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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.

 

7-10-14 Respecting The Duty To Consult

10 July 2014 8:49am

See the LNG Project's Public Meeting Schedule here.  News Miner Story: Gasline Advisory Board         

See Senator Cathy Giessel's 5-year OCS Lease Sale Comment Letter, here. Here is how our readers can comment.

Respecting both "Due Process" and the “Duty to Consult"

by

Dave Harbour

Canada's "Duty to Consult" (1,2) and America's similar concept are not and should not be just legal requirements for natural resource companies.  Consultation is a basic principle of good communications, responsible corporate citizenship, or, at the least, enlightened self interest.

Bill Gallagher

We have known and respected the work of Bill Gallagher (NGP Photo) for over 20 years.  

A serious, fair minded man, he was one of the first counselors to begin publicly speaking about the importance of Canadian project managers communicating in good faith with local stakeholders.

Of his book (NGP Photo with our Alaskan Anaktuvuk Masks), “Resource Rulers: Fortune and Folly on Canada’s Road to Resources”, Bill says his is, "the definitive book tracking the rise of Native empowerment and their remarkable legal winning streak in the Canadian resource sector. Understanding the Native interconnections, eco-activist linkages, and government responses is essential for planning successful resource strategies."     

Readers may order his book from Amazon.   -dh

To consult, cooperate and communicate with the public in general and stakeholders specifically, is a responsibility to shareholders and the obligation of a responsible project manager -- as we have discovered in both Alaska and Canada.

In short, project consultation with all relevant parties is as important to the success of an investor's project as good design, engineering and construction.

Corporate managers who fail to embrace this reality will be more likely to take superbly engineered project blueprints to their graves than to ribbon cutting ceremonies.

On the flip side, stakeholders who take advantage of project managers through intimidation or by making unreasonable demands can, likewise, kill projects that would otherwise sustain local, regional and even national economies and families.

Thus, an effective process of consultation can only work well in an honestly regulated environment where the government and all parties respect due process and the rule of law is faithfully upheld.

We would add this opinion.  

Good project managers should always consult with local stakeholders.  The relatively little time and money spent in demonstrating friendship, open communication and good corporate citizenship ultimately saves shareholder dollars and minimizes dispute.

However, when the common sense requirement of good communication becomes a legal "duty" (i.e. applied differently in the US and Canada) complete with years of court precedent, two phenomenon may begin to occur.  First, investors can become tempted to invest minimally in good communication and for the primary purpose of meeting the letter of the law.  Second, distant stakeholders, like environmental and social activists may attempt to use the legal "duty" of consultation as a tool to delay or block projects for political, fundraising or other reasons.

In Alaska's case, the Pebble Partnership mining project has provided jobs and economic support to local communities while investors develop a mining plan upon which it can base future permit applications.  Though the project did not labor under a "duty to consult" law exactly like Canada's, it did recognize that surviving a challenging permit process would require local stakeholders to be both knowledgeable about and beneficiaries of the project.  The project's public outreach program has been exceptionally executed.

The permit process to follow, would then allow public comment on each phase of the project as it pursued the permitting requirements.  A final decision on the permit applicant's project would be based on an objective review by regulators of the record of evidence collected from filings and testimony.  That decision, in turn, can be administratively appealed or appealed through the court system.  This is known as "due process", a key provision of America's 'Rule of Law', memorialized in the 5th and 14th Amendments of the US Constitution.

The Pebble mining project would occur on Alaska state lands leased to the partnership.  But after one lodge owner began spending millions of dollars to oppose the project -- in concert with environmental activists and some local residents -- the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) stepped in and is now in process of attempting to preemptively block the project.  No application exists, nor does a record of decision based on an application; and, the potential applicant holding valid Alaska state leases is denied an opportunity to appeal a decision on an actual application based on a record.

The EPA rational is based on grounds that the project could cause environmental harms that it imagines will occur even before the project has filed for a permit and been allowed its constitutional right of due process.

But if the EPA can preemptively strike down a mining project without allowing it due process, no highway, oil and gas, municipal utility, agricultural, transportation or commercial fishing project is safe from a preemptive, arbitrary and/or capricious government shutdown.

Yes, we strongly support local stakeholder consultation by project investors.  We also caution our fellow citizens that to properly balance opposing viewpoints, an impartial government regulator is essential.  

If citizens either in Canada or the United States perceive that regulatory authorities do not base decisions on an objective legal record achieved through due process, the rule of law itself is jeopardized.

When the rule of law disappears, civilization devolves into a chaotic state wherein "Might Makes Right", as the Romans found in the 5th Century and as Germany taught the world in the 1930s through WWII.

We hope that alert citizens throughout North America will choose to support good communication and win-win outcomes between natural resource wealth producers and local citizens.

But we acknowledge that this will not be possible without courts of law, legislative bodies, presidents and prime ministers who are able to overcome political temptations and consistently support the rule of law -- and the due process upon which it depends -- to produce just and reasonable decisions.

In that way, perhaps we can pass down to our children a society that rests on solid, ethical standards demonstrating that, indeed, "Right Makes Might". 

Predecessors, like Abraham Lincoln (NGP Photo), passed that legacy to our our later generation when he said in the great Cooper Union Address, "Let us have faith that right makes might, and in that faith, let us, to the end, dare to do our duty as we understand it."

If we and our leaders properly discharge our Constitutional obligations as we understand them, perhaps our children will look back and say of our generation that, "They protected for us, the great legacy of the rule of law, wherein doing the 'right' thing makes a country 'mighty'."

Yes the duty to consult with one another is both right and good business.  But even more important is the duty to maintain a nation and society of well observed laws and the protection of due process.


 

Thanks to BP's Julie Hasquet, we hear that the Alaska LNG/Pipeline project will provide community project briefings next week (i.e. very timely with respect to our commentary today.)

We encourage our NGP readers to attend one of these community meetings to learn more about the Alaska Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) project.

In Anchorage 

When: 

6-8 p.m., Tuesday, July 15
(Presentation begins at 6:30 p.m.)

Where: 

William A. Egan Civic & Convention Center
Lower Level - Summit Hall
555 W. 5th Avenue 

In Fairbanks 

When: 

6-8 p.m., Thursday, July 17
(Presentation begins at 6:30 p.m.)

Where: 

Wedgewood Resort - Gazebo Room
1212 Wedgewood Drive 

The Alaska LNG team will provide a project overview and share information about current studies.   It will be an opportunity to both hear about and comment on the project.

Happily, sponsors will provide refreshments.

 

 

Here is Senator Cathy Giessel's (NGP Photo) 5-year Lease Sale Comment Letter.  Senator Cathy Giessel, Alaska, BOEM OCS Lease Sale Schedule, Photo by Dave Harbour

We encourage all of our readers -- throughout the country -- to comment as well by the July 31 deadline!  Here's how.

In her letter of July 8, 2014, Senator Giessel wrote:

Ms. Kelly Hammerle

Five Year Program Manager

BOEM (HM–3120)

381 Elden Street

Herndon, Virginia 20170

Dear Ms. Hammerle:

Alaska is fortunate to be an important contributing part of our nation’s leading role in global oil and natural gas production.  Our nation has the opportunity to continue to be an energy leader if the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) adds currently unavailable offshore areas, such as Alaska, the Atlantic, and the Gulf of Mexico to the upcoming 2017-2022 Five Year Plan.

These additions would further boost our nation’s economic and energy security as well as create much needed tax revenue.   Alaska has experienced the continued benefit of increased jobs and revenue from oil and natural gas development, and I believe that every state with these natural resources should have the opportunity to benefit from the same economic gain.  Equally important, as part of the United States of America, other states should be contributing to our nation’s economic and energy growth and not remain stymied by policy barriers.    

I am a strong supporter of protecting our environment; Alaska, with its refined application and permitting process, is an example that oil and natural gas can be developed in a way that protects both people and its ecosystems.  Therefore, I am confident that energy companies and other states will utilize the same best practices, standards, and regulations that are in place to safely develop offshore oil and natural gas resources.

I applaud our Congressmen for passing a bi-partisan bill, the “Lowering Gasoline Prices to Fuel an America That Works Act” to support offshore oil and natural gas development and support whatever means are available to move this economic opportunity forward. 

I would appreciate your consideration and urge BOEM to include currently unavailable offshore areas, such as Alaska, the Atlantic, and the Gulf of Mexico in the upcoming 2017-2022 Five Year Plan.  We must continue to generate jobs and revenue to rejuvenate our nation’s economy and decrease our reliance on foreign energy sources.

 

Sincerely,

Senator Cathy Giessel

Categories:

7-9-14

09 July 2014 7:13am

Globe & Mail by Jeffery Jones.  A big supporter of oil sands industry expansion, as well as export pipelines such as Keystone XL, Jeff Immelt said he wants to share his company’s environmental technology as a way to win over critics concerned about the climate impact of the oil sands.


Respecting the "Duty to Consult"

by

Dave Harbour

Canada's "Duty to Consult" (1,2) is not and should not be just a legal requirement for natural resource companies -- it is a basic principle of good communications, responsible corporate citizenship, or, at the least, enlightened self interest.

To consult, cooperate and communicate with the public in general and stakeholders specifically, is both a responsibility to shareholders and the public obligation of a responsible project manager -- as we have discovered in both Alaska and Canada.

In short, project consultation with all relevant parties is as important to the success of a project as good design, engineering and construction.

Corporate managers who fail to embrace this reality will be more likely to take superbly engineered project blueprints to their graves than to ribbon cutting ceremonies.

Stakeholders who take advantage of project managers through intimidation or when making unreasonable demands can, likewise, kill projects that would otherwise sustain local economies and families.

Thus, an effective process of consultation can only work well in an honestly regulated environment where the government and all parties respect due process and the rule of law is, accordingly, upheld.

(Continued tomorrow: July 10, 2014)

Categories:

7-8-14 Fairbanks is 'gearing up' for a 'deluge of affordable, clean-burning natural gas'.

08 July 2014 7:35am

1350+ Peer-Reviewed Papers Supporting Skeptic Arguments Against ACC/AGW Alarmism


Fairbanks News Miner by Matt Buxton.  Utilities, state agencies and local leaders are gearing up for what they say will be a great deluge of affordable, clean-burning natural gas into the Fairbanks area.  Crews are busily installing service lines, utilities are boasting of grand plans for expansion, there are town halls on the subject and local politicians are patting themselves on the back.

Categories:

7-7-14 Feds Not Credited For Energy Surge (EIA)

07 July 2014 1:23pm

 

Comment by Robert Dillon (NGP Photo), Senator Lisa Murkowski's Senate Energy Committee Staff  

Robert Dillon, US Senate Energy Committee, Photo by Dave HarbourWe’ve known for some time that the majority of new oil and natural gas production in the United States was occurring on private and state lands.

Fairbanks News Miner by Jim Dodson.

Develop Alaska’s human resources. Increase its standard of living. Diversify its economy. Strengthen free competition in its private sector economy.

Here at Fairbanks Economic Development, we are in favor of “Vote No on 1.” Our reasons are simple: we believe the description of “maximum benefit,” and the aim of Alaska’s government in resource development, were correct.

We believe that a dynamic, thriving private sector, full of good, high-paying private sector jobs for Alaskans, is the best, most sustainable road to maximum benefit for Alaskans and the state.

 
There is a reason that the North Slope Contractors Association and the North Slope Pipeline Unions joined with Sen. Lisa Murkowski recently ....       (More here)

Now new data from the Energy Information Administration (EIA) shows that federal lands are producing less and less of the energy the nation depends on every day.

According to the EIA, fossil fuel production from federal lands has been declining every year since 2010.

Coal production on federal lands has been falling since 2008.

Production of natural gas from federal areas has been declining since 2007, and represented just over 15 percent of the nation’s total gas production in 2013, down from 35 percent a decade before.

While oil production in 2013 was up slightly from the previous year, it’s still way below 2010-2011 levels.

Reference: Rigzone, Federal Lands Contributing Less to Total US Energy Picture.

Categories:

7-5-14 Alaska Gasline Agreement Signed

06 July 2014 8:05pm

Governor's Website – Citing significant progress on an Alaska gasline that gets Alaska’s gas to Alaskans and markets beyond, Governor Sean Parnell welcomed news that a formal commercial agreement has been signed between the Alaska Gasline Development Corporation (AGDC), BP, ExxonMobil, ConocoPhillips, and TransCanada to advance the Alaska LNG Project.

“Environmental and pipeline engineering fieldwork has officially begun,” Governor Parnell said. “I am pleased all parties continue to make progress on building an Alaska gasline project that will create thousands of Alaska jobs and fuel Alaska homes and businesses. This milestone marks the historic progress we have made on a gasline. Our way forward will continue to be on Alaska’s terms and in Alaskans’ interests.”

The Alaska LNG Project has fully entered the Pre-Front End Engineering and Design (Pre-FEED) phase – a milestone no previous Alaska gasline project has achieved. During the Pre-FEED phase, the producer parties will spend hundreds of millions of dollars on design and engineering of the project. In the coming weeks, the project will begin to work to secure an export license with the Department of Energy and continue permitting work with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Each producer party, in addition to the state, will begin to engage the LNG sales market during this phase.

Categories:

7-4-14 Happy Independence Day! Pay It Forward!

04 July 2014 7:58am

I PLEDGE ALLEGIANCE TO THE 
FLAG,
OF THE UNITED 
STATES OF AMERICA ,
AND TO THE REPUBLIC, FOR 
WHICH IT STANDS,
 
ONE 
NATION UNDER GOD
,
 
INDIVISIBLE, 
WITH LIBERTY
AND JUSTICE FOR ALL! 

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