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Northern Gas Pipelines is your public service 1-stop-shop for Alaska and Canadian Arctic energy commentary, news, history, projects and people. It is informal and rich with new information, updated daily. Here is the most timely and complete Arctic gas pipeline and northern energy archive available anywhere—used by media, academia, government and industry officials throughout the world. Northern Gas Pipelines may be the oldest Alaska blog; we invite readers to suggest others existing before 2001.

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1-25-15, Sunday

25 January 2015 5:03am

Points of personal privilege: on this beautiful Sunday, we note the following personal items and leave you witha poetic prayer.

1.  Kudos to all but a big hug and kiss to Nancy for a career of accomplishment far above and beyond any call of duty! -dh

From the Arctic Sounder:

'Last week seven directors of various nonprofits in the state were awarded a six-month break through the Rasmuson Foundation Sabbatical Program.

The recipients come from five communities across the state and include professionals in arts, and health and social services.

"Among them are Guy Adams, who is the CEO of the Northwest Inupiat Housing Authority in Kotzebue, and Marie Carroll who is the executive director of the Arctic Slope Native Association in Barrow. Also receiving the award were Nancy Harbour of Alaska Center for the Performing Arts in Anchorage, Marcia Howell of the Alaska Injury Prevention Center in Anchorage, Laurie Kari who runs the Mat-Su Valley Interfaith Hospitality Network DBA Family Promise Mat-Su in Wasilla, Rebecca Shields of the Kodiak Women's Resource and Crisis Center in Kodiak and Pauline Smith who runs the Alaska Literacy Program in Anchorage".  http://www.thearcticsounder.com/…/1504arctic_executives_awa…

​2.  Dr Charles Stanley, Alaska Cruise, Dave Harbour, Northern Gas Pipelines, Faith, what we sow, more than we sow, later than we sowToday we pursue our typical Sunday schedule:  exercise; good healthy, natural breakfast; an hour with our friend, Dr. Charles Stanley; and, an hour at our church.  

In thanking you for being our reader, we must state an acknowledgement that we are imperfect in perhaps all ways but strive toward that lofty goal from waking at dawn to time for blissful sleep come evening.  We also acknowledge that in the 'striving' we are also imperfect.

God bless you and yours.  

-dh

_______________________________________________

Email response to two Kenai Peninsula NGP Readers who constantly give us nourishing feedback. 

To: B & A C.......

You light up my life and keep my spirits high!  Thank you.

Here is a Sunday poem for you and A:
_________________________________________________
 
To B. and A. Cxxx., for faithful, inspirational support.
___________________________________________
          Ode to Tears of Praise
 
Why is it that when I pray,
     I often end my prayer in tears?
Because my pleas cause You to hear:
     my flowing tears praise You today,
small thanks for hope and vanquished fears.
 
-Dave Harbour, Sunday, January 25, 2015
 
 
_________________________________________________

----- Original Message -----

From: "B & A" <xxxxxxxxxx@acsalaska.net>
To:

"DAVE HARBOUR" <harbour@gci.net>

Cc:

 

Sent:

Sat, 24 Jan 2015 13:01:58 -0900

Subject:

KEEP UP YOUR GREAT WORK, DAVE HARBOUR!

DAVE . . . SO MUCH NEWS APPEARS ALL OVER THE MEDIA BUT WE CANNOT ALWAYS TRUST THAT THE DETAILS ARE ACCURATE . . .SO . . . WE ARE VERY  “INSPIRED”  AND VERY LUCKY. . .TO HAVE YOUR COLUMN.

WE KNOW YOU ARE PROVIDING IMPORTANT INFORMATION FOR ALASKANS/AMERICANS . . . and we hope you CONTINUE TO SHARE THESE DETAILS!!!

YES, DAVE . . .A. AND I TRULY BELIEVE THAT GOD BOOSTS OUR MORALE BY SENDING SOMEONE LIKE YOU WHO BELIEVES IN KEEPING OUR AMERICA FOCUSED ON GOD’S PLANS!  KEEP INSPIRING US, DAVE!!!

BLESSINGS!

B

Categories:

1-24-15 Alaska Senator Murkowski Addresses the Nation TODAY - Alaska Governor Walker Fights Low Oil Prices?

24 January 2015 10:14am

Alaska Governor, Bill Walker, falling oil prices, budget crisis, cut government spending, cut education, lng project, gas pipeline, oil, arctic, north slope, Photo by Dave HarbourAlaska Senator Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski, enegy policy, national radio address, republican, oil export ban, Keystone XL, lng project, gas pipeline, oil, arctic, north slope, Photo by Dave HarbourLisa Murkowski Addresses The Nation TODAY

Alaska Governor Bill Walker Finishes A Week Facing Falling Oil Prices

 


Governor Walker

Edited from 'Alaskanomics' by Katie Bender.

Governor Bill Walker (NGP Photo) presented his State of the Budget speech to the Legislature on Thursday night. This was one night after the State of the State speech that he presented to open the Legislative session. 

He said, “...it will not be easy, but we will manage Alaska out of the fiscal challenges facing our state.” 

The budget challenge is well known to the Legislature, the Administration and industry leaders. The public is beginning to become more aware of the scope of the hardship facing Alaska. State revenue is down because of the significant drop in oil prices that Alaska has seen over the last half of 2014. Walker pledged to work to fix government and the budget gap.

Walker outlined his plan for long-term and short-term solutions and asked the Legislature to aid in solving the problems that lie ahead. He concluded by noting that the State must reduce spending which will affect contractors and associated work forces.  He said he will look to the private sector to pick up slack from a reduction in workforce due to changes in government spending.

Walker started the reduction in spending in his own department. He cut the administration by 11 percent and his staff is the smallest it has been in 15 years. He asked his departments to follow his lead and do more with less. 

Walker said he has, “...stopped discretionary spending on mega projects, taken steps to reduce municipal revenue sharing, and asked his commissioners to develop plans for cutting their departmental budgets by five to eight percent in the short-term and up to 25 percent in the long-term.“

After the speech, the Legislature received documents revealing Walker's approach to the budget including the budget overview and summary documents. 

The media received the same information later that night. For a complete transcript of the Governor’s State of the Budget speech, visit HERE.

Our readers can also watch the speech on KTVA television, HERE.

Senator Murkowski

GOP Weekly Address: 'It's Time We Embrace The Opportunities Before Us'

ABC News Radio  January 24, 2015.

Read the full transcript of today's Republican address:

Hello. I’m Senator Lisa Murkowski (NGP Photo) of Alaska.  This past week, President Obama, in his State of the Union address, laid out his plans for America.  And as part of his speech, he called on Congress to pass an infrastructure bill that will create jobs and make our nation stronger for decades to come.

I welcomed that message, and the fact is, we’ve already started.  For over two weeks now, the Senate has been working hard on a bipartisan bill to approve the Keystone XL pipeline.  This important infrastructure project will support thousands of jobs.  It would carry both American and Canadian oil, in the cleanest and safest way, and help keep energy affordable for American families.

After more than 2,300 days of presidential indecision, it’s important for us to act.  The world is watching to see whether the United States is willing to lead as a global energy superpower that respects its neighbors, trades with its allies, and builds needed infrastructure.  I believe we are ready for that role – and our leadership can start with the approval of Keystone XL.

The new Republican congress you elected has only been in office a few weeks now, but already we’ve made important strides towards making congress function again and getting Washington back to work. We’re fulfilling the promises made in the recent elections, and considering legislation in an open and a transparent manner where both Republicans and Democrats can offer their ideas.

Now, here’s an interesting fact: more amendments were voted on in the Senate just this past week, than were voted on during all of 2014.  Our approach to this energy infrastructure bill is one that allows members from both parties – and every state – the chance to have their voices heard.

Once Congress approves the Keystone XL pipeline with bipartisan support, we will have an opportunity to put forth additional energy solutions that will grow our economy and help hardworking Americans.

We are focusing on energy because it is vital to our prosperity, and a strategic asset that we can use to assist our allies and trading partners.  It is in our interest to continue making our energy abundant, affordable, clean, diverse, and secure.  And I am confident we can reach those goals by strengthening our supply, modernizing our infrastructure, supporting energy efficiency, and ensuring federal accountability.

As Chairman of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, I will do my best to ensure the Senate approves broad energy legislation this year.  The last time that happened was in 2007.  That was a time of scarcity, but America is now producing more energy than ever before. We’ve seen firsthand that American supply matters to global prices – and the only question now is whether we’re going to take the steps necessary to keep energy affordable.

We can start by looking to Alaska, where we have tremendous amounts of oil just waiting to be produced.  We have prolific resources in our National Petroleum Reserve and offshore.  If we also unlock just a fraction of the non-wilderness portion of ANWR, we could bring about a huge range of economic benefits.  Some may consider this controversial, but it really is not.  Even the head of the Alaska Democratic Party wrote a piece this week, urged that it be opened. It’s time we embrace the opportunities before us.

Republicans have a positive agenda that will help create jobs, keep energy affordable, and increase our security.  Over the next two years, it is our hope that President Obama will be a partner in our efforts, and that he will start by finally approving the Keystone XL pipeline.

Thank you for listening.


 

1-23-15 The Pot Is Beginning To Boil And We're The "Frog"

23 January 2015 6:00am

Our concerns about Wednesday'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.


ALASKA SUPPORT INDUSTRY ALLIANCE: Here are more photos from the recent "Meet Alaska" Conference in Anchorage.  

We fully support Senator Murkowski's Alaska viewpoint on supporting the Keystone XL Pipeline as reflected in this week's Op-Ed piece in the Alaska Dispatch News.  -dh​


Alaska Has A Powerful Fighter In Washington: Chair Murkowski! -dh

Houston Chronicle, by  Jennifer A. Dlouhy.  

U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski, Chair, Energy, Natural Resources, Crude Oil Export Ban, Dave Harbour PhotoWhen Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski (NGP Photo) called for an end to the longstanding U.S. ban on crude exports last January, the Alaskan was entering uncharted territory.

So Murkowski set out to tackle it methodically and deliberately, eschewing bombast and loud press conferences for closed-door meetings with administration officials and white papers that examined every facet of the trade restrictions. She even drafted a roadmap for administration officials to undo the ban.No policymaker had seriously questioned the wisdom of the ban since it was imposed after the 1973 OPEC oil embargo.

It was trademark Murkowski: tackling a thorny legislative issue....  More.... 

This morning, our friend James Halloran, Independent Energy James Halloran, Energy Analyst, Halloran File Photo, Northern Gas PipelinesAnalyst (File Photo) gives us this overview of the immediate and mid-term future of oil and gas markets and a closely related world economy.  

Remember, Dear Reader, that while we strive to be optimistic, we must be committed to reality; those who depend upon us deserve it.  

The reality that Halloran sees in our immediate future gives strength to those who are right now trying to cut all lower priority costs from both government and private industry operations.  It is like preparing for a storm during hurricane season in South Florida.  Those who prepare run the risk of over preparation but those who under prepare run the risk of losing everything.  

-dh

*     *     *

James Halloran Commentary: {Night before last} we featured the possibility of imminent change in the royal leadership of Saudi Arabia. {Yesterday} it was reported that King Abdullah has died, and Prince Salman will succeed him. It is widely known (or believed, at least) that Prince Salman suffers from Alzheimer’s Disease. How the Allegiance Council, made up of royal family members deals with this situation, will be worth watching, as will the timing and process of finally moving the throne to the next generation. We refer you back to the analysis of this issue back to Allen Brooks’ piece reprinted in last nights’ note. As of this moment there is nothing better out there in the media.

Evercore ISI oil service analyst James West has an outlook for the energy operations in 2015.  We agree with most of it, to the extent that it represents a decent outlook on the business. It is a long piece, but here are some of the highlights:

Key Themes For 2015. The major themes that we believe will unfold in 2015 are:

1) a rapid fall in U.S. activity levels and the bottoming of the rig count in 3Q or 4Q,

2) the slow collapse of the international markets with corruption scandals and geopolitical issues adding to the activity decline,

3) the emergence of the Middle East as the only real regional bright spot,

4) the offshore markets turning from an oversupplied rig market to a full blown cyclical downturn,

5) the disappearance of new offshore rig orders,

6) a pause in the rush to export gas from North America as economics get re-assessed,

7) the largest subsea equipment installation cycle in the industries' history,

8) an increase in opportunistic M&A and share buybacks, especially given cash balances,

9) more growth for IPM-style projects, and

10)  the continued push towards more automation in the global oilfield.

North America Is a Cash Flow Game… And Cash Flow Is Collapsing

The E&P business in North America is primarily a cash flow-driven business, and while production of hydrocarbons will continue to rise this year (with the rate of growth likely slowing considerably by year-end), the substantial decline in oil prices will dramatically impact cash flow and thus capital expenditures. We now anticipate CAPEX to drop by 30% year-over-year with higher cost liquids plays such as the Bakken impacted the most. Natural gas plays will likely remain insulated given their relative economics. The capital markets (both high yield and equity) will likely be mostly closed for the exploration and production companies, and while these companies would prefer to "drill through" what we expect to be a relatively short-term oil price trough, the companies will quickly see their cash flow decline, the absence of funding precipitating spending cuts. Capital spending cuts announced so far by the industry have been significant. This will slow down production growth, and thus the self-correcting mechanism remains in place. We anticipate 4Q15 versus 4Q14 production growth to be minimal at best. The first drop in the rig count will be sharp and unfold primarily during the first quarter, with a second substantial drop in late 2Q as hedges begin to roll off. We anticipate that the rig count will bottom late in the third quarter. Pricing pressure will be exerted across all product lines―no one will be immune tothe sharp decline in activity that we envision.  

U.S. Land Rig Count Forecast

Amid our expected 30% North American E&P reduction in CAPEX during 2015, we model a slightly more severe 35% decline in the U.S. land rig count as spending cuts affect drilling to a greater extent than completions and other services. We forecast a decline in the rig count from its 4Q14 peak of 1,864 to a trough level of 1,204 for a net decrease of ~660 rigs.

The steepest drop should come in 1Q15 in response to the sharp commodity price selloff, with a more gradual decline set for 2Q15 before establishing a trough late in 3Q15, followed by a potentially modest uptick in 4Q15.

Rigs in conventional plays rife with smaller, private operators drilling shallow wells are likely to suffer most as those producing the incremental barrel are most sensitive to sustained low oil prices and have limited access to fresh capital. Among the major unconventional plays, the Bakken is likely to be one of the hardest hit as Continental, the region’s most active E&P, is budgeting 2015 drilling capital for the region at $1.55 billion (down 40% from its prior revised budget of $2.6 billion) and lowering its rig count from 19 currently to 10 in 1Q15. Midcontinent areas such as the Woodford and Niobrara, and perhaps more importantly the Permian, should also languish as their high concentration of vertical rigs drop out of the market. Furthermore, several areas in the Permian such as the Wolfbone and Wolfberry exhibit some of the worst economics among all U.S. unconventional plays, with breakevens in the ~$75-80/Bbl range.  Though we model a 25% trough-level rig reduction in the Eagle Ford, this area is a potential wildcard as economics are shaping up better there than in other basins, and operators are migrating to the sweet spot between liquids-rich and wet gas compositions. 

One relative unconventional bright spot could be the Marcellus/Utica, as efficiency gains and increased stage counts per well contribute to low breakevens and attractive IRRs even with gas prices under $3.00/MMbtu.  

Market, Not OPEC, To Sort Out Prices (For Now)

The reaction (or inaction) by OPEC so far to the dramatic decline in global oil prices is telling.  The cartel is unwilling to stem the decline due to the driver: demand. If it were merely a supply issue the cartel would likely have reacted at the November 27th meeting with a modest cut but given the demand concerns that would only have served to push the demand issue further into the future. OPEC's willingness to allow short term pain is in the best long-term economic interests of the cartel. The pain may also lead to better cohesion and adherence to quotas in the future; again, a decision that is in the group's long-term interests. For now the cartel has left the market to decide the clearing price for the commodity.

1-22-15 White House Issues Arctic Executive Order

22 January 2015 2:19am

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.


Radio Interview

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 Glen Biegel, Alaska, Radio, Air Personality, Dave Harbour Photoactually 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)


White House Executive Order On Arctic: Heaviest Focus On 'Climate Change' And More Executive Overreach'

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.”

Lisa Murkowski, Alaska, U.S. Senate, Crude Oil Export Ban, Photo by Dave HarboutAlaska'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.


 

 

*     *     *

Commentary (Please at least take a glance at this .pdf we prepared for our readers so that you will know what it is for future reference):

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.

U.S. Senator Dan Sullivan, Arctic Executive Order, Federal Overreach, Dave Harbour PhotoWe 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.”

-dh


 

 

 

The White House

Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release
January 21, 2015
 

Executive Order --- Enhancing Coordination of National Efforts in the Arctic

 

EXECUTIVE ORDER

- - - - - - -

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 1Policy. 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. 2Arctic 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.

(c) Administration.

(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.

Sec3Responsibilities 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.

Sec4Duties 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.

Sec5Engagement 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.

Sec6General 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.

BARACK OBAMA


 

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.

By Burgess Everett

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

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1-21-15 US News Commentator Worries Walker Will Create Uncertainty

21 January 2015 5:00am

 

Calgary Herald by Dan Healing.  Oil services company Baker Hughes Inc. will lay off about 7,000 workers — likely including hundreds in Canada — as it prepares for a downturn in orders because of the plunge in crude prices, the company said Tuesday.  The layoffs represent about an 11 per cent cut to the 62,000-plus workers Baker Hughes says it employs worldwide.  Company spokeswoman Melanie Kania said....  Read more.

Is Governor Walker Creating An Uncertain Investment Climate?

US News by John Burnett.  In recent weeks, the state’s newly elected governor, Bill Walker, has said and done things that have put him at odds with energy companies seeking to invest in Alaska, and thus prompted concerns among politicians, business leaders and ordinary Alaskans about his commitment to projects like the one in the North Slope.

Most notably, Walker raised strong objections to a newly enacted tax structure on oil production that was intended to encourage investment in the state. It was an abrupt – and alarming – shift on his part, as he pledged during his campaign last year that he would not undo the tax law that Alaskan voters upheld in a referendum this past summer.

Bill Walker, Point Thomson, Exxon, Governor, LNG, lawsuit, Alaska LNGIf that were not enough, Gov. Walker (NGP Photo)​ contradicted Candidate Walker on another matter that has implications for the Alaska project: a private lawsuit he filed against a deal the state reached with ExxonMobil that paved the way for construction of a natural gas facility at Point Thomson on the North Slope.

As a candidate, Walker pledged to drop that suit if elected. Now that he is governor, Walker has not only refused to drop the suit, but ....

Now is not the time to be creating any kind of uncertainty.  Read more....


Tomorrow, if you are in Anchorage, plan to attend the Alaska Support Industry Alliance breakfast briefing by the Alaska Deputy Commissioner of Revenue Marcia Davis.  That will coincide with the Governor's legislative budget speech to the Legislature.  If you are concerned about Alaska's economy but are looking for specific issues and facts upon which to base questions, you might want to review the last two days of commentary.  -dh

We will continue to add more photos, here, to our archives from the Alaska Support industry Alliance's Meet Alaska 2015 Conference earlier this month.


House Natural Resources Chairman Rob Bishop (UT-01) last night issued the following statement in response to President Obama’s State of the Union Address:

“President Obama tonight spoke about expanding our economy and attaining energy security, but time and again, he has actively blocked the responsible development of our domestic energy resources. He reiterated his commitment to investing in education, yet failed to acknowledge that his administration’s restrictive land use policies are denying local communities the tax revenue that is necessary to make these investments.

“While the President’s rhetoric suggests that he is inclined to change course, his administration’s punitive regulatory agenda speaks with greater authority. Look no further than the 600 new rules and regulatory notices that have been issued by federal agencies since the start of the New Year. In the coming weeks and months, the House Natural Resources Committee will conduct thorough and aggressive oversight to hold the Obama Administration to account for its actions.”

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