Fox News by Joshua Rhett Miller. Deep-pocketed environmental groups are collecting millions of dollars from the federal agencies they regularly sue under a little-known federal law, and the government is not even keeping track of the payouts, according to two new studies.
Under the Equal Access to Justice Act, or EAJA — which was signed into law by President Carter in 1980 to help the little guy stand up to federal agencies — litigants with modest means who successfully show government agencies wronged them can get their legal fees back from the taxpayer.
(Link contributed today by California reader, BH)
Commentary: Alaska's economy is almost completely based on oil, yet many of Alaska's leaders continue to demonize and criticize Alaska's most reliable and bountiful investors in order to build public support for keeping oil taxes among the highest in the free world. Keeping oil taxes high benefits liberal constituencies -- environmental extremists and public works labor unions -- for different reasons. It also benefits many constituencies via a vast wealth redistribution "Capital Projects Budget", which lures many private sector voters into the enticing web of the 'entitlement state'. But high taxes also make oil less competitive on the world market. As Richard Peterson's Op-Ed piece below points out, Alaska should be paying more attention to the shifting paradigms of world markets. Meanwhile, private environmental organizations are working hand in glove with the environmental activists embedded in the Obama administration to stop oil and mining activity wherever possible and delay projects. Congressman Doc Hastings' (NGP Photo) statement this morning mostly refers to anti oil federal policy, as does Virginia Governor McDonnell's Wall Street Journal Op-Ed piece last week, noting that, "Virginia is not alone in playing witness to the president's apparent disdain for domestic oil and natural gas production. The administration's perpetual slow-walk approach is especially noticeable in the Gulf of Mexico and off Alaska's coast."
|Groups like CEA are vigilant over all types of federal overreaching actions. Here, CEA urges Interior to not list the Dunes Sagebrush Lizard as 'endangered'. Texans are encountering with this possible designation the same threats to economic survival Alaskans face with federal critical habitat listings for the polar bear, steller sea lion and beluga whale, all of whose populations are actually increasing. -dh|
Honest, hardworking Alaskans and their private institutions could be forced out of Alaska's economy -- if these state and federal policies don't change. Without a vibrant private sector, Alaska could once again -- and soon -- become a ward of the Federal government and its industries vulnerable to nationalization. We believe that is precisely what some special interests want. -dh
Richard Peterson (NGP Photo)
(Commenting on Alaskanomics Reference Below)
A blog posting by David Hackett examines the reasons behind the recent high prices of North Sea Brent Crude oil relative to West Texas Intermediate Crude (WTI), noting that these two crudes historically traded at close to the same price. The huge increase in oil production from North Dakota has disrupted traditional oil transportation and supply patterns - there is no efficient way to transport oil south of Oklahoma to the refineries on the Gulf coast. ... Hackett predicts that the Canadian producers will work hard to move their oil to the West Coast, potentially displacing Alaska's crude.
For some time we have asked, “why is Alaska North Slope (ANS) crude oil selling for such a high price”. This article from Northrim Bank lays it out and while Alaskans have been basking in the $40/bbl premium soon Canadian producers will break out and reach the West Coast. We have been aware of a proposal to rail Canadian crude to Delta to ship in TAPS to Valdez. It doesn’t make economic sense unless you look at the differential. At $40/bbl even $20/bbl you can do strange things. We are aware of Bakken producers railing crude to the East and West Coasts. One just ordered 1200 new tank cars and will soon be flooding the West Coast with much cheaper oil. When Keystone is built part of the log jam will break. Another Canadian oil line will be expanded to Vancouver and the Puget Sound pipeline connecting it to Washington State refiners will also be expanded dumping hundreds of thousands of barrels per day into this market. When you realize that soon BP will be the only Washington State refiner with crude oil on the North Slope you can easily see why this will happen.
Canada Is World's Biggest Oil Loser With Price Spread - Bloomberg
The price difference “highlights the importance and potentially the value of pipelines in Canada that move our oil on an east-west axis,” said Jim Prentice (NGP Photo), ...
Feds: Pipeline companies must keep safety records - Valley News Live - The federal government says energy companies must keep up-to-date records to prove they are running the nation's aging pipelines at safe pressures, a move that comes in response to a deadly natural gas blast that... Energy companies will need to keep ...
American Energy Alliance Headlines and Comment:
Let’s review. Voters trespassing on a Senator’s land for a moment to take a picture? Very Bad. Senator stealing someone’s private property rights through legislation (think ethanol) costing the economy billions of dollars? Completely acceptable. I have no clue why the revolution has not yet consumed us Politico (5/7/12) reports: “[They] had their pictures taken in front of a sign that said, ‘Dick Lugar, tree farmer of the year, 2003,’” Lugar said during a stop at an assisted living facility, speaking from notes to recount the episode to reporters. “Then they had the audacity to put this on their Twitter accounts and Twitter it out … so that everybody would know that these people had trespassed our farm.”…Lugar said his farm fence was “damaged — not badly — but nevertheless [they] came over the fence to get our signs and deliberately put up these signs out on the farm.”
Sing with us — Stayin' alive. Stayin' alive. Ah, ha, ha, ha, Stayin' alive Bloomberg (5/8/12) reports: Energy Conversion Devices Inc. (ENERQ), a U.S. solar manufacturer that filed for bankruptcy protection in February, will fire 300 employees because it didn’t receive any acceptable bids for an auction of its United Solar Ovonic LLC unit…The cuts will start immediately and the company will retain a smaller staff to manage the bankruptcy process, Auburn Hills, Michigan-based Energy Conversion said today in a statement.
So it turns out that the Chairman may have lied to Congress. I wonder what Chairman/Senator/Whatever Boxer is going to say about this Politico Pro (5/7/12) reports: House Republicans are questioning whether NRC Chairman Gregory Jaczko lied to Congress last year when he said he was unaware of instances in which he was accused of bullying the agency’s staff…Despite claiming to be unaware of the alleged episodes, Jaczko apologized to three female staff members after two tense congressional hearings in December, House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) and other lawmakers said in a letter to the NRC chief on Monday.
Fighting Bob Bradley lays it out – the Emperor has no clothes. The sight is not pretty Forbes (5/7/12) reports: But that’s simply not the case. The bulk of the tax benefits afforded to oil and natural gas manufacturers are deductions on certain business operations — precisely the kind of “breaks” that are available to other America’s manufacturers, covering such things as equipment depreciation, salaries for rig operators, and exploration expenses…And don’t forget the federal government already takes 18 cents per gallon of gasoline sold. State and local governments tack on an average 30 cents. Together, that’s between 10 and 15 percent of the pump price. Repealing the oil industry’s tax “breaks” would just aggravate high prices a little more.
King Bolo wanders all the way out into the desert to flip the switch on 50 megawatts of installed capacity (about 1/10 the capacity of a single modest-sized coal power plant), but still can’t find the time to increase production of oil and gas on federal lands Mercury News (5/7/12) reports: The first commercial solar array approved and built on federal public land began producing electricity Monday from a sun-baked site in the Mojave Desert south of Las Vegas near the Nevada-California state line…Before flipping the switch on the Enbridge Silver State North Solar Project, U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar hailed it as "a landmark for America, a landmark for the solar industry and a landmark for how we use public lands."…"This is the first of these projects to connect to the grid," Salazar said in the first of several appearances planned Monday and Tuesday in southern Nevada and Utah.
Lost in all of the self-congratulatory persiflage is that TSA groping American citizens had absolutely nothing to do with this. In short, the regulatory state (in its most invasive incarnation) had nothing to do with actual results Politico (5/7/12) reports: The CIA thwarted a plot by Al Qaeda’s Yemenese affiliate to destroy a U.S.-bound plane using an underwear bomb, according to The Associated Press…Sources tell the wire agency that the plot involved a more sophisticated version of the underwear bomb that failed to explode on a jetliner over Detroit on Christmas Day 2009.
CBC.ca | Airplay | Trans Canada told to amend pipeline plans
Accessibility Links. Skip to main content; Skip to CBC accessibility page ... Where does that leave the long-awaited Alaska Highway gas pipeline? Kurt Gibson (NGP Photo) is ...
Petroleum News Alaska by Wesley Loy. Normally Alaska North Slope crude oil flows one way — south, toward refineries on the West Coast. In recent weeks, however, something odd has happened. Tankers have returned to the terminal at Valdez still partially laden with Alaska oil. Usually, the tankers come back empty.
Inter Pipeline Fund reports strong first quarter on increased volumes
By Dina O'Meara, Calgary Herald May 4, 2012 An increase in oil volumes, both conventional and bitumen, lifted Inter Pipeline Fund net income by almost a quarter during the first quarter, the transportation and processing fund said Thursday.
See all stories on this topic »
Economist, protesters block coal trains in BC
(Ben Hadaway/CBC) "The window of opportunity for avoiding a high risk of runaway, ... "Private interests — coal, rail, oil, pipeline companies and the rest ...
Energy Headlines From CEA's Rebecca Brown.
|Alaska's Attorney General challenges EPA's authority to mandate regional rules when the Clean Water Act gives authority for national regulation. This linked letter signals yet another states' rights issue developing between local and federal jurisdictions. The outcome could affect virtually every type of natural resource development - particularly mining, oil and gas - for years to come. -dh|
Fuel Fix, by G. Allen Brooks, Managing director of PPHB LP. Regulation has come to the offshore service industry, yet virtually all of the visitors and exhibiting companies at the OTC remain unware of this dramatic change to their industry. Like fog quietly rolling in, so too came the expansion of federal regulatory jurisdiction to the offshore service industry. Just a year ago, in a speech at OTC, Michael Bromwich (NGP Photo), then director of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement set forth a plan to extend federal regulation to all service companies operating offshore.
Enbridge asks court to overturn NB gas regulations - CBC.ca - (CBC) In the court documents, Enbridge claims changes to the way natural gas rates are set will stifle growth of the province's pipeline network and ...
Personal note of welcome. to our Texas friends! With our next email alert we will welcome several hundred new subscribers, mostly owners and executives associated with the thriving Texas Oil and Gas Industry. Last Wednesday, your author had the pleasure of addressing the annual meeting of the Texas Alliance of Energy Producers in Wichita Falls, thanks to a thoughtful invitation from TAEP President, Alex Mills (NGP Photo-L). Today, in response to several requests, we reluctantly provide the notes we used in preparing for that presentation, here. We say, 'reluctantly', because the speech crept into several emotional and personal spaces that we don't normally discuss publicly. But we willingly provide the information since so many seemed so genuinely interested in helping to communicate our message. So, welcome, Texas energy producers; may your service to the Nation be better respected as citizens begin to better understand the critical role you play in the lives of all Americans. You are now in the friendly company of thousands of fellow readers throughout the Lower 48, Alaska, Canada, Mexico and around the world! -dh (Times Record Photo). (Note: 573 attended our breakfast presentation while 1,247 were present for John Hofmeister's noon speech. Over 2,200 attended Texas' best BBQ gathering!)
Fuel Fix, by David Holt (NGP Photo). Last week, we learned about plans for a new set of regulations covering natural gas production from hydraulic fracturing. And this week, the Interior Department has said that those forthcoming rules are still being defined and it’s unclear when they will be released. If it sounds familiar, that’s because it is. The U.S. oil and gas industry, [...] More
Large-diameter gas pipeline project to shift focus to tidewater LNG (From Elizabeth Bluemink, Alaska Department of Natural Resources for the Alaska Gas Pipeline Project Office)
Brookings Institution, U.S. Department of Energy cite promise of Alaska gas projects
n a letter signed Wednesday, May 2, Natural Resources Commissioner Dan Sullivan and Revenue Commissioner Bryan Butcher approved a Project Plan Amendment (PPA) for TransCanada Alaska under the Alaska Gasline Inducement Act (AGIA). The commissioners agreed to allow TransCanada Alaska, the State’s AGIA Licensee, to shift its focus to a large-diameter line that will run from Alaska’s North Slope to tidewater in Alaska for in-state use, liquefaction and export.
On March 30, TransCanada, ExxonMobil, ConocoPhillips, and BP announced that they will work together on commercializing North Slope gas, focusing on large-scale liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports from Southcentral Alaska as an alternative to a pipeline through Alberta, Canada. The parties all agreed to do this work within an AGIA framework.
“A key benefit of the PPA is that it enables all parties – the North Slope producers, the State and the AGIA Licensee – to come together for the first time to work on commercializing North Slope gas,” said Kurt Gibson, director of the Alaska Gas Pipeline Project Office, which oversees work by TransCanada Alaska on the Alaska Pipeline Project.
As described in the Commissioners’ letter, the PPA lays out an orderly transition phase for TransCanada Alaska to shift its work on the Alberta project, focused on Lower 48 markets, to an LNG project focused on markets abroad. Furthermore, it describes the State’s significant, near-term expectations for TransCanada and the North Slope producers in keeping with Governor Parnell’s timetable for work on an LNG project, as laid out in his January State of the State Address.
The PPA calls for TransCanada Alaska to complete its initial work on an LNG project by September of this year and conduct a comprehensive market solicitation by year’s end to all potential market participants, including but not limited to North Slope producers, explorers, LNG terminal developers, and entities seeking to import Alaska gas into Asian and other markets. In early 2013, the state expects TransCanada to provide an updated, more comprehensive PPA request that will reflect the details of the LNG project and its associated timeline. This PPA will also need approval by departments of Natural Resources and Revenue.
To accommodate the transition to an LNG project, the Commissioners have agreed to defer the filing of a certificate application for an Alberta line to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission from October 2012 to October 2014. Approximately half of the work done by TransCanada Alaska so far on the Alberta option – including engineering and environmental studies – is applicable to an in-state LNG line. Some of the Alberta work will continue under the current PPA, either as dual use for an LNG project or to preserve work on the Alberta option for potential transfer to the State under terms of the license. This PPA will prevent unnecessary spending on the Alberta option while the LNG project is being developed.
The Commissioners’ letter, posted at http://gasline.alaska.gov, authorizes TransCanada Alaska to perform its share of the LNG work as part of its AGIA license. The license requires the project to be developed in a manner that maximizes in-state benefits while facilitating large-scale export. In return for following these requirements, the license entitles TransCanada Alaska to reimbursements for its work on a gas pipeline and related midstream facilities. The license does not authorize reimbursement for work by the producers on other aspects of the LNG project, such as an export terminal or upstream mitigation work that may be necessary in advance of a major gas sale. TransCanada Alaska’s license was authorized by the Alaska State Legislature in 2008.
In related developments that also occurred Wednesday, the Brookings Institution released findings from its year-long study on U.S. LNG exports and the Department of Energy announced a successful field trial of methane hydrate production on the North Slope. The Brookings study noted the strong competitive position of a potential, large-scale Alaska LNG project to Asia in comparison with other global LNG projects. According to Department of Energy Secretary Steven Chu, methane hydrates could “potentially yield significant new supplies of natural gas.” The Brookings Institution’s report can be read at www.brookings.edu. The Department of Energy announcement can be read at http://energy.gov. (See related Sean Cockerham story, ADN)
The Alaska Miners Association President said this week that Deantha Crockett (NGP Photo) will take the reins as executive director. Jim Fueg said that Crockett will be replacing Fred Parady who recently resigned. Crockett formerly served as the lead staff person dealing with mining and tourism issues at the Resource Development Council for Alaska.
Announcing RDC's 37th Annual Meeting Luncheon: "Developing Hydrocarbons in an Anti-hydrocarbon Age: Risks & Opportunities"
John Hofmeister (NGP Photo), Founder and Chief Executive, Citizens for Affordable Energy, Former President, Shell Oil Company
Thursday, June 21, 2012, Dena'ina Convention Center, Anchorage - Doors open at 11:15, program begins at Noon. http://www.akrdc.org/
Canada Natural Gas Rises as Heat in US May Pares Supply Gains
US spot gas gains for second day, Hub jumps 9 pct