also affects Alaska's business relationships nation- and world-wide.
The mayor believes that stopping Seattle's support of Alaska oil exploration will support his view of "climate change".
Due process, and the rule of law, which we have discussed during the last week are delicate but critical parts of the economic ecosystem.
If citizens and business can no longer trust due process to be just, reasonable, independent and reliable -- among other adjectives -- the whole relationship between the public and the government becomes clouded with mistrust and hostility.
Last week we noted the interdependence of many Seattle/Alaska relationships, including the fact that the tourism, ship container, air and cruise traffic, commercial fishing and logistical support are all -- to one extent or another -- dependent on oil production to subsidize all manner of public services.
Seattle citizens should recognize that Alaskans, their Constitution and statehood act all rely on natural resource development for economic survival. Kill Alaska oil and gas activity and one kills the majority of Alaska commerce upon which a good deal of the Seattle economy is based.
Underlining the importance of Alaska support for Shell's activity are the overwhelming majority of Alaskan businesses as represented by the Alaska State Chamber of Commerce, Alaska Support Industry Alliance and Resource Development Council for Alaska (i.e. whose alert notice we use below.)
Accordingly, supporting Arctic energy exploration is not merely a politician's 'climate change' issue: it is also an 'economy change' issue that can affect all Alaskans and all Seattle citizens, directly and indirectly.
It is fine if a port announces its use priority and that priority precludes our type of use. It is not fine if a port agrees to a use then bows to pressure to change the use priority after a new client has depended on its availability and undertaken costly plans.
It is fine when special interests get upset with an objective and reliable decision, as when the Port of Seattle agreed to have Shell's contractor make arrangements for seaport services. It is not fine when special interests then seek to overturn a Port decision using the power of raw politics.
It is fine for a mayor to have personal opinions about the environment, the economy, religion and politics. It is not fine for a mayor to manipulate due process in pursuit of his personal agenda.
So far, the Commissioners have been resolute ("...we are united in our determination to honor the terms of that lease. Doing otherwise would irreparably damage the Port’s reputation...."). We respect their integrity.
The venerable Seattle Times agrees with the importance of maintaining contract integrity and reputation.
We believe that most thinking citizens would prefer to have fair but firm adults, like the current group, running the critical port activities and other public services.
In fact, having public servants with less character would put the finances and reputation of government operations in jeopardy.
Click here to find out how to comment on the matter before TOMORROW'S 1 p.m. Commission meeting of the Port of Seattle. We also provide you with the meeting agenda and a link to tomorrow's online, live streaming video coverage of the meeting.
-dh (In the interest of accuracy, please send us any factual additions/corrections so that we may make immediate corrections and preserve the most accurate reports for the archives.)
ALERT: Please comment today on tomorrow's meeting of Port of Seattle Commissioners! Here is the agenda and other meeting information. The Alert below is provided courtesy of the Resource Development Council for Alaska (RDC). Watch the meeting online tomorrow via live streaming here at 1 p.m. Seattle time. You can read our comment to Commissioners, here. -dh
In a politically motivated effort to hamper Arctic offshore oil and gas development, Seattle Mayor Ed Murray is pressuring the Port of Seattle to pause and reconsider plans to use Terminal 5 to support the staging of Shell’s Arctic exploration equipment. Shell will be using space at Terminal 5 over the next two to four years for seasonal staging and maintenance of its fleet. However, Mayor Murray and the Seattle City Council is moving to block Shell and scuttle the port’s lease with Shell’s partner, Foss Maritime.
If the city’s move to derail the lease is successful, such action would set a dangerous precedent and send a message that Seattle is closed to business. Furthermore, it creates uncertainty and sends a signal to maritime companies that a lease with the Port may be targeted by special interests and local politicians in the eleventh hour, even as vessels are en route to the region.
Since 1987, Shell has successfully drilled 11 wells offshore in the Alaska Arctic. With today’s even stricter safety standards and regulation, exploration can and will be done safely.
Support Foss Maritime's Lease of Terminal 5 and its efforts to create jobs and make upgrades to the Port. This lease and the necessary upgrades support offshore drilling in Alaska, which will directly benefit Washington’s economy. Tell Port of Seattle Commissioners to uphold their decision to support Puget Sound’s maritime industry.
Email Port commissioners today:
Call the main switchboard and ask for the Commission at (206) 787-3000.
Send letters to:
Port of Seattle Commissioners
P.O. Box 1209
Seattle, WA 98111
Points to consider for your comments:
- The port made the right decision to support the maritime industry, local trades, and businesses by approving Foss’s lease of Terminal 5. Foss has also agreed to pay for much needed port upgrades, making this a no-cost proposition for taxpayers. The project is an important job generator. Foss Maritime’s work at Terminal 5 has already put 417 people to work in Port Angeles and Seattle – supporting more than 1,000 jobs for the Puget Sound region.
- For Seattle to remain a thriving and viable maritime city, it cannot continue to set a hostile tone toward the port, the maritime sector, and Alaska, one of its most important trading partners.
- The maritime industry and the port must have regulatory certainty at all levels of government to maintain global competitiveness and protect middle class jobs at the core of the industry.
- The port is focused on key trade, transportation and travel in the Pacific Northwest, supporting diverse industries and running efficient operations, while improving and protecting Puget Sound’s multi-billion dollar economic relationship with Alaska.
- If the port’s lease with Shell and Foss Maritime is blocked, it would set a dangerous precedent targeting fossil fuel industries and tarnishing the reputation of Seattle’s port.
- Alaska and Puget Sound share a dynamic and diverse economic relationship strengthened by air and sea shipping, seafood, petroleum, and tourism. Alaska’s contribution to the Puget Sound economy accounted for 113,000 jobs in the region and $6.2 billion in labor earnings in 2013.
- Oil and gas production is the foundation of Alaska’s economy. Arctic oil development has the potential to refill the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System and sustain the state’s economy through much of the 21st century. A strong Alaska economy will greatly benefit the Puget Sound region.
- Of all cargo movement between the Port of Seattle and Alaska, 80 percent is transported north. Large projects in Alaska, including new mining and oil and gas operations, directly benefit both the Alaska and Puget Sound economies in multiple ways.
- Alaska supplies nearly half of all crude oil refined in Puget Sound. An estimated 12,000 Puget Sound jobs and $780 million in labor earnings are connected with refining Alaska oil.
- Offshore development in the Alaska Arctic has the potential to be a significant contributor to our nation’s energy security, as well as a significant source of long-term jobs for Americans. It is estimated that economic activity from the development of Arctic energy resources would create an annual average of 54,700 jobs nationwide with a cumulative payroll of $154 billion over the next 50 years.
- 35 exploration wells have been drilled offshore in the Alaska Arctic. In 1964, Shell was the first operator to install a platform and produce hydrocarbons in Cook Inlet, and since 1987, Shell has successfully drilled 11 wells offshore in the Alaska Arctic. With today’s even stricter safety standards and regulation, exploration can and will be done safely.
Dave Harbour's Comment to Commissioners is below, and we will be delighted and honored to print your testimony or other communication, for our archives. Please send here.)
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