ExxonMobil's Rex Tillerson Compliments Canadian Regulatory System, Chastises U.S. Administration (i.e. ...with good reason, as we have documented herein. We would also observe that many U.S. and many Canadian decisions affect citizens of the other country, their economy and their very lives. Therefore, as each others' largest trading partner, we should always be aware that our decisions encompass much more than simply "our" economy or "our" politics. Tillerson is right. From personal knowledge we are very familiar with NEB and FERC energy regulatory systems along with state and provincial systems. Sometimes the US way is to be emulated and sometimes the Canadian practice is superior. The trick is for government, like industry, to borrow best practices from one another--and treat each other like the North American family that we are. In the case of the Keystone XL matter, our leadership clearly mistreated our brothers and sisters north of the border. D'accord? -dh More below.) Story: Deborah Yedlin, Calgary Herald; Photo: Calgary Herald/F. Carter Smith, Bloomberg.
U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, (NGP Photo), highlighted the importance of reauthorizing and modernizing the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) Act so that it reflects the changing needs and evolving viewpoints about conservation in the 21st century. The LWCF was enacted 50 years ago to increase recreational opportunities for Americans. Since then, it has been used to acquire more public lands even though there are insufficient means to maintain lands already owned by the federal government.
“I strongly believe that conservation in the 21st century must include taking care of what we already have – what we chose to conserve first – instead of simply pretending that ‘more is always better,’” Murkowski said. “As we look to reauthorize LWCF, I believe that it makes sense to shift the federal focus away from land acquisition, particularly in Western states, toward maintaining and enhancing the accessibility and quality of the resources that we have. This is the best way to put our nation’s recreation system on the path of long-term viability.”
Murkowski, chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, pressed the administration on its use of LWCF for only a land acquisition fund rather than using the LWCF to also maintain public lands.
- EID-National: EID set to testify this morning before House Science Committee, releases report on dubious science behind NY HF ban (link)
- EID-Marcellus: PA DEP finds methane emissions plummet as natural gas production ramps up (link)
- EID-Ohio: Belmont County selected for new ethane cracker that will create thousands of great jobs (link)
Thanks to Shale, a New Balance of Power in the World. NY Times. The United States is overtaking the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries as the vital global swing producer that determines prices. That remarkable change has been building since 2008, as American shale fields accounted for roughly half of the world’s oil production growth while American petroleum output nearly doubled. And shale production methods have proven highly adaptable to market conditions. Not coincidentally, nearly all the advantages of the price swing are moving in Washington’s direction. Most American consumers and industries have benefited from a sharp drop in gasoline prices and other energy costs. And abroad, the economies of oil-producing adversaries like Russia and Venezuela are reeling.
Energy In Depth investigation takes on science behind N.Y. HF ban. Politico, sub. req’d. As its Western director prepares to testify before the House Science Committee today on hydraulic fracturing, Energy in Depth is releasing a white paper that accuses New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration of falling to “political pressure from a well-funded, well-organized network of foundations and activist groups opposed to shale development” in imposing a fracking ban in December. NOTE: View the complete report here.
Beware, 'local control' really amounts to drilling ban. Houston Chronicle, EID’s Steve Everley. For several years now, anti-fracking groups have lobbied for "local control" in cities and towns across the country. They claim to support "reasonable" regulations, but in reality, these groups want to ban oil and gas drilling everywhere.
Drilling on federal lands could get more expensive. Oil & Gas 360. Dan Naatz, senior vice president of governmental relations and political affairs for the Independent Petroleum Association of America (IPAA), pointed out the inconsistency in a recent press release. “At a time when the price of oil has dropped about 50% over the past seven months and coupled with new federal regulations for onshore producers, the Obama Administration’s proposal to increase onshore royalty rates will ultimately result in fewer American jobs, less energy production, and hurt our nation’s energy security.”
Can this oil baron’s company withstand another quake? Bloomberg. Steve Everley of Energy In Depth, a research group, says, “If you shut down [wastewater] disposal, you’re effectively shutting down production.”
Oil, gas mining operations cited in Okla., Texas earthquakes. NewsMax. Energy in Depth said "several issues in the paper raise questions about its conclusion," and it "appears to suffer from some modeling flaws," and points out studies from the U.S. Geological Survey, the National Research Council and the Environmental Protection Agency, which indicate that very few oil and gas operations have been implicated in earthquake activity.
Oil and gas activity to blame for quakes? Houston Business Journal. Steve Everley with Energy In Depth wrote a blog poking holes in SMU’s research, saying a pressure change of 5 pounds per square inch was being blamed for the quakes. That’s about the pressure of an inflated football. It also doesn’t account for the permeability of the soil, said Everley. “While the SMU study released today appears to suffer from some modeling flaws, those issues should not overshadow the fact that the research team has provided all of us with a valuable tool for better assessing induced seismicity,” Everley said in his blog.
Gas activities 'most likely' caused Texas quakes. KETR. Energy In Depth on Tuesday praised the researchers for developing a model that “provides greater understanding of the conditions that can ultimately lead to induced seismicity.” But on its website, it added that “several issues in the paper raise questions about its conclusion.” “The concerns we’ve identified in here are in the spirit of constructive collaboration,” Steve Everley, the group’s spokesman, said.
HF can build an economy. Southern Illinoisan, EID’s Seth Whitehead. If fracking is so bad, why are people flocking to North Dakota at the same alarming rate folks are leaving Illinois? The reason is simple: People go where the jobs are – and North Dakota has plenty thanks to fracking.
U.S. HF costs falling fast, may keep fields in play. Reuters. U.S. oil and natural gas companies have pushed down costs of fracking a shale well faster than expected, and if the trend holds up it could allow producers to keep working in oilfields that just months ago looked uncompetitive after the oil price crash.
Oil slump may deepen as US shale fights Opec to a standstill. Telegraph. The US shale industry has failed to crack as expected. North Sea oil drillers and high-cost producers off the coast of Africa are in dire straits, but America's "flexi-frackers" remain largely unruffled. One starts to glimpse the extraordinary possibility that the US oil industry could be the last one standing in a long and bitter price war for global market share, or may at least emerge as an energy superpower with greater political staying-power than Opec.
U.S. oil industry’s battle cry: exports now! Wall Street Journal. American oilmen have seized on one solution to their financial woes in the face of low oil prices: They want to export U.S. crude oil. Soon.
Half of U.S. HF companies will be sold this year. Bloomberg. Half of the 41 fracking companies operating in the U.S. will be dead or sold by year-end because of slashed spending by oil companies, an executive with Weatherford International Plc said. There could be about 20 companies left that provide hydraulic fracturing services, Rob Fulks, pressure pumping marketing director at Weatherford, said in an interview Wednesday at the IHS CERAWeek conference in Houston.
Romania signs agreement with Bulgaria and Greece on natural gas network. Business Review. On Wednesday, Sofia hosted a meeting on the construction of a gas corridor that will interconnect natural gas networks in Romania, Bulgaria and Greece, with a capacity of 3-5 billion cubic meters per year. Romania was represented by Mihai Albulescu, state secretary at the Ministry of Energy, Small and Medium Enterprises and Business Environment.
Could massive EU-US trade deal be extended to Israel? Electronic Intifada. Israel enjoys an extremely close trading relationship with the EU. A deal approved by the European Parliament in 2012 paves the way for Israel to be integrated into the Union’s single market for goods and services. The idea that Israel would be eligible to join TTIP is being mulled over by the cognoscenti in both Brussels and Washington.
Europeans fight U.S. trade deal with fear of HF Under Eiffel Tower. Daily Beast. It will afflict Europe with American abominations on an almost Biblical scale: cheap and dirty food, toxic waste, mind-numbing movies and television, gas-guzzling cars, all while scrapping healthcare and erasing labour rights. That, at least, is how angry European activists are painting a planned trade deal between the European Union and the United States. A legion of horrors has been evoked about an agreement known as the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, or TTIP, which is currently under negotiation.
Fifth of Labour and Lib Dem candidates pledge to defy party line on HF. Guardian. More than one in five Liberal Democrat and Labour election candidates have pledged to oppose fracking in defiance of their parties’ promises to foster the industry during the next parliament.
Noble agrees to upgrade Front Range equipment. Summit County Citizen’s Voice. But this week, the company agreed to clean up its act by upgrading equipment in an effort that could cost as much as $60 million, according to the EPA. Noble alos agreed to pay about $13.45 million in fines and other environmental improvement projects in the region that will help reduce air pollution along the Front Range.
MSU power plant to swap coal for natural gas. State News. On April 8, MSU announced the university will move toward completely cutting the use of coal at the MSU Power Plant by the end of 2016. This decision is partly in response to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency regulations launched in 2014, officials said.
HF wastewater well application approved. KOTA. A Nebraska agency has given the green light to a controversial fracking wastewater disposal well project in KOTA Territory. The Nebraska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission voted in favor of the plan by Terex Energy Corporation to inject wastewater from fracking operations in nearby states.
Commission approves HF wastewater application. Star Herald. On Wednesday, the Nebraska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission approved the Terex application to allow the injection of up to 5,000 gallons per day of fracking wastewater into an abandoned oil well in Sioux County.
Final HF report being printed, DEC chief says. Poughkeepsie Journal. A several-thousand-page document that will lay out the rationale for prohibiting fracking is "being printed as we speak," state Environmental Conservation Commissioner Joseph Martens said Wednesday. That report, known as the Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement or SGEIS, has been nearly seven years in the making and will pave the way for Martens to issue an order keeping large-scale fracking from moving forward at the current time.
Trucked natural gas to replace scrapped pipeline. Rutland Herald. A New York paper mill is slated to receive truckloads of compressed natural gas beginning next month as a workaround for a canceled underground gas pipeline. According to NG Advantage, the Colchester-based gas transportation company behind the semi-truck delivery route called a “virtual pipeline” by the company, the switch from fuel oil to North American natural gas is expected to save International Paper Company’s Ticonderoga, N.Y., paper mill about 32,000 gallons of oil every day. Deliveries to Ticonderoga are scheduled begin in May.
Radioactive gas pollution? WV Public Broadcasting. A new study of a radioactive, carcinogenic gas has grabbed the attention of news outlets and both pro and anti-fracking groups alike. The study published earlier this month says increases of radon gas in people’s homes in Pennsylvania coincide with the horizontal drilling boom. Some geological researchers in the region are skeptical while others aren’t at all surprised.
West Virginia natural-gas complex is put on hold. Wall Street Journal. Two Brazilian companies are putting on hold plans to build a multibillion-dollar natural-gas refining complex in West Virginia, a project that was supposed to give an economic boost to a state reeling from the faltering coal industry.
Belmont County named site for possible multibillion-dollar ‘cracker’ plant. Columbus Dispatch. It is not every day that elected officials from Appalachian Ohio get to announce the possibility of a multibillion-dollar development. So Belmont County leaders had reason to enjoy news yesterday that a planned ethane “cracker” plant is envisioned for a site near the Ohio River. And they hope the news will be followed in about a year with a firm commitment by developers to build the project. NOTE: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, and Cleveland also report
Group pushes for county home rule, injection well ban. Athens News. A group of anti-fracking activists announced Tuesday they will be circulating petitions to turn Athens County into a charter government and ban the dumping of oil-and-gas hydraulic fracking waste, as well as use of water from sources in the county, for fracking activities, on the November ballot.
Conferees get warm feeling from natural gas. San Antonio Express-News. The blue flame of natural gas glowed at a Houston energy gathering Wednesday, where producers touted the fuel’s virtues, including low prices that present both a challenge to the industry and testament to its success.
Small earthquakes in Dallas-Fort Worth area linked to HF. Realty Biz News. Clusters of small earthquakes in the Dallas-Fort Worth area are likely caused by nearby natural-gas drilling, suggests a new study by researchers at Southern Methodist University and the U.S. Geological Survey.
We will also be interested in the messages given by BP's Robert Dudley and these CERA Week speakers, among many others:
NARUC's Colette Honorable
U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski
ConocoPhillips' Ryan Lance.
Daniel Yergin, CERA
Calgary Herald by Stephen Ewart. Record oil production, increasingly complex energy transportation issues and unprecedented public engagement aren’t enough to prevent a nearly 25 per cent cut to the budget and large reduction in staff at the National Energy Board over the next two years.
News of the “operational realities” confronting the NEB — which will mean 73 fewer employees — emerged late last week with release of its 2015-16 Report on Plans and Priorities.
The reason for the drop-off in funding is easily explained.(More)
KTOO. The Senate Finance Committee plans confirmation hearings for Gov. Bill Walker’s appointees to the Alaska Gasline Development Corp. board.
The hearings for Rick Halford, Joe Paskvan and Hugh Short are scheduled for Tuesday (Today).
They would replace three members removed by Walker earlier this year, including former pipeline and oil company executives.
Some lawmakers have raised questions .... (More)
Today's RELEVANT Consumer Energy Alliance energy links:
Bill Martinez Live: Bill Martinez Show April 7, 2015 Michael Whatley (NGP Photo) Interview
Associated Press: Greenpeace activists board drill rig retained by Shell for Arctic offshore drilling
Six Greenpeace activists protesting Arctic offshore drilling on Monday boarded a drill rig as it was transported across the Pacific Ocean toward Seattle, where it will be staged for drilling on Shell leases in Alaska waters. The 400-foot Polar Pioneer, owned by Transocean Ltd., was on board a heavy-lift vessel about 750 miles northwest of Hawaii when the activists approached in inflatable boats and used climbing gear to get on board, Greenpeace spokesman Travis Nichols said.
Real Clear Energy: Keystone XL Traded For Arctic Drilling Rights?
Few debates in energy have been more contentious than Keystone XL (KXL). Environmental groups opposed the pipeline and turned out a grass roots movement that astonished even battle weary Enviros. It also caused serious problems for the industry as their assets became stranded and they were forced to ship crude by rail and barge. It is estimated that this amounted to approximately $17B over the past few years in lost revenue due to public accountability campaigns. But it looks as though the Obama Administration and Big Oil merely traded KXL for Arctic drilling rights.
National Journal: Life After Keystone: The Future of the Climate Movement When the Pipeline Battle Ends
President Obama could reject or approve the controversial Keystone XL pipeline any day, week or month now. And as a decision looms, environmentalists face a daunting question: Can they recreate the kind of mass appeal that Keystone inspires when the pipeline battle ends?
The New York Times: Laurence Tribe Fights Climate Case Against Star Pupil From Harvard, President Obama
Laurence H. Tribe, the highly regarded liberal scholar of constitutional law, still speaks of President Obama as a proud teacher would of a star student. “He was one of the most amazing research assistants I’ve ever had,” Mr. Tribe said in a recent interview. Mr. Obama worked for him at Harvard Law School, where Mr. Tribe has taught for four decades.
CBS News: Is oil and gas to blame for Okla. earthquakes?
Kim Hatfield, with the Oklahoma Independent Petroleum Association, says the science to prove a definitive link simply isn't there. "Coincidence is not correlation," said Hatfield. "This area has been seismically active over eons and the fact that this is unprecedented in our experience doesn't necessarily mean it hasn't happened before."
The Independent: A disaster waiting to happen in Oklahoma?
Until very recently earthquakes were a rare occurrence in Oklahoma. Not any more. In 2008, the U.S. Geological Survey recorded just two earthquakes above 3.0 on the Richter Scale in Oklahoma. In 2014 it recorded 585, including 15 that measured over 4.0. The state is on target to break through 800 in 2015, taking California’s crown as the most active seismic state in the country.
Wall Street Journal: Fewer oil trains ply America’s rails
The growth in oil-train shipments fueled by the U.S. energy boom has stalled in recent months, dampened by safety problems and low crude prices.
Associated Press: Oil train cars need urgent upgrades
A spokesman for the American Petroleum Institute said the organization supports a "science-based" approach to safety that includes track maintenance and repairs in addition to any tank car upgrades.
Bloomberg: Safety Board Urges Aggressive Timetable to Replace Oil Tank Cars
U.S. railroad cars used to haul oil should be upgraded or replaced within five years with sturdier models better able to prevent explosions after derailments, federal safety investigators said in a proposal made public Monday.
Houston Chronicle: Oil's jolt means jingle for summer travelers
The global crude collapse that has jolted the oil industry will usher in the least expensive driving season in years, with pump prices expected to hover near $2 per gallon at some stations. Peak-season gasoline hasn’t been that low since 2009 during the economic downturn.
Statesman Journal: Oregon debates HF moratorium
A legislative committee will hear testimony Tuesday on a bill that would put a 10-year moratorium on hydraulic fracturing for oil and gas exploration and production in the state. Proponents tout the economic benefits brought to communities with wells and the energy independence they afford.
The Motley Fool: The Biggest Threat Facing Offshore Drillers Keeps Getting Worse
Few industries have been so negatively affected by the oil crash as offshore drillers. In the past I've attempted to find drillers whose contract backlogs were relatively insulated from the downturn. To this effect I recommended SeaDrill Partners, because just 20% of its rigs had contracts expiring through 2016. Now however, news of contract cancellations from BP mean that the risk of contract cancellations -- which I believe to be the biggest risk to the industry -- is rising and in a most alarming way. Find out why and what it might mean for your portfolio.
The Hill: Hope for bipartisan action on energy
Hold onto your hats, there just may be bipartisan legislation on the horizon. And who would have guessed that after the hyper-partisan Keystone XL showdown, the topic to come together on would be of all things, energy? First, in the wee hours of March 27, after the contentious budget resolution was passed at 3 a.m., Sens. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) appeared on a nearly empty Senate floor and quietly passed a stripped down version of their energy efficiency bill with a unanimous vote of two.
Fuel Fix: U.S. refiners can bulk up to consume more domestic oil
The United States can boost its consumption of the light oil increasingly flowing out of domestic wells today, a new government report finds, even as it warns that potential changes to the nation’s longstanding ban on raw crude exports risk undermining those investments.
Fuel Fix: Tensions ignite on East Coast as White House weighs Atlantic drilling
The prospect of a new generation of Atlantic drilling is stirring a heated debate up and down the East Coast, as fierce opponents warn that offshore oil development could jeopardize marine life and tourism-based economies. Oil industry leaders, meanwhile, are touting the potential jobs and economic gains that could flow along with crude from wells drilled at least 50 miles off the shores of Virginia, Georgia and the Carolinas. They envision a new frontier of Atlantic production that could emerge as a profitable replacement to shale oil extraction or continued pumping from the heavily tapped Gulf of Mexico.
Huffington Post: Illinois poll shows strong opposition to HF
Nearly half of Illinois voters oppose fracking, according to a new poll by the Simon Institute. The statewide poll reveals 48.6 percent oppose fracking while only 31.8 percent believe it should be encouraged, even if there are economic benefits. Opponents outnumber supporters in all regions of the state, including downstate where fracking is promoted as a jobs plan.
Philadelphia Inquirer: Gas tax can’t ignore prices
It's Wolf's misfortune to be attempting to address this failure in the midst of a gas glut. Given that the regional natural-gas price has plummeted by more than half over the past year, legislators and others have rightly questioned whether the governor's projected $1 billion a year in revenue from the levy is realistic.
Lancaster Online: Restoring aging county-owned bridges tied to impact fee
The Lancaster County commissioners are addressing the problem by turning to impact fee revenue from natural gas drillers. As of February, the county had $2.2 million available, said county engineer Scott Russell of Rettew Associates. The commissioners are counting on continuing impact fee revenue to help fund the replacement or repair of nearly all 44 county-owned concrete or steel bridges over the next five years.
Power Source: EPA analysis details water usage in HF
The EPA’s report shows that many drillers in Pennsylvania and Ohio are reusing water more often than their counterparts in the West. More than 70 percent of disclosures that identified water sources in Ohio and Pennsylvania identified some amount of reused and associated types of water in base fluids.
The Post and Courier: Seismic testing permits go to public hearing
Nine companies so far want to use seismic guns to search for oil and natural gas off the South Carolina coast. The federal permits for them are up for public hearingWednesday. The hearing comes amid a swell of opposition that has been mounting since federal regulators last year gave a preliminary nod to the permits, opening an evaluation period by federal and state agencies.
Baltimore Sun: HF moratorium passes senate
By a 45-2 vote, senators sent the measure to the House, which has passed a version of the bill that environmental advocates believe is stronger. The House bill calls for a three-year moratorium and further study of the health and economic development impact of the practice. The Senate bill does not require a study.
Associated Press: ‘Fight Club’ actor speaks out against HF
In films, he’s played poker with Matt Damon and fought with Brad Pitt. Now actor Edward Norton is lending his voice to the anti-fracking campaign in Maryland.
San Antonio Business Journal: Series of earthquakes shakes Permian Basin in recent weeks
A series of three earthquakes hit the Permian Basin along the oil and natural gas-rich lands along the Pecos and Reeves county lines over the past two weeks, according to data from the U.S. Geological Survey.
Santa Fe New Mexican: NM oil production holds steady
Newly released numbers indicate that the pace of oil production in New Mexico did not slow in January. According to figures from the New Mexico Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department, oil-and-gas companies doing business in the state in January reported a production level of almost 13.6 million barrels of oil.
CBC News: HF criticism spreads, even in Alberta and Texas
The Alberta Energy Regulator, which is responsible for enforcing industry policies, rejects claims that fracking affects human or animal health. The AER says hydraulic fracturing, in use in Alberta since the 1950s, is one of several well-established methods of recovering oil and gas.
ConocoPhillips Announces Funding Approval for Kuparuk
ConocoPhillips Alaska Inc. yesterday announced that the Kuparuk viscous oil development 1H NEWS (Northeast West Sak) has been approved for funding by ConocoPhillips and the Kuparuk co-owners.
Plans for engineering have been ongoing, and construction will now move forward. This is the largest investment in viscous oil at Kuparuk since 2004, and it is expected to add about 8,000 barrels of oil per day (BOD) gross at peak production. (See the full ConocoPhillips release here.)
Whether President Obama is bribing or blackmailing governors, either way, it's wrong (and just one more way to establish a pretext for more regulatory restrictions on fossil fuel exploration and development) -dh.
Washington Times by Dave Boyer.
The Obama administration has issued new guidelines that could make it harder for governors who deny climate change to obtain federal disaster-preparedness funds.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s new rules could put some Republican governors in a bind. The rules say that states’ risk assessments must include “consideration of changing environmental or climate conditions that may affect and influence the long-term vulnerability from hazards in the state.”
See Alaskanomics Posting of Mike Bradner's Column Re: State Spending. Why do we at Northern Gas Pipelines often focus on the importance of a 'sustainable Alaska budget'? Because if the state cannot control spending and continues deficit spending, no infrastructure project in the future will be safe from sudden, unplanned, predatory taxation to stave off bankruptcy: hence, no gas pipeline. That's why. -dh
Apology To Canada And To The World
Back in the olden days, 1979 or thereabouts, I had just finished my assignment as public affairs director for the U.S. portion of the grand, 27-member Canadian / American Arctic Gas Pipeline consortium. I had an office and secretary in both our Anchorage and D.C. offices. I traveled weekly between the two locations and Canada for six years--often with company president, Bob Ward, former Alaskan Lieutenant Governor. Working with my Canadian public affairs counterpart, author Earle Gray, was another of many important cross-border relationships.
Anyway, that experience came to an end and, impressed with the entrepreneurial genius of T. Boone Pickens, I wrote him offering my corporate and grass-roots communications services.
Pickens never wrote back, but, happily, three members of the former Arctic Gas consortium did provide me with continuing U.S./Canadian energy challenges.
First, Cy Orlofsky of Columbia Gas Transmission Company asked me to consult with the Alcan Project controlled by John McMillian Northwest Energy Company, and Bob Blair of Alberta Gas Trunkline, Ltd. Northern Natural Gas of Omaha -- thanks to a recommendation of VP Dan Dienstbier -- brought me on as public affairs director to reorganize that department (i.e. before the company morphed into Internorth and then Enron). After that brief assignment, Atlantic Richfield's Robert O. Anderson hired me as government affairs director in Alaska and, later, Washington D.C.
T. Boone Pickens as the world has learned, has done just fine in the communications area without Dave Harbour's help.
Nevertheless, my own experience with Arctic Gas and ARCO enabled me to share with Pickens a knowledge of Canadian / American energy interdependence. Just as Canadian oil and gas flows through the U.S., so do American pipelines move through Canada. Our oil and gas industries benefit from the experience and technology shared by company employees rotating between U.S. and Canadian project assignments. We are each other's largest trading partner. ...not to mention our shared interests in the Arctic and North American military defense.
In 2000-2001, when we created the Northern Gas Pipeline blog, we were determined to encourage greater understanding and rapport between the two great North American neighbors.
Sometimes this was a struggle, as when the U.S. took an ill-considered tariff position regarding the import of Canadian softwood. Then there were those associated with Alaska energy concepts (i.e. El Paso Natural Gas, Yukon Pacific, Alaska Gasline Port Authority, Backbone, etc.) that often demeaned Canada as a tool for leveraging less-economic or infeasible, "All-Alaska" energy projects.
Fast forward to this era. TransCanada Pipe Lines, Ltd. has grown into a much bigger energy entity in Canada and the United states. Its pipelines crisscross North America. It is a major player in the Ak-LNG project. And, its Keystone XL project has been front page business news for over a half decade.
|Keystone: Obama's slow-motion Kabuki theatre (See This Edmonton Sun Commentary of March 3) by Kenneth P. Green|
The Obama Administration's political rejection of the Keystone XL project was a monumental decision that could shift tens of thousands of energy jobs to other countries; diminish the entire U.S. economy, injure relations with Canada, further demonstrate lack of solid American leadership to the world and seriously damage our efforts to achieve energy independence and stronger national defense capability.
In response to Obama's veto of the Keystone XL project, T. Boone Pickens produced this Op-ed piece in today's Calgary Herald.
In it, Pickens apologizes for Obama's irresponsible Keystone XL veto. Our readers can join in that apology as we interact with our fellow Canadian and U.S. families, business partners and politicians.
But the purpose of this column today -- after providing a little U.S./Canadian historical and personal background -- is to extend America's apology to not only Canada but the world in general: for the loss -- or, hopefully, just the delay -- of this great project.
Because of Obama's Keystone XL action:
- thousands will not have jobs, and
- U.S. energy prices are likely to be higher, and
- government unemployment and social expenses will be higher, and
- scores/hundreds of local, state and national governments will not have badly needed project tax revenue, and
- because of the arbitrary and capricious nature of Obama's veto, the country's "rule of law and reliance on due process" is further shaken (Ref: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, etc.), and
- uncountable personal lives will have been affected in negative ways as unemployment, involuntary transfers, divorces and marriages, home ownership, manufacturing, health, and other human conditions are affected, and
- project demand for foreign goods and services will affect the economy beyond North American borders, and
- countries wishing and planning for aggression against North America's people and economies will be given indirect aid and comfort.
Reader letter today:
Dave, I met Mr. Pickens at a cocktail party in Saratoga Springs in 2008. He was charming, impressive and extremely credible. He was advocating natural gas as a way to break America’s dependency on oil, and a substantial portion of my portfolio is dedicated to natural gas investments.
So yes, we join with T. Boone Pickens in apologizing to Canada for America's indefensible delay or killing of the Keystone XL pipeline project.
But we would go on to extend that apology to America's allies and the people of the entire world. The U.S. owes this apology to the world for failing to live up to the high standards our fellow humans have come to expect from the "shining city on the hill" that was once the United States of America.
Once America could say, "We are dedicated by our Constitution and by tradition. to upholding a citizen's right of due process and the rule of law emanating from that guarantee."
We are optimistic that the country can once again regain, embrace, protect and defend its traditional high standards.
We are not optimistic that this return to the Constitution will be easy.
A Terrible Constitutional Amendment; Constitutionalizing the Dividend
Alaska Legislative Digest- Supplemental Commentary
By: Mike Bradner
Sen. Bill Wielechowski has introduced a proposed constitutional amendment, SJR-1, that would constitutionalize the Permanent Fund dividend. This would essentially take Fund income off the table for spending on the basic purposes of government, such as schools, health and social needs, public safety, and transportation that might be needed under emergency fiscal conditions.
We’re not picking on Sen. Wielechowski, but he volunteered to be part of this discussion!
Basic Politics 101: What’s the primary purpose of government?
The primary purpose of government, Sen. Wielechowski, is to provide public services, not to pay the public a cash dividend. The latter may be feel good politics, but it lacks a place in the fundamental role of government.
None of us know how this fiscal crisis we’re mired in is going to work out. The odds are we’re not going to get through it without some significant budget reductions, harsh enough that they will also put revenue necessities on the table.
Revenue necessities - taxes!
These “revenue necessities” are polite words for “taxes,” money we will have to pay-citizen taxes they’re called. In the agenda of revenue, use of Permanent Fund income, is also a revenue, citizens surrendering a portion of their dividend for public services.
State lawmakers, as well as governors, in recent years have lived in a political environment where taxes have not been part of the discussion with the public.
Taxes is a political “choke word”
Alaskans seem to have a speech impediment. They can say Tanana, Tutatuliak, Tallahassee, Texas, Tatalanika. But ask them to say “taxidermy,” but hold everything after the “x” and they’ll choke up, and perhaps go into apoplectic shock. On the state level, taxes have simply been off the table for decades, not discussable. As a result, the “political culture” of such discussions is also a blank.
Politicians have to “facilitate” bringing taxes to public discussion
This isn’t to be taken lightly. Politicians have to work up to a dialogue about taxes, as well as use of Permanent Fund income. No one has to rush the barricades. But politicians do have to facilitate “this language,” gradually bringing the public into the discussion. Notice we used the word “facilitate.”
One of the political skills of politicians, especially when they face politically hazardous, and unavoidable, issues is to use their political skills to insure that such issues get on to the table. If they can’t personally touch the issues, then the skill is getting less vulnerable parties to push the issues on the table.
We have not had to deal with revenue issues within the institutional memory of most of our present lawmakers, so it should be no surprise they are reluctant to engage such discussion.
No one yet has put revenue discussion on the table!
• In the aftermath of the 2008 financial crash, and subsequent recession, the first action of many states across the country was to put all their revenues, fees, tax exemptions, and etc. on the table for review (not necessarily advocacy).
• Such a review of our revenues options has yet to occur.
• The recent Commonwealth North report (by people who don’t have to stand for election) managed to do a volume of work without putting revenue issues on the table. They had the opportunity, but made only a reference to such future work.
Talking taxes is politically hazardous, to be sure!
Talking taxes is a hazardous process to be sure. By nature, politicians avoid being first to grab the “third rail” of new and controversial issues. Nurturing revenue issues forward is a delicate dance between legislative leaders, majorities, minorities, and individual lawmakers. Many lawmakers come from districts where such issues may be far more hazardous than others. Then there is the governor, who has a singular constitutional responsibility to lead.
Legislators need to think about the fact that they don’t have to be elected forever.
There is life after politics. They may well have to stand up among flying political bullets. They may survive, they may not. The history of such revenue/tax combat is that the voters, of course, do react. They come down hard on a “tax legislature.” In fact, voters in reaction often don’t distinguish between those who voted for taxes and those who did not - they just whack them all.
However, even where there is a quantum shift in makeup of a Legislature, the new body rarely repeals such taxes. They may move some decimal points, and make political noise, but the revenue enactments generally remain “in place” – they were necessary. However, we are told that many lawmakers who bite the bullet often later get elected again. They apparently were respected for their courage.
Facing up to tough issues, not passing the buck!
Politicians are elected to do what? They are elected to look at complex issues, and at a greater depth than the general public, being busy with their daily personal lives can possibly do.
However, there are many of the elected willing to duck such issues, pass the buck to the public. We’re talking about putting a revenue issue out at public referendum - let the public decide. The result of such a political dodge is that there will be only one answer by the public - that will be an emphatic “no.”
Once putting a tax issue to a public vote, lawmakers are stuck with that as “precedent.”
The odds are repeated efforts will just bring repeated rejection.
Income tax, sales tax, or use PF income
The question for such lawmakers who dodge responsibility and pass the buck to the public is:
• “Why the Hell do we elect you.” We elect people to make the tough decision.
The best test of the necessity of a tax is when politicians lay their futures on the line and “do it.”
In the future, like it or not, lawmakers will likely face choices that involves enacting an income tax, a sales tax, and use of Permanent Fund income.
What we “are not” as a state!
We need to remember we are not a “usual state,” we are not Maryland, Delaware,
New Jersey, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Vermont, which you can walk across in a day. Nor are we Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa , Wisconsin that you can easily drive across in a day. These are states where a kilowatt of electricity can flow border to border, where the tax bases of local governments are relatively uniform, where local governments can support many services without state assistance.
As a state “what we are”
We are is a state that superimposed over the contiguous United States would stretch coast to coast, a fifth the size of the contiguous states. We have two-thirds of the shoreline, an extensive fishery, 82 percent of our communities are connected only by air, the state operating 247 airfields. One marine highway system stretches 1,619 miles along our coastline.
We operate school systems unconnected by roads, and where individual school sites are unconnected from each other. The densities of school populations and school costs defy efficiency in Many of these areas lack a local tax base in the traditional sense. Costs for electricity and heating oil is prohibitively high, climate restricts fuel deliveries to once a year. Community infrastructure is costly and difficult to maintain- water, sewer, waste treatment, and solid waste.
We have gained in our core regional efficiency!
Today the good news is that the costs of our railbelt region (Seward to Fairbanks) are pretty good in comparisons with elsewhere. The same is true for our Southeast Alaska cities and boroughs. The bad news is that a lot of “other Alaska” still has a high cost profile.
All this being said, our windfall of oil revenues due to the 2008 ACES tax, and the escalation of oil prices worldwide, has allowed our budgets to soar.
We can reduce budget, but also have to have a mix with new revenues. A good end result comparison might be with similar core areas in other states.
The same goes regarding what people pay for their services in these ad hoc comparisons.
So what’s going to happen now?
Somewhere here lawmakers have choices to make regarding budget reductions and balancing reductions these with a mix of different kinds of new revenue. Our budget spending is still constrained by oil prices. While we may adopt new revenues that are more predictable, our reliance on oil prices will remain, and oil price will likely remain volatile for some time to come.
There’s a lot more ahead of us!
There is a lot more ahead of us regarding a host of issues that revolve around budget situation. We will have ongoing special reports exploring the shadows of emerging policy. Right now lawmakers are pretty much just looking at budget reductions, disregarding revenue. They are assessing what is structurally possible and over what kind of time span. Cuts take time to implement, programs time to dismantle and phase out. There are also contracts. Likewise new revenue take time to put in place.
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Calgary Herald Op-ed by T. Boone Pickins. To my friends in Calgary and across Canada: I apologize on behalf of my fellow Americans for the United States government’s actions.
Why? Because after years of poring over the engineering, design, geology and the contents of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline, President Barack Obama chose to make a political statement and vetoed a bill to allow construction to begin.
I feel bad about this. I lived in Canada in the 1960s. You have a great country, and it’s a great place to operate in the oil and gas sector. We should have done better by you.
You may not follow the ins and outs of the U.S. Congress as much as we do, but you probably know Keystone was a bipartisan bill. Republicans and Democrats in the U.S. House and Senate voted for it. That was big news, as Democrats and Republicans working together on anything over the last 10 years has been rare.
There was no good explanation for Obama’s decision to veto the bill. The U.S. Department of State reported previously the environmental effects of the pipeline would be minimal. In its January 2014 report, the department stated: “emissions (from pipeline activities) would be equivalent to greenhouse gas emissions from approximately 300,000 passenger vehicles operating for one year.”
There are 250 million passenger vehicles operating in the U.S.
Keystone would have the effect of adding about 1/10th of one per cent to the fleet.
Because the pipeline crosses national boundaries, the State Department is charged with producing reports. Yet, after State made its report, the White House went “agency shopping” and asked the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to take another look at Keystone. To no one’s surprise, the EPA fired off a letter objecting to pipeline construction, citing concerns of increasing greenhouse gas emissions.
Where the EPA went wrong, however, was calculating the effects on greenhouse gases “from the extraction, transport, refining and use of the 830,000 barrels per day of oilsands crude that could be transported by the proposed project at full capacity.”
The problem with the EPA’s math is that Canadians don’t need permission from the U.S. to recover that oil and sell it. Canadians will extract it and ship it overland by train or via pipeline and tanker, not south to the United States, but west to Asia, or elsewhere. When oil prices come back up, Korea, Japan, China and others will benefit from the Canadian oilsands, not the U.S.
It is no surprise to Canadians that Canada is the U.S.’s largest oil-trading partner. But it is a surprise to many U.S. residents. I have long been a supporter of the idea of building on the North American Free Trade Agreement by establishing a North American energy alliance to include Canada, the U.S. and Mexico.
The reason oil prices are not bouncing up and down with every piece of news out of Iraq, Iran and Israel is the U.S. and Canada are using the latest innovative technology to recover oil and natural gas — from sands and shale. Additional production from those sources has provided an international energy price shock absorber. For U.S. consumers, lower gasoline and diesel prices have been like getting a $300-billion bonus. The effect in Canada has likely been similar.
So, why is Obama so opposed to the Keystone XL pipeline? As my dad used to say, “Son, it’s kind of like murder. It’s tough to explain.”
Politics is the most likely answer. The veto lets the president throw a bone to his political left while thwarting a win for the Republican-controlled House and Senate on their bill.
The silver lining is this: Obama’s veto didn’t kill the Keystone XL pipeline. He delayed it. Sooner or later, good planning will trump bad politics and the project will get the green light — we hope.
My Canadian friends, please have patience. The Keystone pipeline will happen.
T. Boone Pickens is the architect of the Pickens Plan, an energy plan for America. He is also chairman and CEO of BP Capital.
Landlocked: Murkowski Explains Alaskans’ Access Frustrations
The Governor and Entire Congressional Delegation Recently Vowed to Fight the Administration's Overreaching Action to Shut Down Alaska Resource Development and Her Economy. Senator Murkowski Has Acted to Create A YouTube Video to Highlight Growing Federal Restrictions in Alaska. Thank you, Senator Murkowski for Effective Work And Quick Action! We believe that some educational entity could take that map video and expand it into a one hour lesson plan framework for elementary, high school and college students. -dh
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Lisa Murkowski today released a video to help broadcast the Alaska #ThisIsOurLand movement’s agenda to a wider national audience.
With Alaskans reeling from the Obama administration’s ongoing efforts to block off millions of onshore and offshore acres from energy development, Murkowski produced the two-minute film to speak plainly to Americans who may be unaware of the federal government’s costly, ever-growing overreach in Alaska.
In the video, Murkowski points out that 61 percent of Alaska’s lands are controlled by the federal government – and that almost none of those lands are truly open to energy production. Instead of allowing Alaskans to responsibly develop the State’s vast resource potential, the Obama Administration has converted an additional 12.2 million acres within ANWR into de facto wilderness; withdrawn 9.8 million additional acres in the offshore Arctic; removed roughly half of the National Petroleum Reserve (NPR-A) from leasing; planned a 685,000-acre “Area of Critical Environmental Concern” in the Fortymile Mining District; proposed sweeping critical habitat designations; and preemptively targeted potential development on State lands.
All of this and more has occurred in conjunction with a series of major federal rules – from the “Waters of the United States” expansion to EPA’s climate regulations – that will bring additional costs and consequences for energy development in Alaska.
Text of Senator Murkowski’s Remarks
“Hi this is Lisa Murkowski, Senator for Alaska. And I want to talk you about the state of my State.
“Alaska is about one-fifth of our country, by land mass. We’re twice as big as Texas, with North Carolina thrown in for good measure.
“If Alaska was overlaid on the Lower 48, we’d stretch from California to South Carolina. That’s a lot of land – but what you may not know, is who controls it.
“The National Park Service manages about 15 percent. The Bureau of Land Management controls another 20 percent. The Fish and Wildlife Service administers 19 percent. The Forest Service controls another six percent down in Southeast. Then you add one percent for the Department of Defense, and the federal government controlling about 61 percent of Alaska’s lands.
“That’s more land than Texas and Utah combined. So who controls the rest?
“The State of Alaska has 27 percent. Alaska Natives have 12 percent. And that leaves just one-quarter of one percent of Alaska as private land - barely even noticeable on a map.
“And while the State and Alaska Natives do their best to foster economic development, the federal government has taken the opposite approach.
“All of the non-yellow lands are federal lands that are now off-limits to resource production. Even the yellow federal areas are hardly “open” to development. All of the dark blue offshore areas have serious development restrictions. Most recently, the Obama Administration is trying to permanently restrict development in the red and orange areas. It’s also targeting the area in pink for new limitations.
“When you add it all up, the federal government is now blocking development on our most resource-rich lands and waters. That’s depriving Alaskans of our ability to produce energy, minerals, timber, and more for the good of our nation. And it’s depriving our nation of jobs, revenues, security, and prosperity.
“That’s the state that we’re in, in Alaska. And that’s why we’re asking for greater access to our lands and waters.”
Are We Proud Of Alaska's Newest U.S. Senator? Yes We Are!
(We are also delighted with the new, House Natural Resources Chairman, Rob Bishop. Bishop replaced our longtime hero Chairman Doc Hastings and seems to be effectively and seemlessly moving forward. More here.... -dh)
During his tenure as Alaska's Attorney General Alaska's newest U.S. Senator, Dan Sullivan, brought lawsuits against the federal government for endangering Alaska's constitutionally reliant resource base.
Sullivan later served as Commissioner of Natural Resources, continuing Alaska's stand against hostile instances of federal overreaching jurisdiction.
As the 49th State's new senator, he has quickly demonstrated that knowledge is transferable from one responsible position to another; he is becoming a great colleague for our senior senator, Lisa Murkowski, of whom we are also proud and respectful.
We wanted to make sure today that all of our readers have witnessed Sullivan's transformation and think you will agree with us that this Marine officer, this state law and natural resource expert, this U.S. State Department veteran is in the right place at the right time for Alaska's citizens and for the people of the United States.
Letter from Bunny and Al Chong, Kenai Peninsula:
We did campaign and VOTE for Dan Sullivan. He IS AWESOME!!!
Letter from our reader, Scott Ogan, Seldovia:
Yes Dan is quite the Man!!
After working with him as Alaska's Attorney General and as my Commissioner, I am very pleased that his tenacity is transported to the US Senate. He is a strong leader and does not wilt during barrages of “incomings”.
His Alaskan family is rock solid, as he married one of the Fate girls. I served in the Alaska Legislature with Representative Bud Fate and know his beautiful wife as well. Stalwart Alaskans.
Keep up the good work Dave.
He also respects our allies, including America's largest trading partner, Canada.
Above is a video interview posted today (i.e. revealing his policy views on Iran) and below is the maiden speech Sullivan delivered to his colleagues a month ago (i.e. reflecting strong support for Keystone XL and other common sense energy policies) ... for the record.
Semper fi, Senator!
Below is Sullivan's first speech to the United States Senate. It contains facts and background every Alaskan school child should know well. The video documents his ability to understand and defend international diplomacy policy positions.
SENATOR DAN SULLIVAN: MAIDEN SPEECH AS PREPARED FOR DELIVERY 1.27.15
Mr. President, today I stand in support of the Keystone Pipeline Project.
As an Alaskan, I feel it’s important to talk about this bill and the importance of American energy infrastructure.
I live in a state with one of the world’s largest pipelines. In 1973, after bitter debate, similar to the debate about Keystone, Congress passed a bill that led to the construction of the trans-Alaska pipeline system– what we in Alaska call TAPS.
It almost didn’t happen. The Vice President at the time, serving as the president of the Senate, cast the tie-breaking vote.
Then, like now, opponents howled. They said TAPS would be an environmental disaster. They said bird and caribou populations would be decimated. But none of that happened. In fact, birds and caribou flourished, showing that we can develop energy infrastructure responsibly with the highest standards in the world – and Alaska proves this every day.
TAPS was completed in 1978. It has carried almost 17 billion barrels of oil to energy-thirsty American markets. It’s a technological and environmental marvel and a critical component of America’s energy infrastructure. (Download full text here. See video here. See Sullivan take on EPA.)
Today, From the office of House Resources Chairman Rob Bishop:
Bishop Rolls Out Committee Agenda, Drills Down on Federal Onshore and Offshore Energy Production
Politico: “Bishop has already moved to increase the panel’s oversight, opening the door for probes on the Endangered Species Act and federal reviews under the National Environmental Policy Act. ‘[NEPA] is a law that has an impact on every aspect of American life,’ Bishop said. And ESA ‘is a perfect example of an act that is not working,’ he said. ‘If it’s for control, then ESA is wonderful. If you’re actually trying to preserve species, it’s not working. And it needs to be reformed.’…Bishop is one of Capitol Hill’s biggest critics of the federal controls on energy production and public lands use, issues the Republicans highlight by pointing to the declining oil and gas output from federal lands…” (Politico, March 2, 2015)
The Larry Kudlow Show (Audio): “We are living in a much more dangerous world than we ever had during the Cold War. And to meet that threat, that environment, we’ve got to use our diplomatic means, our military means, but also our energy opportunities. The United States has today surpassed Russia and Saudi Arabia in producing energy, but that’s all been done on private lands and state lands,” stated Bishop. “If we really are going to take the role so we can be a benefit to our allies and we can play a role with Putin and the Middle East and everywhere else and not be bullied by OPEC, we have to develop the resources on our federal lands and offshore…That’s the bailiwick that I have…” (The Larry Kudlow Show, February 28, 2015)
Morning in America with Bill Bennett (Audio): “The United States is a leader now in energy production, we’ve caught up to the Russians and Saudi Arabians, but we’ve done that all on state and private lands,” stated Bishop. “If the nation is to go forward now and become an economic leader – so we can benefit our allies, we won’t be bullied by OPEC, we can increase our exports, lower the cost of energy here – you’ve got to go onto federal lands and offshore. And that’s the purview of my committee. So we’re not just a western committee anymore. We really have an impact on the entire country as well as foreign policy…” (Morning in America, Bill Bennett, March 2, 2015)
P.O.T.U.S. Sirius XM (Audio): “The United States is becoming an energy leader. We’ve already passed Russia and Saudi Arabia for energy production, but it’s all been on private and state lands,” stated Chairman Rob Bishop. “If we actually want to become a permanent leader in energy: be able to help our allies, not be bullied by OPEC and provide job employment for this country, you’ve got to get the resources on the federal lands and off-shore – and that’s the purview of my committee… what we do here will have an impact on the entire country and even on foreign policy...” (Sirius XM Radio, February 25, 2015)
Wall Street Journal Live (Video): “House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Rob Bishop on President Obama’s proposal to buy more federal land, raise fees and impose new regulations amid maintenance backlogs and wildfires. ‘The [administration] wants to triple the Land and Water Conservation Fund. If you’re going to expand it whatsoever, use that to solve problems not just buy more land that we already have a 21 million backlog on the maintenance of that land as it is…’” (Wall Street Journal Live TV, March 2, 2015)
Houston Chronicle: “Bishop tangles with the White House on energy development. He says the oil and gas revolution has unfolded mostly on private and state land - not the territory under the Interior Department's control. ‘There has to be an overall approach to increasing production on federal property,’ Bishop said. ‘This administration is either slow walking or just stopping that, and that harms the entire country.’ More opportunities for oil and gas drilling on federal lands and waters - and speedier permitting - are essential for the United States to expand its role as a global energy leader, break OPEC's domination and spur domestic jobs, Bishop insisted..." (Houston Chronicle, March 2, 2015)
The Hill (video): “The new chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee sees the Interior Department’s budget as a way to inject creative thinking into issues like oil drilling on federal land and offshore…Bishop said one of his top priorities as chairman and in overseeing Interior’s budget will be to establish an energy portfolio that encourages more oil and natural gas drilling on federally owned lands and offshore… ‘We have already surpassed Russia and Saudi Arabia in energy production, but if we actually want to be a leader in the world in energy production and provide jobs from it, we’re going to have to develop our resources that are on federal land and offshore - and that’s the purview of my committee…’” (The Hill, February, 24, 2015)
Washington Examiner: "GOP lawmakers want states to get more control of the Land and Water Conservation Fund, a 50-year-old program that is funded by offshore oil-and-gas drilling royalties…Many are dissatisfied with the states' share and the federal government using a bulk of its funds to acquire more land. ‘If problems are going to be solved, we have to think differently,’ said House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Rob Bishop, R-Utah, whose panel has jurisdiction over the program. ‘The voices talking about [the conservation fund] right now lack creativity.’ Bishop said he wants better oversight of how the federal funds are used. He contends those dollars would be better spent maintaining roads, trails and buildings at facilities managed by the Interior Department, and that more funds should be given to states to enhance local infrastructure and recreation opportunities..." (Washington Examiner, February, 23, 2015)
Huffington Post: "As the new chair of the House Natural Resources Committee, Rep. Rob Bishop may be ready to spar with the Obama administration on some key public lands and energy issues. But he's also setting a different tone from that of his predecessor, encouraging conservation advocates to think they may be able to find common ground this Congress. Bishop, a seven-term Republican representing Utah's 1st District, took over the chairmanship in January from retiring Rep. Doc Hastings (R-Wash.), who had held that post since 2011…” (Huffington Post, February 20, 2015)
E&E TV: On Point (Video): “The United States has become a player in the energy world. We’ve surpassed the Russians and Saudi Arabians in what we’ve been able to produce in oil and gas, but it’s all come on private and state lands. If the United States is going to really become a leader in energy development and actually be of value to our allies and not be pushed around by OPEC anymore, if we’re actually going to have the jobs that can be created by affordable energy, you have to start the advancement of resources on federal lands as well…” (E&E TV, February 25, 2015)
Bloomberg BNA: “Bishop told Bloomberg BNA March 3 that the committee will be looking at short-term action on the Land and Water Conservation Fund, offshore fisheries management, two programs of federal assistance to counties and schools in rural areas, potential legislation on federal forest management and regulation of natural gas pipelines and electric transmission lines that cross federal lands and...Oil and gas companies and some lawmakers have argued that one reason for the recently large amounts of natural gas flaring—the burning off of gas that emerges as a co-product of oil production—is that the federal government is slow to issue permits for pipelines to take gas away from shale oil and gas regions.‘Actually, the rights-of-way issue is something that is personally important to me,’Bishop said. Another energy issue is the Bureau of Land Management's pending final rule to update regulations governing oil and gas production on federal lands, a rule with a special emphasis on hydraulic fracturing but much broader application as a set of standards to safeguard well integrity...” (March 4, 2015, Bloomberg BNA)
Today's American Energy Alliance Energy Clips:
I guess the EPA wasn't expecting the states to pass up all that "flexibility".
PoliticoPro (3/10/15) reports: “Supporters of President Barack Obama’s climate regulations are getting worried EPA may have few tools to use if states decide to follow conservatives’ advice and refuse to cooperate with the agency on climate change regulations. Questions abound about how the agency would impose its own climate plans on behalf of states or make sure the states that do submit plans actually stick to them. Also up in the air: whether the agency has the right to hit the violators with penalties that could even include the loss of federal highway dollars — one of the main fiscal weapons Washington has used to get states to toe the line on everything from motorcycle helmet laws to underage drinking. But the agency is declining to say whether highway dollars would actually be at risk.”
Bright Bulb Award:
“There remains a strong social contract between scientists who are funded by the government, and the IPCC that supports the government’s political agenda. The feedbacks supporting this social contract in principle can be reversed; it remains to be seen what, if anything, will trigger this reversal. I suspect that it will be the climate itself, if the hiatus/pause/slow down continues.”
We did the math. Clinton’s 55,000 page print job emitted as much carbon as the average American does in one year.
Energy Townhall (3/10/15) reports: “Printing Hillary Clinton’s 55,000 pages of emails emitted nearly 40,000 pounds of greenhouse gases about as much as the average American produces about that amount in one year. Clinton’s extravagant print job comes less than six months after her stump speech to national environmentalist groups about the urgent need for reduction in carbon dioxide emissions. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, following in the long line of executive branch transparency issues, has finally released at least a partial record of her emails to the State Department. Clinton had previously kept the emails on a homebrew email server, thus avoiding both government email security measures and FOIA requests. This is likely also in violation of federal law if any matters that were Classified or Sensitive But Unclassified were sent to her email or if she send any sensitive emails. Unfortunately, the incomplete emails the Clinton camp released were done so not on a modern, digital format, but were actually physically printed, using over 55,000 pieces of paper. Though many older politicians may find modern technology like PDFs, email, and flash drives befuddling, we imagine leftist politicos like Hillary Clinton would at least understand the environmental consequences of their actions.”
Swiss make cheese out of the carbon tax. Guess which kind?
The Wall Street Journal (3/8/15) reports: “Swiss voters Sunday overwhelmingly rejected an initiative that would have scrapped the Alpine country’s value-added-tax system and replaced it with a carbon tax, a move that would have made gasoline, heating oil and other forms of power more expensive for consumers. Roughly 92% of voters opposed the initiative, known as “Energy Rather than VAT,” while 8% supported the measure, according to preliminary results from 13 of the country’s 26 cantons. The initiative would have encouraged Swiss households to use renewable energy sources, including solar and wind, which would have been exempt from taxes. The initiative, which was introduced by the Green Liberal Party of Switzerland, was designed to help lower carbon emissions and reduce global warming.”
How many decades does it take for a temporary subsidy to be called permanent?
The Washington Times (3/7/15) reports: “Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush said that a federal program promoting wind energy production, which recently expired, has worked and should be renewed for at least a few more years before being phased out altogether. Mr. Bush has returned to Iowa for the first time since announcing in December that he was interested in running for president. Last week, he appeared at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference outside Washington, and on Saturday he was among a number of likely GOP presidential candidates that flocked to the Iowa Agricultural Summit, hosted by Bruce L. Rastetter, a major GOP donor.”
Why we fight.
The Guardian (3/9/15) editorializes: “The actual story: what happens at Paris will be, at best, one small part of the climate story, one more skirmish in the long, hard-fought road to climate sanity. What comes before and after will count more. And to the extent Paris matters, its success will depend not on the character of our leaders but on how much a resurgent climate movement has softened up the fossil fuel industry, and how much pressure the politicians feel to deliver something.”
It's easy to get up from rock bottom.
The Washington Post (3/9/15) reports: “In the grand scheme of things, one year — 2014 — only represents a slight nudging of the gigantic ship of U.S. energy in a renewable direction. Even if it grew less, coal is still the No. 1 source of net generation each year in the United States, followed by natural gas. And the numbers for these two sources still dwarf the totals for all renewable sources combined. Still, there can be no denying that the U.S. energy system is changing, and that renewables — wind and solar — are booming. Whether they’re doing so fast enough to decarbonize our world before we pass the threshold that would bring on dangerous climate change, however, is another matter.”