Yesterday the EPA announced it is seeking public input on two draft waste water discharge permits for oil and gas exploration activities in Alaska’s Beaufort and Chukchi Seas. The comment period closes March 30, 2012.
Fairbanks News Miner
by Dermot Cole
: The Army Corps of Engineers has submitted a draft Environmental Impact Statement to the federal Environmental Protection Agency on the proposed 737-mile gas pipeline from Prudhoe Bay to Cook Inlet.
On Wednesday, February 1st
the Natural Resources Committee will hold a Full Committee markup on the energy portion of the American Energy Infrastructure & Jobs Act
, legislation to link new American energy production with high-priority infrastructure projects.
President Obama put his own political need to keep the votes of environmentalists ahead of the country's needs when he killed the proposed Keystone XL oil pipeline ("White House says no to oil pipeline," Jan. 19). The pipeline would have created tens of thousands of badly needed jobs, and it would have been a reliable source of energy from a friendly country.
Taxpayers Pay For Enviro Attacks On Economy
Scores of public employees in Alaska, the Lower 48, Canada and around the world are using their official titles and organizations to urge the Obama Administration to stop Alaska's Arctic energy exploration programs.
The PEW Environment Group writes on its webpage
that, "In 2009, more than 400 scientists signed a letter to the President asking for a time-out on oil and gas development in the U.S. Arctic Ocean. This letter was extremely well received and contributed to the Obama administration’s decision not to offer new oil and gas leases and to temporarily suspend exploratory drilling in the Arctic Ocean. Download 2009 Letter".
That while Alaska continues to support free speech, we financially support messages consistent with the policies established by Alaska’s Constitution, the Legislature and the Administration.
That certain University of Alaska Fairbanks research funding be cut.
That any state Wildlife funding for the North Slope Borough be cut.
That any state funding for the Inuit Circumpolar Council Alaska at UAA be cut.
That funding for certain inappropriate Alaska Department of Fish and Game activities be cut.
This current letter
referred to a June 2011 U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) report, “An Evaluation of the Science Needs to Inform Decisions on Outer Continental Shelf Energy Development in the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas, Alaska.”
Readers will note that the letter lauds 62 recommendations flowing from the study. These recommendations include gathering further physical and biological environmental research in the Arctic, studying certain aspects of the ‘life history’ of important species, creation of new data management systems, etc.
But the letter doesn't simply laud USGS work. A careful reading shows that it urges a violation of the rule of law, the regulatory process, and outright rejection of the permitting process. The existing permitting process applying to Alaska is already the most stringent in the world. It is reasonable. And, it is underway following the good faith issuance of leases to lessees in return for billions of dollars in bonus bids.
The letter concludes by UNREASONABLY recommending that no “new oil and gas activity in the Arctic Ocean” be authorized until the Administration follows through, “…on its commitment to science by acting on the USGS recommendations.”
In short, the federal government should pour hundreds of millions of dollars into Universities of Alaska and California while most major economic activity grinds to a halt and the US Government defaults on its obligations to lessees.
And, grind to a halt, it will, for production from federally controlled lands in the Arctic provides a great deal of the prospective new production to extend the life of the Trans Alaska Pipeline System (TAPS) and support the national security of our country. In fact, the Alaska Arctic provides the greatest potential for new domestic oil finds
anywhere in America.
Without Shell’s 2012 Beaufort and Chukchi exploration moving forward, a loss of momentum could derail the projects for decades and irreparably harm America’s economy and Alaska’s survival as an independent state. Without a transfusion from Shell’s exceptionally well planned effort, TAPS owners will at some point decide that the diminished production fails to justify continued operations. Without TAPS, Alaska loses well over a third of our entire economy and the government loses nearly 90% of its general fund.
We’ve noted that at virtually all federal environmental hearings since the Obama Administration took control, University of Alaska professors have turned out to encourage a stop to oil and gas activity until the government funds a massive, ecological baseline research program, presumably operated by them and benefitting them.
We now connect the dots between those hearings and this month’s letter, signed by many of them. It is an environmental activist strategy which, in large part, we pay for with public dollars funneled through Academia.
Our remedy is to encourage our elected leaders not to pay for activities that debase our economy and threaten the lifestyles of our children.
Since some of this activism also emanates from private university professors, the remedy in that case deals with withholding voluntary university contributions not restrictions of public funding.
Yet, we do not hear these
‘scientists’ are being concerned about the economy that sustains them.
In any case, we urge the President of the University of Alaska, Pat Gamble
), and his chancellors to work with the Legislature to cut public funding for programs detrimental to the future of Alaska and her children.
Surely we all support academic freedom inside the ‘academy’ just as we support freedom of speech throughout our society. But citizens also have the freedom not to fund unreasonable voices raised in unison against our society’s economic survival, due process and the rule of law.
Upon analysis, the "573 scientists" named in the letter
include some private and some public employees: Several dozen who work for environmental groups; a whole bunch working for the University of Alaska-Fairbanks; scores working for universities around the world; several dozen Canadians; one who works as a wildlife biologist for the North Slope Borough; one working for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game; and one who apparently works for the Inuit Circumpolar Council Alaska, University of Alaska - Anchorage.
The PEW authors try to cover for their letter signers
by saying, "The scientists who have signed this letter have done so in their personal capacities. Institutional affiliations are provided only for identification purposes, and do not imply any institutional position on Arctic Ocean policy."
However, anyone signing a politically charged letter like this -- which ends up being used by the White House to support an energy policy decision -- surely knows that his or her name would mean nothing without the reputation of his or her institution and title attached to the name.
These folks can say whatever they want on their own time. We think most readers will agree, however, that we are not obligated to support their outrageous, anti-Alaskan economic activity with our public dollars while they cloak themselves the good names of our institutions.
No, we shouldn’t fire Alaskan or California or Canadian public employees for using free speech, but neither should we be stupid enough to fund their budgets with public dollars they employ to destroy our economy and way of life.