Graham Smith (NGP Photo) of the Alaska State Pipeline Coordinators Office Reports TODAY that the agency's Annual Report Is Now Available. Smith says that, "The State Pipeline Coordinator’s Office is the lead state agency for processing pipeline right-of-way leases, and it coordinates oversight of state-regulated pipelines."
He adds that the annual report provides, "general information for each common carrier pipeline, highlights lessee reported activities, summarizes specific state oversight activities for pipeline construction, operation, and maintenance, and provides an outlook for the next fiscal year, including updates on several proposed natural gas pipeline projects."
Calgary Herald by Dave Cooper. TransCanada Corp. moved a step closer to shipping Alberta crude east, saying Tuesday that the idea of converting part of its main natural gas pipeline system to carry oil is both technically feasible and makes economic sense. "So we are now commencing on our stakeholder efforts in the communities that we are going to be in and advancing our commercial deal with potential shippers,” said chief executive Russ Girling....
ADN/AP by Dan Joling. Royal Dutch Shell PLC announced that it concluded exploratory drilling on Wednesday, its mandatory cutoff date before winter. It completed preliminary drilling at one well at the Burger-A Prospect 70 miles offshore in the Chukchi Sea and one at the Sivulliq Prospect 18 miles offshore in the Beaufort Sea.
Decisions Made by People Thousands of Miles Away From Our Homes Have Devastating Impacts
Our comment: the following Joint Opinion-Editorial by the North Slope Borough (NSB, Mayor Charlotte Brower, NGP Photo) and Arctic Slope Regional Corporation (ASRC, President/CEO Rex Rock, NGP Photo) may be the most responsible, powerful and candid policy communication from Alaska's North Slope leadership in recent decades. It balances economic development with care for the environment and emphasizes the critical importance of federal government consultation and communication with local stakeholders and appropriate elected leaders. Please click here to see why. -dh
The recent announcement by the Secretary of the Interior, Ken Salazar, of Preferred Alternative B-2 for the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska has appalled even the conservation-minded Iñupiat of the North Slope of Alaska.
The North Slope Borough is nearly entirely dependent on the environmentally safe development of natural resources, as are the Native corporations within the region. The rapid decline of oil production is affecting the ability of local governments to provide services to residents often taken for granted in urban communities. In an era of budget cutbacks by the federal and state governments, we cannot afford to cripple the lone economic driver for our communities.
The proposed “lockup” of almost half of NPR-A will negatively impact the well-being of every resident on the North Slope. Although the legislation opening NPR-A is explicit in ensuring that the area be managed for oil and gas purposes, the Secretary of the Interior is side-stepping the clear intent of the law to satisfy the agendas of outside environmental groups.
The proposed “B-2” alternative in the EIS/Integrated Activity Plan does not represent the desires of the majority of the Iñupiat living within the boundaries of NPR-A. It was not developed in consultation with the North Slope Borough, the Arctic Slope Regional Corporation, or any of the land-owning village corporations within NPR-A.
Further aggravating the lack of federal consultation is the practice of environmental groups taking advantage of some Iñupiat to advocate their position in Washington, D.C. They hand pick a few individuals sympathetic to their cause and market them as “Native leaders”; resulting in a widely touted skewed and carefully-orchestrated “Native” perspective, while the voices of actual, elected leaders are ignored. This practice also reveals the fact that these environmental organizations have little to no respect for the perspective of Native people that happen to disagree with their agendas. Even more alarming, the federal government is utilizing the same approach. This practice is dishonest and unacceptable.
Over the past four years more efforts have been made by the current administration to limit, restrict, and heavily regulate the lands upon which we have subsisted and currently depend for responsible development. Proposals such as Secretary Salazar’s “Wild Lands” policy, management alternatives for Wild & Scenic River and Wilderness designations, and the establishment of critical habitat area have left our communities feeling besieged by powerful outside interests. How soon will it be when we are considered trespassers on our own land?
The proposed B-2 Alternative is a plan to prohibit oil & gas leasing, development, and infrastructure in large tracts of the NPR-A. An area proposed for closure includes one portion of the NPR-A that the federal government has identified as having the highest potential for oil & gas. Further, this decision comes at a time when the feasibility of a potential pipeline route from offshore OCS development has yet to be determined.
Onerous federal land management schemes and regulations have negative impacts on our people. Decisions made by people thousands of miles away from our homes have devastating impacts. Without oil revenues, how will the federal government address the needs of our communities?
We are the best judges when it comes to balancing the protection of our subsistence resources and responsible oil & gas development. If the Obama Administration truly cared about Alaska Native people, they would recognize that their current proposed policies are a detriment to our path to self-determination.
The North Slope Borough and Native corporations exist in our communities to improve the quality of life for our people. We are standing up for our economic and subsistence freedoms, and rejecting efforts that would relegate us to becoming exhibits in an outdoor museum. If we are to be respected as a people then we must have a seat at the decision-making table when those decisions concern the land that we call home.
In September, NSB and ASRC leaders Charlotte Brower and Rex Rock, respectively provided Alaska Oil and Gas Congress participants with major policy statements which decisively supported responsible oil and gas exploration and development in Alaska's Arctic region. Their position is not inconsistent from one adopted by the State's elected leader, Governor Sean Parnell (NGP Photo).
Today's Op-Ed continues and expands upon the theme of a Federal government which coordinates policy to meet extreme environmental demands rather than communicate responsibly with those who live on and subsist within the NSB-ASRC lands.
For our thousands of Canadian and Lower 48 readers, the NSB is the elected, area-wide government of the North Slope and ASRC is the Alaska Native Regional Corporation created by the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act of 1971.
NSB's goal is to, "create opportunity for the future and to assure continuity with the past." It does so within the constitutional framework of local government."
ASRC is the largest Alaskan-owned company, according to its public statements, with about 10,000 employees worldwide. It is a private corporation owned by and representing the business interests of 11,000 Iñupiat Eskimo shareholders in the villages of Point Hope, Point Lay, Wainwright, Atqasuk, Barrow, Nuiqsut, Kaktovik, and Anaktuvuk Pass. Some of the corporation’s shareholders live outside of the region in Alaska and the Lower 48. The company owns nearly five million acres of land on Alaska's North Slope which contain a high potential for fossil fuels and base metals. ASRC owns subsurface rights to certain lands, and surface rights to other lands.
(We suspect more than a few of our faithful readers in Inuvik, Yellowknife, Whitehorse and their other neighbors may share some of the same concerns represented in this report.)