House Supports States Rights; National Ocean Policy Council Urges Fund Cutoff for White House Overreach; Commonwealth North Reviews Oil Tax Competitiveness
Today, Senator Lesil McGuire (NGP Photo) discussed the Competitiveness Review Board component of SB21, the oil tax reform bill passed in the last legislative session.
Commonwealth North's (CWN) Aaron Weddle sent a notice stating that McGuire championed this piece of the bill. He said that during her presentation to a CWN committee today, she will describe the need for the board, what the board’s role and composition will be, and how similar boards have been effective in other governments.
According to the CWN notice, the Competitiveness Review Board is designed to study and evaluate the state’s tax policy in the context of a global marketplace and make recommendations to the Legislature.
Over 70 commercial and recreational groups today submitted a letter to the 36 members of the Joint Conference Committee that were recently appointed by the U.S. House and U.S. Senate to reconcile differences between the two chambers’ versions of water resources infrastructure legislation. The letter supports maintaining language in the House bill that would prohibit any programs and actions authorized under the legislation from being used to further implementation of the Coastal and Marine Spatial Planning and Ecosystem-Based Management components of the National Ocean Policy Executive Order.
Comment: One of the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission (IOGCC) positions over the years is to protect states' rights to regulate their own production activities. When it comes to the long and safely state regulated hydraulic fracturing technologies, the individual IOGCC members have assured the protection of the public interest. This week, we have from Chairman Doc Hastings' (NGP Photo) House Committee on Natural Resources this report: "On Wednesday, the House of Representatives approved H.R. 2728, the Protecting States' Rights to Promote American Energy Security Act. This bipartisan bill, sponsored by Rep. Bill Flores (R-TX) and Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-TX), would protect American jobs and American energy production by limiting the Obama Administration's ability to impose duplicative regulations on hydraulic fracturing on federal lands." We continue to support the IOGCC's longstanding defense of states' rights against the aggressive overreach of the federal bureaucracy; further, we comment IOGCC member agencies for effective regulation of energy production within their individual borders. -dh
ADN by Sean Cockerham. Last year the hacker group Anonymous broke into computer systems of oil companies including Shell, Exxon Mobil and BP as a protest against Arctic drilling. The next month , a different set of hackers infected the computers of Saudi Arabia’s national oil company with a damaging virus that knocked 30,000 workstations offline.
The Calgary Sun (11/16/13) reports: “The protest was held as world leaders in Poland for the United Nations Climate Change Conference discuss plans for international co-operation on the issue. Protestors in Calgary said the Harper government is refusing to take meaningful action when it comes to climate change. Originally about 300 people were slated to participate in the Calgary protest, but due to a snow storm only about 50 showed up.”
News Miner. An Alaska official said Monday the state is looking at taking a multibillion-dollar equity stake in a major natural gas pipeline project as a way to protect its interests and help make the long-hoped-for project a reality. Natural Resources Commissioner Joe Balash said Gov. Sean Parnell's administration views a potential equity stake of 20 percent to 30 percent favorably. But he said any level of participation would depend on legislative buy-in and the terms the companies pursuing the project are willing to accept.
The Resource Development Council for Alaska's 34th Annual (two day) Conference begins tomorrow in the Dena'ina Civic & Convention Center in Anchorage. Here is the agenda, which includes on the first day Senate Energy Committee Chairman Ron Wyden (NGP Photo) and Ranking Minority Member, Senator Lisa Murkowski (NGP Photo).
Calgary Herald by Amanda Stephenson (Read and Learn, Alaska).
A new Fraser Institute report suggests Alberta is the third most attractive jurisdiction in the world for oil and gas investment, but that could change if crucial pipeline proposals aren’t approved soon.
Of the 864 industry executives who responded to the think tank’s 2013 Global Petroleum Survey, 62 per cent said their assessment of Western Canada as an investment venue would deteriorate if pipeline bottlenecks continue to constrain movement of oil to Eastern Canada, export markets overseas, and U.S. refiners.
“Despite an abundance of resources, Alberta is only now regaining industry’s trust and recovering from what many saw as an unexpected royalty grab by the province in 2010,” said Kenneth Green, the Fraser Institute’s senior director of natural resources studies.
ADN by Lisa Demer. The state of Alaska is considering investing billions of public dollars in a natural gas pipeline venture in the hopes that will make the long-sought mega-project happen. A state-commissioned study released Monday suggests direct state investment -- an ownership share -- as a way to improve the economic footing of a liquefied natural gas project that could cost more than $60 billion. The $424,000, 188-page study was by a team that included Black & Veatch, an employee-owned consulting and engineering firm based in Overland Park, Kan., and Daniel Johnston & Co. Inc., a New Hampshire-based oil consultant.
Petroleum News. The Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission has awarded its Chairman’s Stewardship Award to Apache Alaska Corp. for the company’s nodal seismic survey program in the Cook Inlet basin. On Nov. 5 the commission announced Apache as the winner in the small independent category of the award. The award recognizes achievements in environmental stewardship by the oil and gas industry. “We are immensely proud of this award because it formally recognizes what Apache Alaska practices every day — an unwavering commitment to protect the environments in which we operate,” said John Hendrix (NGP Photo), general manager of Apache’s Alaska operations.
Calgary Herald by Stephen Ewart. B.C. will announce an export tax for its emerging LNG industry later this month and the National Energy Board is to decide on Enbridge’s Northern Gateway pipeline from Alberta to the B.C. coast by the end of 2013. There is also an NEB decision on the reversal of Enbridge’s Line 9 early in 2014 and reviews from the Quebec and Ontario governments on Line 9 and TransCanada’s Energy East oil pipeline to New Brunswick.
A decision on TransCanada’s Keystone XL pipeline from the oilsands to the U.S. is presumably coming in the first half of 2014.
Every one of those decisions will impact industry.
The Washington Times (11/18/13) reports: “It was a safe bet that President Obama wouldn’t talk about his floundering Obamacare program in his weekly address Saturday, and he didn’t. Instead, Mr. Obama devoted his weekly broadcast to energy, which he called “one area where we’ve made great progress.’ ‘After years of talk about reducing our dependence on foreign oil, we are actually poised to control our own energy future,’ Mr. Obama said, praising his administration’s decision to spend more money on new technologies’. The president hailed the news that the U.S. in October produced more oil domestically than it imported from foreign sources for the first time since 1995. ‘That’s a big deal. That’s a tremendous step towards American energy independence,’ he said.”
|Bloomberg (11/15/13) reports: “Philadelphia has 119 fire hydrants that cost about $2,000 each waiting in a warehouse to be installed, yet they sit high and dry because federal regulators say their fittings might taint drinking water with lead. The City of Brotherly Love and communities across the U.S. face the specter of hundreds of millions of dollars in useless hydrants after a surprise ruling last month by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that requires fireplugs put in after Jan. 4 meet stricter standards for lead content, said Tom Curtis of the American Water Works Association in Denver. That means cities must scrap or retrofit inventory or buy hydrants and parts that some vendors aren’t even making yet….’This delivers a huge cost and probably no health protection,’ said Curtis, the water group’s deputy executive director. ‘It needs to be rethought.’”|
|The Washington Examiner (11/15/13) reports: “Environmental Protection Agency officials are using reproduction fees to delay or avoid releasing documents under the Freedom of Information Act, two conservative think tanks said in a complaint filed with the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. The Free Market Environmental Law Clinic and the Energy and Environment Legal Institute requested communications related to a proposed Northwest coal export terminal in July. The EPA denied fee waivers for the request, even though both groups are supposed to be granted waivers as nonprofits disseminating information for public benefit.”|
|The Washington Free Beacon (11/15/13) reports: “A group of ‘climate change experts’ that discovered a 507-year-old clam that was the world’s oldest known creature killed it in the process of determining its age. The scientists, determined to count the rings on the inside of the clam’s shell, killed the creature instantly when they opened it up. The Bangor University scientists who murdered the creature also got its age wrong when they published their initial findings, reports the Mirror...Other innocent victims of environmentalism include the more than 600,000 bats and eight federally protected golden eagles killed by wind turbines in 2012, as well as the baby tortoise and kit fox populations threatened by federally financed solar projects.”|
The Hill (11/15/13) reports: “The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is cutting the amount of ethanol and other biofuels that must be blended into the nation’s fuel supply, a victory for oil companies that call the federal ethanol mandate unworkable. On Friday, the EPA proposed draft 2014 blending volumes under the federal Renewable Fuel Standard that are lower than the 2013 requirements, and far less than called for in a 2007 law that expanded the mandate. The EPA is proposing to require 15.21 billion gallons in 2014, down from 16.55 billion gallons in 2013, marking the first time the agency has lowered the target from the prior year. A senior administration official said the Obama administration is firmly supportive of biofuels, but said ‘market, infrastructure and other constraints’ warrant paring back the mandate.”
ThinkProgress (11/13/13) reports: “A group of top U.S. climate scientists have sent a letter to California Gov. Jerry Brown urging him to issue a moratorium on fracking in his state. Twenty scientists — including James Hansen, former head of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies and vocal advocate of taking action on climate change, and Michael Mann, professor of meteorology at Penn State University — signed the letter. The Center for Biological Diversity, a nonprofit group that organized the letter, delivered it to Gov. Brown’s office Wednesday morning.”
ADN by Paul Jenkins. Of all the hogwash hustled by charlatans working to repeal oil tax fixes needed for Alaska's healthy fiscal future, perhaps the most egregious is the claim that reform is a "giveaway" to the evil oil industry -- anywhere from $2 billion to $8 billion, depending on the fibber. The Legislature this year passed Senate Bill 21 to spur slumping North Slope oil production and generate new tax revenue for Alaska, which relies on that money to make ends meet. About 90 cents of every dollar the state spends comes from that revenue. (Scroll down for editorial)