9-10-12 Current Events Are Connected
Feds say Chukchi Approval is part of their, "...all-of-the-above energy strategy to expand safe and responsible domestic energy production. ... Under the permit..., Shell will be allowed to begin certain preparatory activities in the Chukchi Sea that will increase overall safety." BSEE inspectors will be present on the Noble Discoverer to provide continuous oversight and monitoring of all approved activities. BSEE safety experts have already conducted thorough and comprehensive inspections of the drillship and Shell’s response equipment. (ADN Story Here).
Many Current Events Are Connected In Ways That Affect Economies and Energy Investments In Arctic Alaska and Canada
Current Event #1, Beringia Agreement. We wrote about this issue on Friday (Scroll down or click here). We have remained concerned over the weekend that our Federal government will announce what one news organization referred to as a 'low level agreement' between Russia and the United States that would, "unite protected federal lands," in the two countries. Our concern arises from lack of transparency in the process. What does the draft agreement say? How would it affect future natural resource policy in the area (i.e. Red Dog Mine, Chukchi and Beaufort Exploration)? Why does the U.S. Senate not have a copy of this draft? Does the Senate or does it not plan to vote to ratify the agreement which is truly a treaty no matter how one parses it--not just a "low level agreement"? Having spoken with Alaska Lieutenant Governor Mead Treadwell, we know of his long-held hopes of improving cooperation between the nations. We also know from the letter sent Friday that Governor Sean Parnell (NGP Photo) is concerned about the precise direction this international treaty could take and how it might hurt job creation and other Arctic development. We hope that Alaska's Congressional Delegation is alert to this issue and continues to be concerned about and fighting against the depth and breadth and frequency of federal overreach exhibited by this Administration.
Current Event #2. The 17th Annual meeting of the Russian American Pacific Partnership (RAPP) will convene in Tacoma a little over a week from now, September 19-20 in Tacoma. Among expected participants are our own Lieutenant Governor Mead Treadwell. We see no indication that the formal agenda includes the Beringia issue. However, one cannot but surmise that one of the self-imposed pressures for the Obama Administration to complete the Russian agreement this week could be its desire to announce the news next week in Tacoma.
Current Event #3, Federal Overreach. Senator Lisa Murkowski has raised awareness of this Administration's overreaching authority in this video. Alaska and Russia share the Arctic with their neighbors and have families that straddle the border (i.e. a term we borrow from a good friend). Many feel strongly that the Beringia Heritage program benefits all participants. But the Presidents of America and Russia are working quietly on this 'agreement' that neither Alaska's Governor nor Congress will likely see before it is consummated. This may be the way business is done in Russia, but it is an alien way of conducting the public's business in America. This flagrant end-run around Congress and Alaska's Governor is but the latest example of Federal overreach that challenges Constitutional authority. (We have begun counting the ways the feds have overreached their authority).
Current Event #4, Arctic Jurisdiction and Sovereignty. Three years ago, the U.S. Coast Guard and a whole flotilla of well-heeled federal agency department heads descended on Anchorage. The flotilla wasn't here to plan Alaska's defense or assert Arctic Sovereignty. It was the new, "Ocean Policy Task Force". Members were here on a non-Congressionally approved or funded trip to hold a hearing on the President's executive order requiring the creation of a new "Ocean Policy". The new regulatory regime would, in effect, establish a huge new bureaucracy to zone and control ocean use, including all of the watersheds flowing into the oceans and their adjacent lands--in effect, the whole country. Thus, the new bureaucracy would duplicate and overlap and overlay most or many other regulatory regimes currently in existence--an extreme environmentalist's fantasy world. We editorialized then that while our leaders were attempting to establish new controls over American commerce and human behavior, the Canadian leadership was at the same moment in the Arctic defending its jurisdiction there. America's naive and inexperienced leaders are not keeping their eyes on the ball. They are consumed day and night with shutting down free enterprise and resource development as their Russian and Canadian counterparts are carefully moving their Arctic chessboard pieces into place. Our competitor-neighbors are preparing to assert control over the most promising new energy province in the world. As Nero was said to have fiddled while Rome burned, so might it be remembered that Barack and Hillary danced and dithered about Beringia as America lost control of its own Arctic frontier. (See how Canada is forging ahead in its conquest of Arctic sovereignty. *** Canada Yahoo. Prime Minister Stephen Harper will visit Yukon, the Northwest Territories, Nunivat and northern Manitoba this week for his seventh northern tour. The annual tour has become a key part of Harper government's foreign policy — Harper uses it to assert Canadian presence in the area. Buoyed by the region's potential natural resource riches, Russia, the United States, and the EU are all in disagreement with Canada on Arctic boundaries, and particularly about control of the Northwest Passage — a water route connecting the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. While the Harper government doesn't foresee a military threat in the Arctic , they have made it clear that 'Arctic sovereignty' would be a focus of their government.