|This afternoon, Alaska's newest US Senator spoke out on yesterday's Presidential Executive Order.|
On Thursday — just three weeks into the new year — the U.S. Senate chamber is set to surpass last year’s total of 15 amendment votes, thanks to a flurry of voting centered almost entirely on the Keystone XL pipeline. Read more....
|What happened to Alaska? Saudi....|
CBC. Irving Oil Ltd. is facing more questions about its use of a pipeline that was built on the property designated for the Canaport LNG facility. Saint John struck a 25-year property tax deal in 2005 that was intended to encourage the development of the Canaport LNG facility. The deal slashed the property tax bill for the LNG terminal ... Read more.
Yesterday, we were interviewed on the Dan Fagan - Glen Biegel (NGP Photo) Radio Program. On your right is the podcast if you want to watch the action. (Glen yawns from time to time, gets up to stretch, etc.) He introduces me and begins his monolog on energy at 2:21:50 (That's two hours, twenty-one minutes and fifty seconds into the program.) Then the interview actually starts at 2:29:35, with a break at 2:59:10 and the conclusion at 2:41:40. Biegel is a gifted air personality. He does his homework, has a prodigious memory and can think and speak circles around a fellow like me. But I do hope our readers get a little entertainment if not information out of that experience. And, ya gotta hear the whacky music/sound effects played during the breaks; sounds like little brass instruments singing, "Have to be happy!" And, you will be, just as I was. (Link)
In our opinion this is another end run around Congress but our Senior Senator, while somewhat critical, seems unaware of true ramifications, the ultimate strategy of an overreaching White House. This is especially dangerous in view of her powerful position as Chair of a key, Senate jurisdictional committee. WE URGE YOU TO REVIEW OUR CONCERNS HERE. -dh
KTUU by Austin Baird. The White House on Wednesday issued an executive order described as an attempt to coordinate federal Arctic-related activities, and to promote collaboration between other groups including local and state governments, academia and the private sector.
“The Arctic region provides critical ecological, cultural, and economic services to our nation,” Tamara Dickinson and Patricia Falcone wrote for the White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy. “But we know based on decades of rigorous scientific research that climate change is causing the Alaskan Arctic to warm twice as rapidly as the rest of the United States – and that climate change will continue to transform the Arctic.”
Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, who chairs the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, called the announcement “a good step forward” but criticized the president’s overall approach to Arctic policy.
“Once again, the president remains focused on climate change,” she wrote in a release. ” I agree that climate change is an issue facing our nation and my state, but for President Obama and many of his ideological allies, the plan for the Arctic boils down to two words: Hands Off.”
Alaska's Senior U.S. Senator, Lisa Murkowski (NGP Photo) has long advocated for relaxation of the ban on exporting domestically produced oil--created during the so called Arab Oil Embargo of the 1970s. Reader Eric Dompling kindly refers us to an important analysis of the benefits to U.S. consumers of exporting our resources in an article written by Tessa Sandstrom, "America’s Once-in-a-Generation Opportunity Starts With Exports". An era of low oil prices is the perfect time to lift the ban, for having access to world markets can assists U.S. producers in being able to compete for sales in a bigger marketplace--and keep supporting jobs, federal taxes, state taxes, local taxes and an abundance of oil and gas for our own citizens. -dh
Business Insider by Rob Wile.
You may have noticed we haven't heard much talk about opening the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge recently.
For decades, America debated whether to open up federally protected land that is said to contain lots and lots of oil (though exact estimates are plagued by uncertainty).
What happened? "Saudi" America.
ADN by Alex DeMarban. ...in Washington, D.C., an aide to Sen. Lisa Murkowski said that as the new chair of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, Murkowski is strategizing on the best way to convince Congress to open the 1.5-million-acre coastal stretch of the refuge, set aside by Congress in 1980 for hydrocarbon evaluation.
Fuel Fix by Ryan Holeywell. Halliburton officials say they’re bracing for a tough year as falling oil prices are prompting their customers to slash their budgets.
As oil prices have fallen more than 50 percent from their summer peaks, Halliburton’s customers have cut their budgets by an average of 25 percent to 30 percent, putting pressure on the oil field services company to reduce its rates, company officials said Tuesday.
“The long-term fundamentals of our business are still strong,” Halliburton president Jeff Miller said on.... Read more.
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Our concerns about yesterday's Executive Order On the Arctic are here, for the record, and we hope Members of Congress and Alaska's Administration are paying attention as the temperature in the pot containing the complacent frog, increases.
We can closely associate our own thinking with a statement released this afternoon by Alaska's new U.S. Senator, Dan Sullivan (NGP photo):
“While I am encouraged to see that the federal government is taking steps to coordinate itself in the Arctic arena – I see this as merely a piece of paper,” said Sullivan. “With regard to the Arctic, the State of Alaska is not just another stakeholder as this executive order indicates, we are the other sovereign. Indeed, the sovereign that makes the U.S. an Arctic nation.”
“What is troubling about this executive order is the White House's continual focus on large, abstract concepts such as climate change. But what is most troubling is that this executive order fails to acknowledge the need to develop our Arctic resources in a responsible manner – which is such a critical issue for Alaska’s future.”
The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
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ENHANCING COORDINATION OF NATIONAL EFFORTS IN THE ARCTIC
By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, and to prepare the Nation for a changing Arctic and enhance coordination of national efforts in the Arctic, it is hereby ordered as follows:
Section 1. Policy. The Arctic has critical long-term strategic, ecological, cultural, and economic value, and it is imperative that we continue to protect our national interests in the region, which include: national defense; sovereign rights and responsibilities; maritime safety; energy and economic benefits; environmental stewardship; promotion of science and research; and preservation of the rights, freedoms, and uses of the sea as reflected in international law.
Over the past 60 years, climate change has caused the Alaskan Arctic to warm twice as rapidly as the rest of the United States, and will continue to transform the Arctic as its consequences grow more severe. Over the past several decades, higher atmospheric temperatures have led to a steady and dramatic reduction in Arctic sea ice, widespread glacier retreat, increasing coastal erosion, more acidic oceans, earlier spring snowmelt, thawing permafrost, drier landscapes, and more extensive insect outbreaks and wildfires, thus changing the accessibility and natural features of this remote region. As a global leader, the United States has the responsibility to strengthen international cooperation to mitigate the greenhouse gas emissions driving climate change, understand more fully and manage more effectively the adverse effects of climate change, protect life and property, develop and manage resources responsibly, enhance the quality of life of Arctic inhabitants, and serve as stewards for valuable and vulnerable ecosystems. In doing so, we must rely on science-based decisionmaking and respect the value and utility of the traditional knowledge of Alaska Native peoples. As the United States assumes the Chairmanship of the Arctic Council, it is more important than ever that we have a coordinated national effort that takes advantage of our combined expertise and efforts in the Arctic region to promote our shared values and priorities.
As the Arctic has changed, the number of Federal working groups created to address the growing strategic importance and accessibility of this critical region has increased. Although these groups have made significant progress and achieved important milestones, managing the broad range of interagency activity in the Arctic requires coordinated planning by the Federal Government, with input by partners and stakeholders, to facilitate Federal, State, local, and Alaska Native tribal government and similar Alaska Native organization, as well as private and nonprofit sector, efforts in the Arctic.
Sec. 2. Arctic Executive Steering Committee. (a) Establishment. There is established an Arctic Executive Steering Committee (Steering Committee), which shall provide guidance to executive departments and agencies (agencies) and enhance coordination of Federal Arctic policies across agencies and offices, and, where applicable, with State, local, and Alaska Native tribal governments and similar Alaska Native organizations, academic and research institutions, and the private and nonprofit sectors.
(b) Membership. The Steering Committee shall consist of:
(i) the heads, or their designees, of the Office of Science and Technology Policy, the Council on Environmental Quality, the Domestic Policy Council, and the National Security Council;
(ii) the Executive Officer of the Steering Committee, who shall be designated by the Chair of the Steering Committee (Chair); and
(iii) the Deputy Secretary or equivalent officer from the Departments of State, Defense, Justice, the Interior, Agriculture, Commerce, Labor, Health and Human Services, Transportation, Energy, and Homeland Security; the Office of the Director of National Intelligence; the Environmental Protection Agency; the National Aeronautics and Space Administration; the National Science Foundation; the Arctic Research Commission; and the Office of Management and Budget; the Assistant to the President for Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs, or his or her designee; and other agencies or offices as determined appropriate by the Chair.
(i) The Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy, or his or her designee, shall be the Chair of the Executive Steering Committee. The Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs, or his or her designee, shall be the Vice Chair. Under the leadership of the Chair, the Steering Committee will meet quarterly, or as appropriate, to shape priorities, establish strategic direction, oversee implementation, and ensure coordination of Federal activities in the Arctic.
(ii) The Steering Committee shall coordinate with existing working groups established by Executive Order or statute.
(iii) As appropriate, the Chair of the Steering Committee may establish subcommittees and working groups, consisting of representatives from relevant agencies, to focus on specific key issues and assist in carrying out its responsibilities.
(iv) Agencies shall provide administrative support and additional resources, as appropriate, to support their participation in the Steering Committee to the extent permitted by law and within existing appropriations. Each agency shall bear its own expenses for supporting its participation in the Steering Committee and associated working groups.
(v) Each member of the Steering Committee shall provide the Executive Officer with a single point of contact for coordinating efforts with interagency partners, collaborating with State, local, and Alaska Native tribal governments and similar Alaska Native organizations, and assisting in carrying out the functions and duties assigned by the Steering Committee.
Sec. 3. Responsibilities of the Arctic Executive Steering Committee. The Steering Committee, in coordination with the heads of relevant agencies and under the direction of the Chair, shall:
(a) provide guidance and coordinate efforts to implement the priorities, objectives, activities, and responsibilities identified in National Security Presidential Directive 66/Homeland Security Presidential Directive 25, Arctic Region Policy, the National Strategy for the Arctic Region and its Implementation Plan, and related agency plans;
(b) provide guidance on prioritizing Federal activities, consistent with agency authorities, while the United States is Chair of the Arctic Council, including, where appropriate, recommendations for resources to use in carrying out those activities; and
(c) establish a working group to provide a report to the Steering Committee by May 1, 2015, that:
(i) identifies potential areas of overlap between and within agencies with respect to implementation of Arctic policy and strategic priorities and provides recommendations to increase coordination and reduce any duplication of effort, which may include ways to increase the effectiveness of existing groups; and
(ii) provides recommendations to address any potential gaps in implementation.
Sec. 4. Duties of the Executive Officer. The Executive Officer shall be responsible for facilitating interagency coordination efforts related to implementing the guidance and strategic priorities developed by the Steering Committee. The Executive Officer shall coordinate with the Chair and the Special Advisor on Arctic Science and Policy at the Department of State to provide regular reports to the Steering Committee on agency implementation and planning efforts for the Arctic region.
Sec. 5. Engagement with the State of Alaska, Alaska Native Tribal Governments, as well as other United States Stakeholders. It is in the best interest of the Nation for the Federal Government to maximize transparency and promote collaboration where possible with the State of Alaska, Alaska Native tribal governments and similar Alaska Native organizations, and local, private-sector, and nonprofit-sector stakeholders. To facilitate consultation and partnerships with the State of Alaska and Alaska Native tribal governments and similar Alaska Native organizations, the Steering Committee shall:
(a) develop a process to improve coordination and the sharing of information and knowledge among Federal, State, local, and Alaska Native tribal governments and similar Alaska Native organizations, and private-sector and nonprofit-sector groups on Arctic issues;
(b) establish a process to ensure tribal consultation and collaboration, consistent with my memorandum of November 5, 2009 (Tribal Consultation). This process shall ensure meaningful consultation and collaboration with Alaska Native tribal governments and similar Alaska Native organizations in the development of Federal policies that have Alaska Native implications, as applicable, and provide feedback and recommendations to the Steering Committee;
(c) identify an appropriate Federal entity to be the point of contact for Arctic matters with the State of Alaska and with Alaska Native tribal governments and similar Alaska Native organizations to support collaboration and communication; and
(d) invite members of State, local, and Alaska Native tribal governments and similar Alaska Native organizations, and academic and research institutions to consult on issues or participate in discussions, as appropriate and consistent with applicable law.
Sec. 6. General Provisions. (a) Nothing in this order shall be construed to impair or otherwise affect:
(i) the authority granted by law to an executive department, agency, or the head thereof; or
(ii) the functions of the Director of the Office of Management and Budget relating to budgetary, administrative, or legislative proposals.
(b) This order shall be implemented consistent with applicable law and subject to the availability of appropriations.
(c) This order is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.
Our friend, Robert Dillon, of U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski's Energy and Natural Resources Committee writes that, "The Senate is poised today to vote on the 15th amendment on the floor just three weeks into the new session. That’s the same number of amendment votes that Sen. Reid allowed in all of 2014. Sen. Lisa Murkowski last night praised the return of regular order in the Senate and the open processing of amendments. As she said on the Senate floor at the close of business last night, “While some may suggest these are hard votes to take, nobody ever said that voting should be easy here in the United States Senate. The issues that come before us are issues that the nation considers and that we as their representatives should take seriously. And so sometimes there are hard votes and we will argue and debate over the wording… and that is appropriate.” -dh
Senate to shatter 2014’s amendment milestone (Politico)
The Senate held just 15 votes on amendments in 2014. This year, it’s set to surpass that mark after just three weeks.
1/22/15 12:36 PM EST
The Senate is about to reach a milestone: By the end of this week, it will have held more amendment votes than it did in all of 2014.
On Thursday — just three weeks into the new year — the chamber is set to surpass last year’s total of 15 amendment votes, thanks to a flurry of voting centered almost entirely on the Keystone XL pipeline. The only non-Keystone vote so far this year came on an amendment by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) on changes to the Dodd-Frank financial law.
Thursday’s milestone followed a raucous two-day period of votes in the Senate on multiple proposals regarding climate change, including the adoption of an amendment that says climate change is real — but doesn’t pin the blame on humans.
“Just 15 roll call amendments, that was in all of 2014,” said Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chairwoman Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska). “My hope is that we’re going to exceed last year’s total, hopefully here today.”
Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has made opening up the Senate’s amendment process a key mark of his new reign. Thus far, he’s been amenable to allowing votes on Democratic messaging amendments on climate change on the Keystone bill, a measure that’s still headed toward a presidential veto.
“It’s great to see a real debate on the floor of the Senate again,” McConnell said Thursday. “I saw some action in the chamber yesterday, even some unpredictability.”
But Democrats are expressing happiness about the trend too: With seven Republicans up for reelection next year in blue states that President Barack Obama won in 2008 and 2012, Democrats hope to pile up the votes as ammunition on the campaign trail. As one example of potential attack-ad fodder for 2016, aides mentioned Republican votes that torpedoed an amendment aimed at requiring U.S. steel to be used to build the Keystone pipeline.
“We would love nothing better than for Senator McConnell to make his members take as many amendment votes on as many bills as possible, and his caucus members would love nothing less,” said one Democratic aide.
Aside from a bill preventing cuts to the U.S. Postal Service, Democratic leaders have mostly focused on environmental and energy amendments to Keystone. Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York, the Democrats’ top message man, said the focus for now is on relevant amendments but, eventually, they may turn to non-germane amendments.
Asked recently about whether Democrats may offer amendments on proposals like raising the minimum wage and encouraging pay equity between men and women, Schumer responded: “You will see those.”
“There will certainly be times when we do non-relevant amendments, since we believe almost everything can be seen through the prism: We’re helping average Americans,” Schumer said.
Democratic leader Harry Reid of Nevada has taken most of the blame for producing last year’s dearth of amendments by using Senate procedure to protect bills from alteration. But the Senate’s byzantine procedural rules also make things more complicated given that any senator can reject an agreement to vote on amendments.
Last year, red state Democrats up for reelection balked at votes on divisive energy, health-care and social issues that Republicans were pushing in a rash of unrelated amendments to bills. A number of bills also never advanced past initial filibusters into the amendment stage.
Robert Dillon | Communications Director
Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee
Environmental Protection Agency: "Lisa Jackson Leaving EPA In January." (Commentary on Government Waste, By Dave Harbour)
We received an email about Jackson's upcoming departure with this message: "This service is provided to you at no charge by U.S. Environmental Protection Agency."
We boldfaced two words above to demonstrate the abysmal lack of business and economics knowledge possessed by this federal agency and Administration. Of course, our readers know that the Taxpayers paid for the agency to spread its propaganda throughout the country via a sophisticated mass delivery program known as, "GovDelivery". Every federal email should proclaim: "Funded at taxpayer expense."
We get similar EPA mailings regularly, announcing "settlements" between the agency, would-be developers, environmental groups and others. From what we have seen, every settlement restricts free enterprise, increases America's cost of living and puts the opposition in a "No Win" situation whether the entity is guilty or not of anything requiring the payment of huge extortion fees. Massive millions are flowing from the private sector to government or environmental causes and no one seems to care.
P.S. Tuesday, we received the 'free' email, described above. Below, is the 'free' email we received yesterday. Note that EPA didn't fine the company $62,985 for hurting someone with 'hazardous chemicals', but that the punishment "settlement" is extracted for failure to tell the government entities about what chemicals the company was using. For a small company, an unexpected loss of $60k could mean the loss of an employee, failure to pay rent, inability to fund optional employee benefits, bonuses, etc. It will likely increase the company's risk profile along with liability expenses. For sure, it will increase operating costs that will be borne by the consumer. Multiply that by hundreds of EPA penalties and harrassing techniques employed throughout the country -- whether or not any actual enviornmental damage has occurred -- and one wonders, "Why are prices going up so fast?".
(Seattle - December 26, 2012) General Biodiesel, in south Seattle, will pay a penalty for failing to report their hazardous chemicals in violation of federal emergency planning laws, according to a consent agreement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
General Biodiesel converts used cooking oils, fish oil, vegetable oil, and animal fats into biodiesel fuel and glycerol in a process that uses hazardous chemicals including methanol, sodium methoxide, and sulfuric acid. In 2009 and 2010, General Biodiesel failed to submit Emergency and Hazardous Chemical Inventory forms to the Seattle fire department, King County ... and Washington's ... Commission.
"When a company fails to report their hazardous chemicals to emergency planners and responders, they put their employees and the community at risk," said Kelly McFadden, EPA's Pesticides and Toxics Unit Manager in Seattle. "This information is critical to alert federal, state, and local officials to prevent injuries or deaths to emergency responders, workers, and the local community."
Failure to report large amounts of hazardous chemicals to appropriate agencies is a violation of the federal Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act.
General Biodiesel agreed to pay a $62,985 penalty and fully comply with federal emergency planning rules to protect their workers, emergency responders, and the local community.
For information on the Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act, visit: http://www.epa.gov/compliance/civil/epcra/epcraenfstatreq.html
More information on the Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act in Washington is available at: http://www.ecy.wa.gov/epcra/index.html
You can view or update your subscriptions or e-mail address at any time on your Subscriber Preferences Page. All you will need is your e-mail address. If you have any questions or problems e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for assistance.
This service is provided to you at no charge by U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.