Gas pipeline megaproject's fate hangs in the balance of still-undecided Alaska governor race
Sean Parnell (R). Walker is ahead by a mere 3,000 votes out of 224,541 ballots cast. If Walker is elected governor, some oil industry supporters warn ...
CBC. The National Energy Board’s impartiality when it comes to making decisions on megaprojects, such as TransCanada Corp.’s Energy East pipeline project, is being questioned by an author. (Comment: We'll have more to say about this in the next few days. dh)
Brief Post-election Comment: We believe our opinion piece yesterday regarding the struggle between socialism and constitutionalism remains valid.
In Alaska there is a twist.
Voters chose to have an all-Republican Congressional Delegation. This helps create a Republican led Congress that has the potential but not the guarantee of reversing much if not all of the effort to 'fundamentally transform America' into a socialized society.
But on the Alaska scene the tension between socialists (Democrats) and constitutionalists (many but not all Republicans) continues.
The Republican governor is in danger of being replaced by a Republican-turned-Democrat. If this happens, Alaska will have a populist governor who accrued votes from dedicated Democrat voters, rural voters and others. The 'others' consisted in part of conservatives who believed in -- or dismissed -- the anti-oil company rhetoric (See video above). Then, there were the other initiatives that legalized marijuana, supported environmental activist blocking of natural resource projects and increased the minimum wage.
The successful initiatives will contribute to the socializing of Alaska and create new disincentives for investment in mining and oil and gas projects.
There is a chance that a large number of uncounted absentee ballots could help Republican Governor Sean Parnell (NGP Photo-R) overcome Democrat challenger Bill Walker's (NGP Photo-L) current one percent lead.
Post election 'Highs' include election of Dan Sullivan (NGP Photo) to the U.S. Senate and many Republicans to the state legislature. The 'Lows' include the possibility of a left-leaning governor and the certainty of voter initiatives that challenge investment, economic prosperity and traditional morality.
Election Day USA: Socialism vs. The U.S. Constitution
Yes, it is that simple and that obvious!
Today, November 4, 2014, is Election Day USA. The way we see it, a voter has three choices:
HOW WE VOTED AND WHY
For the reasons articulated herein, we voted early and we voted a straight Republican ticket. We believe the handwriting is on the wall: the country will fall if its path toward socialist dictatorship remains unchanged.
The Democrat party is the carrier of socialist principles designed to accumulate power at the expense of freedom.
If Americans value their way of life, they must forcefully reject and then reverse the dangerous array of values created over the last several decades by politicians of both parties, but primarily the Democrats. (Note: we were disgusted by President Bush's failure to enforce immigration law and close a porous border, by his failure to veto uncontrolled spending and by his lack of support for opening ANWR when he had the chance -- all being Democrat objectives.)
There is no more time. This election will be critical. The Senate could continue to block the proper, legislative process and refuse to consider House bills, refuse to properly debate the national budget, refuse to curtail the administration's overreaching jurisdiction. The Senate could ratify bad treaties and socialist appointments to the Judiciary.
The person elected president in two years will determine whether the Constitutional principles developed and defended by the blood of our founders and so many following generations will sustain a formerly great nation that -- for some unfathomable reason -- seems drawn toward debating the value of its heritage.
Democrats elected locally become national leaders later. They are able to socialize education policy. They support local tax increases, regulatory controls and the growth of local and state governments.
In Alaska's case, a Republican-turned-Democrat Governor could have a chilling effect on investment in Alaska's future and usher in an irrational and damaging fervor of provincialism / nationalism.
So what will be the result of this election today?
We explore exactly that question in this commentary.
Read on, if you will....
- one can vote for Republican candidates the majority of whom -- but not all -- we now believe to be Constitutionalists. Or,
- one can vote for 3rd party candidates. Note that conservative independent and Libertarian candidates generally support Democrat campaigns indirectly by taking votes from Republicans. Equally ironically, liberal independent candidates lend indirect support to Republican campaigns. These ironies arise when an independent's ego tells him/her, "I can win in spite of the odds." But few will, other than the Bernie Sanders of the world who actually admit to being socialists and who will, naturally, vote with the Democrats (i.e. whose views are nearly identical) anyway.
The conclusion of our commentary, we believe, is factual and not political. Our conclusion is, since:
- we love and have defended the values represented by America's Constitution; and, since
- that Constitution is based on the rule of law, the broadest array of freedoms and divine guidance from a loving God; and, since
- as Thanksgiving approaches we recognize our traditional, American values have both prospered and protected the country since its founding; we, therefore,
- believe that departing from those values will lead to the destruction of America's way of life and the absence of hope and prosperity for her newest and coming generations of children.
Question: What does this all have to do with this webpage, with natural resource industries and -- more specifically -- energy and gas pipelines? Why should oil companies, mining firms, farmers, commercial fishermen, oil and gas pipeline advocates care?
Answer: Socialism, like communism, requires dictatorial control of the means of production, of human endeavor and freedom. Communists and socialists obtain control by force or by seducing the majority of voters to support a regime that takes from the few and redistributes to that majority, under auspices of a dictatorial government.
American socialism materialized from voter preference (i.e. or ignorance) but is, more and more, being cultivated by force. But however socialism gained a toehold here, it eschews freedom to maintain control and has already done much damage to erode America's rule of law. It has intimidated citizens from exercising their former freedoms and gradually evaporated those constitutional freedoms.
We provide many examples herein but recall a few, here, including:
Case in point:
CBC. The price tag for the controversial Keystone XL pipeline has risen by half to $8 billion US, TransCanada Corp. said Tuesday as the U.S. regulatory process drags into its seventh year.
"Approving new, state-of-the-art infrastructure must be a top administration priority in order for our Nation to remain competitive. Transportation bottlenecks rob us all of both safety and efficiency, and should not be tolerated.
"Opposition to KXL simply undermines our national security, threatens our environment, decreases safety, and burdens us all with higher prices."
More and more autocratic use of the Executive Order (i.e. nearly identical to dictatorial fiat) to accrue power; and, reluctance of the other two branches to rein in Executive powers.
- Illegal use of the IRS to intimidate and eliminate political opposition.
- Unconstitutional and precedent-setting use of the EPA to pre-preemptively stop a development project on state lands before that project presents a development plan or applies for state and federal permits.
- Establishing laws by judicial precedent via the unconscionable use of 'sue and settle' wink-wink understandings between environmental and social activist plaintiffs and agency defendants recruited from and/or aligned with those constituencies.
- Aggressive use by multiple agencies of the ESA (Endangered Species Act), CWA (Clean Water Act) and CAA (Clean Air Act) to stop or stall, rather than honestly regulate, free enterprises in energy, mining and other industries.
- Subverting the will and role of Congress by creating a fiat "Ocean Policy Task Force" and subsequent programs without authorized funding -- by "relocating" (i.e. embezzling) Congressionally authorized funds reserved for other purposes.
- Not enforcing existing laws of immigration and those protecting voters at the polls from intimidation and vote fraud.
- Attacking border states attempting to defend their sovereign territory against illegal immigration that puts burdens on social services, threatens life and limb of citizens and introduces disease and chaos into American society.
- Giving to Muslim terrorist enemies the due process rights accorded to American citizens under the Constitution.
Almost without exception, the Democrat controlled U.S. Senate has supported or acquiesced to the Administration's socializing of America and dismantling of Constitutional guarantees (i.e. and enforcement thereof) known as the 'rule of law'. As bad, the socialist controlled Senate has failed to even consider the majority of bills passed by the House and presented to the Senate for consideration.
Dear readers: this commentary is not intended to influence votes at this late date. In any case, our readers are among the most knowledgeable and sophisticated anywhere -- and, we believe -- are immune to being influenced.
This commentary is written at this hour to make the point that these are not the good old days. Some of us coming of age in Alaska during the 70s worked with Republicans and Democrats.
Some of the Democrats 40 years ago may have been very liberal, early socialists (Note: back then, we called them the ad hoc Democrats, to distinguish them from their older, more conservative Democrat colleagues like Senator Bob Ziegler, Senator Bettye Fahrenkamp, Representatives Bette Cato, Joyce Munson, Pappy Moss and others.)
Some Democrats/socialists may wistfully call themselves "conservative" today though we don't hear the term used much now, come to think of it. Almost without exception, the socialists vote as a block now under Democrat leadership.
In general, the socialist Democrats oppose natural resource development; support higher taxes on others; strive to redistribute tax money to their constituencies; demonize free enterprise; subsidize uneconomic and 'alternate' industries and social programs that support them; oppose proper enforcement of immigration and voter laws, etc.; value free cell phones for constituents over balancing budgets or winning wars to protect American security; advocate much higher utility and general energy bills for consumers in the name of 'human caused global warming'; generally oppose America's Christian heritage while protecting secular, anti-Christian values and activity; refuse to control government growth while ignoring the public debt burden that irresponsible spending forces on their children's generation.
Therefore, make no mistake. When this day is over and the votes are counted here's what we can expect:
- A majority of Democrat and liberal Republicans would escalate America's departure from constitutional principles making domestic natural resource wealth creation more difficult. Nationalization, as Venezuela and Argentina have shown, is the next step which strengthens the rulers at the expense of the consumers and free enterprise.
- A majority of Republicans could reverse much of what the current national administration has wrought in 6 years. However, since some of that majority is liberal one cannot expect the same degree of vigor mobilized to dismantle socialized government as that employed to create it.
- Therefore, one could be safe in giving odds in favor of a continuing and debilitating national debt, erosion of the rule of law and a dangerously weak national defense. Sadly, this reality could survive today's election no matter who has the majority; the difference might well be "a matter of degree not of kind".
- But "hope does spring eternal". Since it does, we continue to hold out hope for a sliver of a chance that a Republican leadership could reverse the attack on America's constitutional government and its unique guarantees. One holds out hope for leaders that will be so courageous, so charismatic, so brilliant, so determined that all of the internal attacks on America's way of life can be repealed and our freedoms reinstated.
AltaGas Plans Expansion: Good Omen For Alaska Gas Commercialization Or More Competition?
At an investor day webcast from Toronto, executives said AltaGas plans to expand its utility and power operations but most of the growth will be in its ability to handle and export western Canadian natural gas from prolific shale plays in northeastern B.C. and northwestern Alberta.
“This natural gas boom in terms of volume and price will dramatically change the energy market around the world and we’re already seeing that,” said AltaGas chairman and chief executive David Cornhill at the event.
Today's Relevant Consumer Energy Alliance Energy Clips:
The Energy Voice: Federal Gov’t Must Move Forward with Arctic Exploration
Last week, the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management issued a Draft Supplemental Environmental Statement (SEIS) for Chukchi Offshore Oil & Gas Lease Sale 193, north of Alaska. The new draft, which will be open for public comment through, re-evaluates the potential environmental impact of oil & gas development in the resource-abundant waters north of Alaska.
BuildKXLNow.org: If Only Keystone Were on the Ballot in November…
If Keystone XL were on the ballot this Election Day the Associated Press would call the race before hearing from even the slowest counting county.
The Globe and Mail: Marathon’s pipeline reversal would reduce need for Keystone XL
Marathon Petroleum Corp. is considering a potential reversal of a major U.S. pipeline that could dramatically boost exports of Alberta’s heavy oil to the Louisiana Gulf Coast, as the energy industry moves beyond the long-delayed Keystone XL pipeline project.
International Business Times: Alberta Premier: Canadian Oil Sands Crude Will Reach US Gulf Coast With Or Without Keystone XL Pipeline
Canadian oil companies don’t need the Keystone XL pipeline to get crude to U.S. Gulf Coast refineries, says the head of Canada’s largest oil-producing province. Developers in Canada’s oil sands region can take a handful of alternative routes if President Barack Obama rejects the Texas-bound project, Alberta Premier Jim Prentice told Bloomberg News.
Edmond Sun: Senate stumbles again on Keystone XL
Yet again, policymakers have undermined America’s energy renaissance. The Obama administration just announced that it will continue to delay its decision on the Keystone pipeline until after the mid-term elections. The pipeline would connect Canadian oil sources to American refineries and create thousands of new American jobs in the process.
USA Today: GOP power shift unlikely to alter economy's path
A GOP takeover of Congress next year would still mean a divided government and is unlikely to have a significant impact on an economy that's gaining momentum, economists say.
Forbes: Energy Compromises With A Republican Senate
The idea that Republicans would be more to compromise if in power in the Senate is a legitimate one. First, being in the driver seat, they should be more interested in getting some done. Second, the power balance will be much clearer and they should feel more relaxed about letting measures move forward that give them gains, but aren’t perceived as giving in to “the enemy”.
Edmonton Journal: Lamphier: Oil sinks below $79 US per barrel as Saudis cut prices
Suddenly, the prospect of $70 US a barrel oil — or even lower — doesn’t seem completely remote. Crude oil futures plunged more than two per cent to close at just $78.78 US a barrel in New York.
Bloomberg: Halliburton CEO Expects Shale to Reverse Price Slump
“Despite what people are thinking, demand is creeping up, albeit at a lower rate than it has been,” he said. The downward pressure on prices is mostly due to an oversupply, and Lesar said that will quickly prove self-correcting, especially when it comes to U.S. shale production.
Oil & Gas Journal: New well-productivity data provide US shale potential insights
The US has 13 shale plays with major oil and gas resources. Two of them-Bakken and Eagle Ford-account for about 75% of the country's shale oil output. Four plays-Barnett, Fayetteville, Haynesville, and Marcellus-make up 83% of shale gas output, according to the US Enerrgy Information Administration (EIA).
New York Times: U.S. Oil Prices Fall Below $80 a Barrel
The benchmark American oil price fell below the symbolic $80-a-barrel threshold , swooning to two-year lows, after Saudi Arabia aimed to shore up its dwindling exports to the United States by cutting its selling price for the American market.
Fuel Fix: Moody’s: Refineries face flat demand, new competition
The U.S. shale boom unleashed vast supplies of crude that pushed North American refineries to full throttle, but flat global demand and a surge of new refinery expansions in the Middle East could put the squeeze on their profits.
Associated Press: Low oil prices send chills through oil patch
Marcus Jundt moved to Williston from Minnesota almost four years ago and has opened four restaurants there since. Food isn't propelling his business, though. It's oil.
Wall Street Journal: Quinn Stalls Drilling in Illinois
The boom in shale drilling has led to jobs and income gains in North Dakota, Texas, Ohio and Pennsylvania. Illinois could be another gusher, but not if Governor Pat Quinn keeps interfering.
Bloomberg: HF questions go before state voters
Forty-five years after the blowout of an oil rig off Santa Barbara, California, helped galvanize environmentalists, the bucolic bit of Pacific Coast is again at the center of a battle with the oil industry. A measure before Santa Barbara County voters would bar oil companies from using hydraulic fracturing and other high-intensity methods to tap hard-to-get reserves. Similar measures, backed by groups worried about the environmental toll, are on ballots in Denton as well as in California's Mendocino and San Benito counties.
Wall Street Journal: Texas, an Unlikely Battleground Over HF
In Denton, a fast-growing city of about 123,000 people that sits on top of the Barnett Shale, the battle isn’t over global warming and energy independence. Instead, voters are wrestling with the very practical inconveniences of having natural-gas drilling sites nearby: noise, fumes, truck traffic, accidents, health concerns and anxiety over property values. Both sides say the vote could be close.
The Hill: Oil, gas industries fight local anti-shale measures
Hydraulic fracturing is on some local ballots in California and Texas, and the oil and gas industries are fighting against the potential restrictions.
KSBY: Anti-shale initiative Measure P in the polls
On November 4, the Lompoc homeowner and other Santa Barbara County residents will go to the polls to vote on one of the most hotly contested ballot measures: Measure P, the ban on hydraulic fracturing and other onshore oil extraction techniques such as cyclic steaming and acidizing.
Scientific American: Shale Threatens to Crack Politics
The city of Boulder wants to block fracking in the Rocky Mountain state. The liberal enclave has banned the combination of directional drilling and cracking subterranean rock with high-pressure fluids known as fracking within its city limits.
Bismarck Tribune: Low oil prices send chills through oil patch
That oil has averaged $96 a barrel over the past four years, fueling more drilling, more hiring, and bigger appetites in North Dakota, Texas, Oklahoma and elsewhere. Now oil has hit a rough patch, plunging to $79 from $107 in June on fears of a global glut. Many expect these lower prices are to stick around for a while. Lower oil prices, while good for the broader U.S. economy, are a threat to what has been a surprising and dramatic surge in oil production in the U.S., and to drilling communities that have come to depend on oil money.
Associated Press: Mineral rights, royalties flow to PA charities, universities
Some universities and charities don't need a gas well in their backyards to be enriched by the Marcellus shale frenzy. Contributions of mineral rights and royalty checks are flowing in from landowners who are sitting on fortunes because of the gas boom.
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Rising gas production should ease storage deficit
Erica Bowman, vice president of research and policy analysis for Washington, D.C., trade group America’s Natural Gas Alliance, noted that natural gas production, largely from U.S. shale plays, is about 4 percent higher than last year. “Add that to the storage level, actually we have more combined gas available than last year,” Ms. Bowman said.
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Acid mine drainage: Could it be used for shale?
From the road, it looks like any other waste water treatment plant tucked into a remote hillside in southeastern Butler County. But a closer look reveals it’s bringing in not sewage but bright-orange groundwater from an abandoned coal mine nearby. With fracking as an impetus, it could be the next step in solving one of the state’s biggest contamination problems.
Tribune-Review: Upper Burrell residents take sides on drilling
Upper Burrell residents told supervisors they're worried how the board might change the township's regulations regarding where Marcellus shale natural gas drilling can occur.
Oil Price: Ohio governor promises more taxes
With U.S. midterm elections just days away, one Republican state governor is coasting to re-election despite promising to aggressively push for higher taxes on the oil and gas industry.
Columbus Business First: HF on ballot in 4 Ohio cities
Four Ohio cities are looking to votes to help them clamp down on fracking. Athens, Gates Mills, Kent and Youngstown make up half of the U.S. communities petitioning voters with proposals to ban oil and gas drilling within their borders. That number is the highest ever, Inside Climate News reports.
Houston Business Journal: Five things you need to know in Texas energy this week
The oil and gas world has its eyes on Denton this week as the city's residents vote to decide whether to ban hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, in the area. The success or failure of the vote, which has attracted nearly $1 million in campaigns and advertisements, could determine whether other Texas cities consider similar fracking bans.
The Rural Blog: Texas, Ohio towns, California counties to vote on fracking bans during election
Voters in five towns in Texas and Ohio and three counties in California will have the opportunity to voice their support or opposition to hydraulic fracturing during elections, reports Zahra Hirji for InsideClimate News. Fracking initiatives are on the ballot in Denton, Texas; in Ohio in Athens, Gates Mills, Kent and Youngstown; and in California counties Santa Barbara, San Benito and Mendocino.
WFAA: If adopted, Denton fracking ban would face legal tests
Denton Mayor Chris Watts says that if his city adopts a fracking ban , it won't be the end of the story, but the beginning.
Texas Public Radio: Falling Oil Prices Make HF Less Lucrative
Oil prices are down than more than 25 percent since June and are staying low for now. Drivers may appreciate that, but for oil companies, it's making some of the most controversial methods of producing oil less profitable — and in a few cases, unprofitable.
Journal Star Op-ed by Michael Whatley (NGP Photo). Last month, the federal government released yet another report showing what many of us have known for a long time: the Keystone XL pipeline, which will deliver crude oil from oil fields in Montana, the Dakotas and Canada to refineries in Texas, will be a safe and necessary addition to America's energy infrastructure and its more than 70,000 miles of existing pipelines. As the U.S. Department of State noted in its final Environmental Impact Statement, the pipeline would "have a degree of safety greater than any typically constructed domestic oil pipeline system under current regulations."
ADN by Dermot Cole. Independent gubernatorial candidate Bill Walker argues that high salaries at the Alaska Gasline Development Corp. deserve a closer look by the state.
In his last debate with Gov. Sean Parnell before the election, Walker said one person at AGDC has a salary and benefit package totaling $600,000 a year.
“We have people making that kind of money, my goodness, that would be low-hanging fruit for me,” Walker said.
Walker did not mention any names, but he was referring to Dan Fauske (NGP Photo), the former head of the Alaska Housing Finance Corp., who is now in charge of the state gas pipeline efforts.
Walker based his assertion on a state budget document from late last year that listed Fauske’s total salary and benefits package at $576,000. But those numbers are inaccurate, according to the AGDC.
Fauske’s salary is $366,000 and his health and pension benefits total $150,000 for a combined total of $516,000 per year, the AGDC says. At that level, he was the highest-paid state employee in 2013, followed by UA President Pat Gamble (NGP Photo) at $330,000.
A budget document for the next fiscal year lists a proposed salary for Fauske of $384,000, a five percent increase, but whether any increase would be provided is up to the board of the AGDC. More....
BOEM Releases Revised Analysis
for Chukchi Sea Oil and Gas Lease Sale 193
BOEM will hold 7 public hearings, accept public comments Nov. 7 - Dec. 22
ANCHORAGE, Alaska - In response to a federal court order, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) Friday released the Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) for Chukchi Sea Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Lease Sale 193. BOEM prepared the draft SEIS using the best available science, and working in close consultation with Alaska Native tribes, federal partner agencies, state and local governments, stakeholders and the public. Read more