Open Letter To Honorable Sally Jewell, Secretary Of Interior On Occasion Of Her Visit To Alaska
We keep hoping that the current Administration's agency appointees will place loyalty to the one appointing them secondary to the public interest and fidelity to the Constitution.
|Secretary Jewell: We especially commend for your reading the wise counsel Alaska North Slope Borough Mayor Charlotte Brower has offered to you and the Administration. Here is her February 10, 2015 Op-Ed piece in the Alaska Dispatch News. Here is a speech she gave during your Alaska tour -- just yesterday -- to the Alaska Federation of Natives that directly addresses you and your administration. -dh|
So far, we've been disappointed. Agencies have operated in lockstep with the Obama Administration's political agenda rather than what they should know to be the honest, logical, right thing to do on behalf of the national interest. (We would hope that DOI could learn to honestly respond to the public interest without having to be continually chastened by our representatives in the Congress.)
In these pages, we have carefully documented flagrant examples of federal overreach, violations of the rule of law and due process. We have illustrated the Administration's application of 'death by a thousand cuts'. We have analyzed the cumulative effect of the debilitating volume and number of federal regulations and anti-development rulings. We have shown how an insidious cabal has worked together against the public interest and witnessed political coordination between your Department and special interest parties.
Many of not most of these anti-public interest violations have occurred within the agencies and offices of the Department of Interior, but the pattern runs rampant in most if not all of the Departments and even 'independent agencies'.
Above, we have linked you to examples. Please go to the Pacific Legal Foundation's webpage to learn of other federal abuses of power. Free enterprises throughout America are suffering from an unrestrained imposition of federal power that decreases private sector productivity and freedoms while increasing proliferation of bureaucratic personnel and rules.
Below is an email we received from a pioneer Alaskan whose fortune and investment was wiped out by your Department. It is only one of many examples, as we have shown. Were you to express a little sympathy for Wally McGregor's plight at the hands of your predecessors, it wouldn't compensate him for his financial losses, but it might give him hope that perhaps help is on the way and that, perhaps, he has not also completely lost his faith in Constitutional protections.
We commend this and countless other Alaskan case histories and counsel to your consideration, not the least of which is Mayor Charlotte Brower's (Photo with publisher Dave Harbour) Op-ed piece that we covered yesterday. Please also read her speech, given yesterday, to the Alaska Federation of Natives-Kotzebue Retreat; it is directly related to your Department.
We wish for you to experience a safe and informative trip.
Below is Wally's email to a Northern Gas Pipelines reader and his painstakingly prepared case history of, "The Orange Hill Story".
Dave Harbour, Publisher, Northern Gas Pipelines
Email from Wally McGregor copied to Northern Gas Pipelines:
I have been on the front line of the opposition to the WAR ON PRIVATE PROPERTY since the passage of ANILCA in 1980 when our Orange Hill property, a “World Class Copper Deposit” was enclosed in the Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and the right to mine denied thereafter, as were your properties.
Over the course of the past 35 years, the National Park Service has refused to compensate for the Taking and has gone so far as to terminate a mineral appraisal, after the geologic data was disclosed to the appraiser.
As you are also aware, fighting for a Constitutional Right is enormously expensive in terms of both time and money, in my case, to no avail. To me, the Constitutional Fifth Amendment is nothing more than a piece of paper. The protection of private property rights is disregarded with impunity by the federal bureaucracy.
The attached copy of “AN UNAMBIGUOUS TAKING, THE ORANGE HILL STORY describes the ruthlessness and deviousness of the National Park management in its dealing with inholders on the issue of a private property rights.
Clearly, the disregard for private property rights is not confined to the National Park Service which imposes an enormous threat to the State of Alaska that is dependent upon its natural resources. Unless the threat is addressed and forthrightly dealt with there will be no incentive to invest in Alaska.
To me and my wife during our days of prospecting and exploration in the 60s and 70s, Alaska was ‘The Land Of Tomorrow’ The encroachment of the federal government has dimmed that concept of Alaska’s future.
Alaska Federation of Natives-Kotzebue Retreat
Remarks of NSB Mayor Charlotte E. Brower
Tuesday, February 17, 2015- 8:30 AM
Uvlaalluataq, [Acknowledge people in attendance]. It’s wonderful to be here in beautiful Kotzebue so close to where I was born and raised in Selawik. Quyanaqpak for privilege to speak to you this morning.
This past week the North Slope Borough was honored to host Kivgiq 2015. Thousands of our friends and neighbors from across Alaska, Canada and elsewhere gathered in Barrow to celebrate the messenger feast. Our theme was “kiikaa atautchikunsavaqatigiiksa- let us keep doing more together.” In many ways, this theme is reflective of the mission of AFN and I think it was especially befitting given the challenges that face Alaska Native people today.
Over the past month those of you that have been engaged in following the news have witnessed a firestorm of controversy surrounding recent decisions by the Obama Administration and the Department of the Interior relating to wilderness designations in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Outer Continental Shelf oil and gas leasing areas, and development within the National Petroleum Reserve- Alaska. Those of us on the North Slope have been especially sensitive to these decisions as they have a direct impact on our people, economy and way of life. Accordingly, we have made our feelings known through press releases, opinion editorials, and other means.
But just as troubling to me as the consequences of these federal actions, are the rifts that are created between Alaska Native people who may be on different sides of the issues. We have witnessed many instances in which regions, communities and even families have been divided. And more than just being counter-productive, these divisions pose a direct threat to our people’s wellbeing.
One of the root causes of these conflicts is the strong influence that outside groups exert on Alaska Native people to further their agendas. As one example, we have witnessed numerous instances where eNGOs have entered our villages and have sought out disaffected community or tribal members who may share their ideologies and then use these same people to file lawsuits that serve their purposes. If that isn’t sufficient, these environmentalists may offer our people free trips to Washington, D.C. or other places where they can be used as props to parrot talking points and be held up to the media or the outside world in general as “Native leaders.” This is often done to undercut the messages of those of us who are actual leaders of our communities or to muddy the waters as to what are the actual thoughts and feelings of the majority of Native peoples on the issues that impact us.
Sometimes it’s our federal government that is contributing to the problem. We saw a manifestation of this during the EIS process for a proposed development project in the NPR-A, which is located near one of our villages. Despite the fact that the borough, the regional corporation, the village corporation, and the local municipal government all advocated for an alternative that they believed was the most environmentally responsible, the BLM chose its own preferred alternative which they attributed to the consultations they had with the local tribal organization. This created conflict in the impacted community and frustration for all of the entities that felt that their input was being ignored. Ultimately, BLM reversed itself and selected the alternative that the majority of our people supported. But the wounds still remain.
And there are times when we may contribute to this problem when we do not foster open lines of communication amongst our own organizations or between our neighbors and fellow Alaska Natives throughout the state. So the question may be asked- what can we do to avoid these types of divisions among us? I believe looking to our past can provide the answers for our futures.
The Inupiat have eked out an existence in some of the most inhospitable places on the Earth since the beginning of time. Our people’s survival rested on mutual cooperation and working together to overcome whatever challenges that Mother Nature could throw our way. As a testament to this legacy, our elders passed down to each generation a set of core values that were essential for our people’s survival- values that are still relevant to us today like respect for others, cooperation, and avoidance of conflict, just to name a few.
Those of us on the North Slope have recognized that our moments of greatest strength have come during the times when we stand unified as a people. We learned this lesson when we had to fight for our rights to the land that we have lived on since time immemorial during the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act negotiations or when we had to fight the federal government and the environmentalists for the right to conduct our subsistence hunts of the bowhead whale. We also know that given the challenges and obstacles that face us today, it is important for us to continue in this tradition of unity.
As a result, we held a series of meetings that included the leadership of the municipalities, Native corporations, and tribes, on the local and regional level, to discuss how we can better stand together and speak to important issues with one voice. The decision was made to form a non-profit organization called Voice of the Arctic Inupiat, or what we like to call the Inupiat Non Governmental Organization-iNGO. Our hope is that Voice of the Arctic Inupiat can provide a forum for the leadership of our local and regional tri-lateral groups to get together and discuss the issues that are impacting our communities and to come to consensus on the views that we express to the outside world. This will make it more difficult for the environmentalists, the government, or any other outside groups to divide our people and communities or to misrepresent the will of the Inupiat people on the North Slope.
On a larger scale, we hope that the Alaska Federation of Natives will work to foster dialogue between regions and Alaska Natives from across the state to make it more difficult for outside groups to cause divisions among us and to continue to promote mutual respect between people and regions so that we do not allow our own self-interests or ideologies to cause harm to others. All of us will be more effective in advocating for our own people if we stand united as one.
We would also like to challenge our federal government to rethink its concept of consultation- especially considering the unique attributes of Alaska. Alaska Native people are represented not just by tribal organizations, but also by municipal governments, and Native Corporations. Each one of these entities have unique and important perspectives on what is important for the tribal members, citizens, or shareholders that they represent. And while the legally-mandated government-to-government consultations between our federal government and tribes are important, communication and consultation with our municipal governments and Native Corporations are equally important for federal decision- makers to glean a true perspective of the needs of our people. We have seen far too many instances where the federal government has favored one group over another and this is why so many of us continue to complain about the federal government’s lack of consultation. Meaningful federal consultation must include all three entities and equal consideration must be afforded to each in order to truly understand the needs of the Alaska Native community.
A potential model for this type of consultation could be based off of the concept of the NPR-A Working Group, which was created by Secretary Salazar in the 2012 NPR-A EIS & IAP. The Working Group is comprised of representatives from municipal governments, tribes, and Native corporations and is supposed to serve as a forum for the BLM and local people to work together on land management issues that involve the NPR-A. While we still haven’t seen support for this group from the federal government materialize like we had hoped, we feel very strongly that this could be a powerful and effective tool to ensure more meaningful local input and better federal decision-making.
Without this kind of meaningful consultation, the types of federal actions we have seen of late where our potential for economic benefit is being limited will continue to viewed as paternalistic edicts from an aloof government far detached from the realities of our daily existence. And as a consequence, our self-sufficiency and quest for self-determination will be replaced by a complete dependence on the government.
Our federal government should also know that we notice it when eNGOs issue press releases touting federal actions minutes later, or in the case of the Record of Decision for the GMT-1 SEIS last week, sometimes even hours before the federal government publicly announces its own decisions. This type of collusion between our government and special interest groups does not give us confidence in the federal process and we take it as an insult when greenie groups know more about what the federal government is planning for our lands than we do. Even if we may disagree over an outcome, we deserve the respect of being consulted and informed before we read someone else’s press release.
But notwithstanding the challenges we face, we stand committed to our theme of “kiikaa atautchikunsavaqatigiiksa- let us keep doing more together”. By remembering the values of our past and by working with each other instead of against each other, we hope to create a legacy that we will be proud to pass down to our children and grandchildren. That is the essence of who we are as Alaska Native people. Quyanaqpak, Taikuu for the opportunity to speak to you!
|Personal: We join our Fairbanks friends in lamenting the passing of our dear friend, Bob Bettisworth. -dh|
As Interior Secretary Sally Jewell arrives in Alaska, North Slope Borough Mayor Charlotte Brower (NGP Photo) writes that ANWR, "...wilderness proponents ... completely ignore the plight of my people, the Iñupiat."
What Would You Do If You Were President?
On Sunday, Fox News interviewed one of the wisest combat leaders of the modern era, Lieutenant General Thomas McInerney, USAF-Retired (NGP Photo), co-author of Endgame: The Blueprint for Victory in the War on Terror.
In addition to his extensive combat service, McInerney served as commanding general of the Alaska Command and coordinated military efforts in support of the Exxon Valdez clean up activity. He and his tough combat team also kept a close eye and air interception assets trained on Russian bombers, continually testing Alaskan air space defenses.*
At conclusion of the Fox interview, He was asked what he would do in the face of ISIS aggression in the Middle East. With a steady, focused gaze on the interviewer, he delivered a brief, powerful and logical response. If McInerney’s words had come from the mouth of a president, all Americans would have cheered and felt a renewed sense of national pride in strong, reliable and wise presidential leadership.
Without detouring into a war policy discussion, we would paraphrase from the McInerney interview a question from the viewpoint of our energy audience: If you were president, how would you enable the U.S. to become energy independent? So we decided to have some fun today and perhaps render a national service at the same time.**
We will give our response below, then ask our U.S. readers (and Canadian or other foreign readers) for suggestions, additions and corrections, sent to this address.
Here we go:
“If I were president, I would enable the U.S. to become energy independent in these ways:”
- "I would approve the Keystone XL pipeline before going to bed tonight, based on earlier, plentiful recommendations of the Department of State; the 40 thousand jobs it will produce; the hundreds of millions of dollars it will provide to local, state and federal governments; the improved national defense capabilities created by greater energy and economic independence; and the benefits that will flow to our largest trading partner, Canada."
- "I would approve oil and gas exploration and development on a small sliver of land within the 19 million acre Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. That sliver is roughly the size of Dulles Airport within a land mass the size of the state of North Carolina – which itself is a small part of the entire state of Alaska. That land sliver has already been designated by Congress for oil and gas potential. I would approve it for mostly winter work when the migratory wildlife are not in the area."
- "I would open the entire National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska to energy leasing subject to our customary stringent rules. I would not keep half of it locked up – and the other half choked with irresponsible regulatory barriers -- as the Obama administration has done."
- "I would ask of Alaska's Governor, 'We know the Trans Alaska Pipeline System (TAPS) is now running at almost 3/4 empty. What can the Federal government do with its federal assets to keep TAPS operating sustainably, since for my administration this energy umbilical cord attaches the United States to the huge, future oil potential of the Arctic?'"
- "Since 3/4 of America's coastline surrounds Alaska, a state 20% the size of the entire nation and over twice as large as Texas, I would give Alaska's governor -- and Congressional Delegation -- an open invitation to suggest federal policies that improve Alaska's economy while protecting the environment and strengthening the entire nation."
- "I would massively restrict the size of many regulatory agencies, including the EPA, which has become a monster devouring the wealth of America without much to show for it -- except a ballooning bureaucracy and economic devastation wherever it rolls. I would tell the EPA it cannot preemptively disapprove projects, in violation of the rule of law. I would order the agency to lay off Hydraulic Fracturing and leave its regulation to the states, which have safely regulated it for decades."
- "I would immediately nullify Obama's overreaching and unlawful executive orders. The famous ones deal with exceptions to the Affordable Care Act and providing massive citizen benefits to illegal alien non-citizens, but also include illegal, non-Congressionally approved natural resource blocking proposals, like the Ocean Policy executive order."
- "I would work with Congress to eliminate the possibility of opaque 'sue and settle' litigation, which impoverishes the country one lawsuit at a time. I would coordinate with Congress other judicial branch reforms that would remove any financial incentives for filing frivolous environmental lawsuits that would delay or block jobs and reasonable economic development.”
- "I would form an American Energy Independence Presidential Task Force, to include a special sub-committee on Alaskan Arctic Energy and Military policies." The purpose of the Task Force would be:
- to provide the President and Congress with detailed suggestions on how America may develop a rational, long term, sustainable energy policy based upon energy self-sufficiency and support of the nation's defense.
- to assure that energy and military policy recommendations included defending and advocating for proper jurisdictional control of Arctic sea, sea bottom and trade routes.
- to complete its work within six months,
"I would ask Congress to support the resulting FINAL, sustainable energy policy of which I approve. ”
- “I would replace the White House Council on Environmental Quality with a new White House Council on Economic and Environmental Policy. Under my direct supervision, the Council will provide a steady stream of recommendations about how to reorganize Executive Branch agencies to best accommodate any FINAL, sustainable energy policy recommended by the American Energy Independence Presidential Task Force. In addition, an important role of the Council will be to review any new agency order, regulatory or statutory proposal that would affect the FINAL, sustainable energy policy adopted by the White House. Following review, the Council will make a recommendation to the President for further action. These sorts of action will include agency efforts to declare critical habitats or endangered species regulations under the ESA and similar exercises of agency powers under the CWA and CAA.”
- “I would ask the oil, gas and wind energy industries to nominate on- and off-shore areas for leasing and based on that input, as evaluated by the new White House Council on Economic and Environmental Policy, order expedited changes to the Department of Interior’s leasing programs.”
- "I would get rid of the crude oil export ban and do everything possible to arrange for U.S. energy exports to European nations dependent upon Russian energy imports."
- "I will tell our friends in the Middle East, especially the Saudis, that they cannot interfere in our domestic energy policy issues, nor can they any longer provide funding to enemies of the United States unless they are willing to lose American friendship, energy trade and military support.”
- "I will redouble efforts to coordinate energy and other international policies with our Canadian, Israeli, British, Australian and other allies."
- "I will put into place a 'US Task Force for Latin American Energy, Economic and Cultural Independence', and spend significant personal time with the Secretary of State, coordinating cooperative energy, economic development, immigration and regional defense policies with the presidents of the countries in our own hemisphere."
- "America will once again speak softly but carry a big stick. We will state our position on energy and other multilateral issues. We will clearly state the result of accommodating or opposing our reasonable requests. Based on reactions, we shall respond decisively. Our negotiations with countries that have proven to be unreliable negotiating partners in the past shall not be extended. We expect results and we will act as promised. We will never draw red lines in the sand and not enforce our positions; neither will we ever leave any American citizen, federal employee or military member to the enemy's wrath without maximum effort to save that person or those persons. Every policy we undertake will be designed to be fair, reasonable, just and serious. We shall not bargain for energy industry or other hostages but will rain negative actions on those who hold, take, threaten, mistreat or kill hostages.”
For starters, that's what we'd do for energy were we president.
Oh, and we'd make sure to always keep the good counsel of competent Americans like LTG McInerney very close to us.
Unlike certain unsavory White House guests entertained by the previous administration, I would hope to have distinguished Americans like McInerney, Franklin Graham, Greta Van Susteren, Steve Forbes, Harris Faulkner, Scott Walker, Ben Carson, Alveda King, as regular visitors to the Oval Office.
(Now, Dear Reader, let's have your additions, corrections or suggestions! -dh)
*Your author had the honor of serving on LTG McInerney's Civilian Advisory Board over 2 decades ago with great friends and important figures in Alaskan history like Governor Walter J. Hickel, Publisher Bob Atwood, aviation pioneer Bill Brooks, and community leaders Sharon Anderson, Ernie Hall and Al Fleetwood.
**We would also like to ask: "What else would you do if you were President, to secure the country’s future?" The imagination rings with the President's other executive actions, EPA overreach, Fast and Furious, Federal suing of sovereign states, IRS illegal targeting, media spying, etc., but will leave that exercise to our non-energy colleagues.)
Robert Dillon of the U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources committee writes today about Interior Secretary Sally Jewell's Alaska visit.
He comments that Jewell,"is in Anchorage today preparing to host a press conference in a couple of hours on her trip to the Arctic communities of Kotzebue and Kivalina. While the secretary will undoubtedly focus her remarks on climate, I wanted to share the opinion piece below from North Slope Borough Mayor Charlotte Brower (NGP Photo). Ms. Brower, an Inupiaq Eskimo from Barrow, provides a unique counterpoint to Secretary Jewell’s efforts to lock up Alaska as if it was one big national park. Ms. Brower writes about the prosperity and economic opportunity that responsible oil production has brought to some of Alaska’s most remote communities and how this administration’s policies are endangering the future Alaskans are attempting to build for their children. -Dillon
ANWR worshippers fail to consider the Iñupiat (AK Dispatch/Opinion)
The Iñupiat Eskimo lived on Alaska’s North Slope for countless generations -- unknown to the outside world. Our culture, social structure and our survival depended on our ability to utilize the abundant resources that bless our region.
Over time, we found our lifestyle threatened when the thirst for resources drove others to our corner of globe, first for whales and later for oil.
Today, we are under assault by people who seek another resource -- wilderness. And just like those who came before them, they threaten the health of our communities, our culture and our way of life. President Obama’s announcement to seek wilderness designations throughout the entire Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, represents the latest salvo by the powerful environmental lobby to obtain their El Dorado. Read the rest of the Op-Ed here....
Charlotte Brower is mayor of the North Slope Borough.
Energy Users and Internet Users Both Experience Government Overreach And Deterioration Of The Rule of Law
(Canada is not immune)
- to the Congressionally authorized sliver of ANWR dedicated to oil and gas
- to the nation's petroleum reserve, NPR-A
- to prospective offshore areas
- to a mining project on state land before that project even filed for the first permit....and, much more
"The energy relationship shared between our two countries is bigger than a single pipeline." Jim Prentice (NGP Photo)
Canada is on the edge of an historic choice: to diversify our energy markets away from our traditional trading partner in the United States or to continue with the status quo. -Joe Oliver, Minister of Natural Resources
Congress must act to override these lawless executive actions and democrat members must decide whether they are for or against the survival of the republic.
All Members must then have the courage to decide whether to decisively undertake impeachment proceedings; the rate of loss of freedom is so rapid that waiting until the next election to change leadership, at this point, puts the nation at risk.
Our Canadian readers must know that you are headed in the same direction. While you have a strong and honorable Prime Minister today, and a strong, wealth producing energy industry, the fabric of your own free enterprise system is under attack as well.
Democracies must realize as environmental extremists, socialists, race mongers, Islamic political operatives and others have figured out: that democracies can best be defeated from within and controlled by erosion of moral values, intimidation, protests, lawsuits, redistribution promises, racial strife strategies and community organizers all focused on achieving a majority vote to elect minority special interests ... who are assuming powers over a 'fundamentally transformed' society of 21st century worker-drones.
ADN Op-Ed by John Coghill (NGP Photo-L), Chad Hutchison.
On Feb. 5, Steve Haycox (NGP Photo-R) published an opinion piece entitled, "Alaska leaders’ talk against Obama is cheap, and ignores the long-established law of the land."
Respectfully, we disagree with a few of the points made, particularly on the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (NGP Photo), chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, yesterday applauded passage by the House of legislation approving construction of the Keystone XL pipeline across the U.S.-Canada border. The House approved S.1 by a vote of 270 to 152.
New U.S. Sen. Dan Sullivan (NGP Photo) of Alaska delivers maiden speech (1/27/15): Supporting Keystone XL and "Big Dreams"and a federal government that, "ignites hope".
“Now that Congress has spoken overwhelmingly in favor of closer energy ties with Canada, it’s time for President Obama to make a decision,” Murkowski said. “To me this is a pretty simple choice between job creation and greater energy security on one hand or more of the status quo on the other. After six years of review – it’s been 2,336 days and counting since TransCanada first applied to for a permit – there’s no reason for further delay.”
The Alaska LNG Project provided draft environmental and socioeconomic reports to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), which is responsible for conducting the environmental review of the project. www.ferc.gov.
US/Canadian Pipelines And A Call For Market Freedom
Free enterprise, like water, always seeks a way out of containment in a natural quest for liberation.
In recent months, we have reported extensively on President Obama's improper (i.e. and totally rational, if one is a no growth advocate) blocking of TransCanada's Keystone XL pipeline.
|Town Hall Op-ed by David Holt (NGP Photo), President, Consumer Energy Alliance.
In less than a decade, the one-time feeble U.S. energy sector has accomplished a record-breaking 180-degree turnaround thanks to advancements in new technologies. In fact, at the current rate, the nation is likely to hit production marks not seen since the 1970s.
As such, we now live in a more energy self-sufficient nation, one that is inching closer every day to energy independence.
(We might add to Holt's commentary that the rapid growth of the U.S. toward energy independence is largely the result of exploration and production on private lands. The federal government, as we have demonstrated in these pages, has seemingly done everything possible to block oil, gas, coal and mining activity on private as well as federal lands. -dh)
That project would grant Alberta's oil sands crude oil transit into the free market and provide tens of thousands of jobs in the bargain.
In Canada, political forces in Eastern provinces are attempting to block TransCanada's Energy East project -- another way to liberate oil sands crude.
Canadian officials led by Alberta Premier Jim Prentice (NGP Photo) are putting up a valiant fight against both Canadian and American, political, pipeline roadblocks.
Alaskans are understandably interested in TransCanada's fortunes because the company is a major player in the effort to liberate Alaska North Slope gas -- in today's low oil & gas price market -- by transporting it via pipeline and LNG tankers to Asian markets.
(Meanwhile, some Alaska politicians are seeking to force -- through loans and subsidies -- a gas distribution system into existence whether the underlying feasibility is solid or squishy. But we digress....)
With all the head winds Alberta oil sands crude faces, it is still desperately seeking freedom.
Yesterday, we reminded readers of a concept we reported on two years ago: freeing Alberta crude via shipment through an Alaskan port--in absence of the most obvious transportation routes and modes.
Today, we see Northwest Territories (NWT) Premier Bob McLeod (NGP Photo) is renewing his desire to see Alberta crude head North, rather than South or West, to find freedom via Arctic transport into the world market.
All of this market chatter should convince other elected leaders (i.e. as it has convinced the more enlightened Premiers of NWT and Alberta) that if they truly wish their economies to be strong and if they wish to see jobs created -- other than legions of government employed bureaucrats and regulators that ultimately burden a country -- they should quit trying to contain, delay and over regulate the free market.
If politicians simply can't resist the attraction of manipulating the free market, let them provide incentives to enable its success -- not tons of new regulations and restrictions that limit market freedom.
If our leaders don't begin to respect the wasted resource of a dammed up market, they can expect to see the free market trying to invent more and more ways of liberating natural resources, even though the resulting project(s):
- may be less profitable,
- provide fewer jobs,
- contribute fewer national and local taxes, and
- be much delayed and possibly abandoned or left in a state of bankruptcy.
Holt Op-ed here, and below:
Even Amidst Low Oil Prices, Staying the Course Will Ultimately Benefit Consumers, Producers
2/11/2015 12:01:00 AM - David Holt
In less than a decade, the one-time feeble U.S. energy sector has accomplished a record-breaking 180-degree turnaround thanks to advancements in new technologies. In fact, at the current rate, the nation is likely to hit production marks not seen since the 1970s.
As such, we now live in a more energy self-sufficient nation, one that is inching closer every day to energy independence. While we utilize roughly 25 percent of the world’s oil on a daily basis, about 40 percent of the petroleum we consume is imported, down from 60 percent not too long ago.
Consumer Energy Alliance (CEA) has advocated for years that if the U.S. continues to develop and explore new energy opportunities in economically and environmentally friendly ways, production would not only escalate, but the economy would also strengthen, as would job growth. Most important, consumers would keep more of their hard-earned money in their pockets – and much of that has indeed unfolded.
With oil prices hovering around the $50 mark recently, gas prices have plunged, much to the delight of motorists. Lower oil prices have also been a welcome sigh of relief for other parts of the economy, because when American consumers spend less filling their tanks, they spend more elsewhere, like dining out, shopping, and going on vacations that were once on hold.
But we also know that our emergence in the shale industry has had massive geopolitical consequences. The reduction in the cost of oil is not just an American phenomenon – it’s a worldwide event. Prices are down around the globe for an assortment of reasons – reduced demand and increased supply top the list – and the U.S. fracking as played a large role in this pendulum swing, upping supply and lowering prices.
It has certainly rocked the boat at the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), which has seen its influence on the global oil marketplace weaken dramatically. For the first time in decades, the whims of the OPEC oil cartel are of little consequence to Americans. In response, OPEC, led by Saudi Arabia, decided late last year not to cut production, keeping prices low. Their thinking is this: Since shale production – which has grown to 4 million barrels a day – is more costly than regular extraction, keeping oil prices low will eventually drive out U.S. shale producers.
It’s a strategic – and expensive – attempt by the Saudis and OPEC to reclaim its market share from the U.S. Saudi Arabia is willing will have its first budget deficit since 2011 and the largest in its history. The billions the kingdom has in reserve are expected to help ease the burden of this short-term pain.
This means that the U.S., even in the face of low crude prices, must continue it years-long winning streak in the global energy sector by diversifying their energy resources and increasing, not decreasing, access to natural resources. While we also start expanding market opportunities for those resources.
Make no mistake: Numerous onshore and offshore resources remain untapped, like an estimated 27 billion barrels of oil and 132 trillion cubic feet of natural gas in the Arctic waters off Alaska. These resources, and countless more, could heat every home in America for more than 30 years. It would also generate billions in additional revenue, create jobs nationwide, and reduce costs for households across the country.
What goes down must come back up, oil prices included. While crude prices have fallen more than 50 percent since June, causing many American producers to second guess their plans to drill and explore additional resources onshore and off, the drop is temporarily, as prices are still expected to rise later this year.
When they do, we need to make sure that our energy policies and markets are still at the head of the line worldwide, just as they are today. By staying the course and continuing to promote an all of the above energy approach in the U.S., we can help to support the nation’s future economic growth, job creation, self-sufficiency, and national security.