Washington’s energy debate has been focused on President Obama’s endless opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline, but maybe that was only a warm-up. His new fossil fuel shutdown target is Alaska.
Refer also to Monday’s editorial re: A Good Father Figure
another layer of anti-development complexity courtesy of a new Arctic Executive Order….
President Obama announced Sunday that he’ll use his executive authority to designate 12…. Read More
TODAY. From Robert Dillon, Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee:
NPR Morning Edition host Renee Montagne spoke with Sen. Lisa Murkowski, (NGP Photo), this week about the impacts on Alaska of the president’s decision to designated 12 million acres of Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge as wilderness.
|Alaskanomics: Alaska’s Leaders Stand Strong Against Proposed ANWR Designation
Arctic Slope Regional Corporation: “We are staunchly opposed to this relentless and coordinated effort to designate the Coastal Plain of ANWR as Wilderness.”
White House Calls Alaska Voices “Overreaction“….
Fed plans for OCS also overreaching
Sen. Murkowski, the chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, reminded NPR listeners of the oversized role the federal government has in Alaska – where more than 60 percent of the land is under federal control – and the restrictions that can place on the state government’s ability to build a robust economy.
Murkowski also said the sharp reaction from her and the entire Alaska delegation was prompted not just by the president’s announcement on ANWR, but on the restrictions placed on energy exploration in Alaska’s arctic waters and in the National Petroleum Reserve. Sen. Murkowski called the administration’s actions “a one, two, three kick to the gut of Alaska’s economy.” Click here to listen to the interview–then scroll down to read the very similar, vindictive comments.
Latest Federal/Political Overreach Endangers Alaska’s Future and Threatens U.S. Economy
If you read the comments at the end of the NPR interview story above, you’ll understand how truly well organized the Enviro-Industrial-Governmental Cabal is in America today (i.e. Click and scroll down for many references).
We would love to see the emails that Soros/Podesta-supported websites and organizations dispatch whenever a story occurs that runs counter to the democrat/socialist party line. Virtually 100% of a landslide of comments to the NPR interview are negative and we have seen the talking points used by these ‘seminar indoctrinated blog responders’ repeated on various sites. (Reference: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5)
Either left-comment writers are mobilized to write or call in whenever the community organizers ask them to, or virtually all of NPR listeners are left-leaning and extremely activist writers. I prefer to think the latter, especially our tax money and corporate funds support NPR. But reality tells me it’s a combination of the two: a mostly left-leaning audience supported by professional community organizing communication professionals.
We often ask our private sector friends, “Why don’t you appear at more hearings, write more letters to the editor, etc.” Answer: “Hey, may, I’ve got a job.” Nevertheless, we continue to inform our readers, urging them to take the time to participate as well. If we with greater knowledge of the industry issues do not comment, the public and/or regulatory records are left with nothing but negativity toward the development that sustains our way of life.
Apparently the “job” or at least hobby of many activists is to become serial, seminar blog and letter writers.
(In fact most of the emails we at NGP receive that attack economic development are written during business hours from folks employed by universities, and local, state or federal governments.)
Having lived in Alaska for most of a lifetime, this writer has found that, if anything, Senator Murkowski’s view of the Obama Administration’s anti-Alaska efforts understates the danger to our republic.
The Administration, by its actions, has demonstrated a consistent and determined effort to defrock Alaska of its constitutional dependence upon natural resource development.
Having now accomplished that, in large part, it could only be a matter of time before private industry begins a withdrawal from Alaska. As federal executive and regulatory assaults continue, the state and municipal governments will become economically unsustainable–at least in their current form. This is because 90% of the state’s operating budget is based on transporting oil through the Trans Alaska pipeline, whose continued life is threatened by the current, federal administration. In addition, over a third of Alaska’s entire economy is based on that single, trans Alaska oil economy lifeline.
And, we should not underestimate the damage to America’s entire economy and future resulting from a loss of access to Alaska’s critical oil, gas, coal, timber and strategic metals.
Readers have questioned, “Why would the administration do these things; it is not logical.”
It is not logical from an ordinary, honest citizen’s viewpoint that just expects his elected government to conform to the rule of law and “do the right thing” for the country.
But the executive branch’s hostile actions to Alaska are logical from the viewpoint of a left-leaning political strategist whose goal is not preserving the “right”, but in amassing the “might”.
That professional, left-leaning strategist advises the administration and its leftist allies throughout the country to put up every possible barricade against oil and gas shale development … because that is where mostly free enterprise (and, shall we say, mostly republican) jobs are created?
The strategist recommends against timely approval of great, private controlled projects like the Keystone XL, because that is where mostly free enterprise jobs are created.
The strategist can demonize — and attempt to liquidate — one of America’s great, wealth producing industries, COAL, even as it has become the “clean coal industry”. This is because it sponsors wealth producing, mostly free enterprise jobs from the Rocky Mountains to the job-starved eastern states.
Washington strategists over the years have decimated thousands of timber jobs throughout the country and killed Alaska’s major timber employers, all private sector 49th state pioneers.
The strategist recommends that the administration hamper all sorts of private projects using the Endangered Species Act, the Clean Water Act and the Clean Air Act. In this way, the lizards, frogs, fish, sage grouse, beluga whales, steller sea lions and polar bears can take the heat for proclaiming millions of acres of public and private lands to be off limits to any wealth producing activity that might strengthen the economy or the national defense–even when that activity will have no ill effect on the critter the regulators seek to employ as scapegoats (i.e. Beluga Whale, Steller Sea Lion, etc.).
These devices are used to prevent employment of private sector Americans, as efforts are made to increase the ratio of Americans employed by government or those indebted to federal entitlement, subsidy, loan, transfer, social or immigration programs.
Yes, the Administration is not stupid. Alaska is currently a red state, with republicans dominating most of the statewide elected positions.
But it takes a majority of conservative voters to achieve that representation.
By administrative action, the federal government seems determined to change the voting ratio in Alaska.
When and if that happens, the population will be lower and economic activity greatly reduced. But following a potential exodus of private sector workers, the remaining federal and state bureaucrats, entitlement beneficiaries, elected officials, center-left and mostly green non-profit organizations and a majority of voters will be highly supportive of progressive state and federal administrations.
While that may threaten the economic stability of the state, there is always the possibility that those who ‘know best’ in Washington, will exercise paternal generosity and, once again, make Alaska a ward of the federal government–a new entity that we suggest could be known as, “an Entitlement State”.
So, yes, Senator Murkowski has it right and so does the Wall Street Journal. If a majority of our readers also believe they “have it right”, then one cannot avoid being drawn to our conclusion.
Painfully, we are witnessing a pattern of deception so powerful that absent dramatic reversals in federal policy and leadership, Alaska is headed toward entitlement statehood.
And, with the greatest oil, gas, coal, minerals, timber, fishing resources, it is worth repeating to say that Alaska’s loss is America’s economic loss. (We say fishing because without oil and gas, the remaining tourism, fishing, retail, and individual taxpayers will be coughing up all the money needed for the government they will wish to support. That burden will also force many of the remaining private sector endeavors out of business–as Alaska learned during the low oil price era of the late-1980s.)
And with those losses comes the specter of a more determined Arctic power, now evaluating America’s weakness of will — amply demonstrated throughout the world — along with its downsized military. Could this adjacent Arctic power, bold enough to continually test Alaskan air space, be determining how to retake what it once sold to America for a mere $7.2 million, 2 cents/acre.
We innocently assume that a majority of NPR commenters are well intentioned, if misled. They may simply be enjoying the prospects of participating in authoritarian control of a formerly free country–“Change they can believe in”.
But with weakness comes vulnerability and they may actually be playing the role of Useful Idealists who end up participating not just in the demise of freedom, but in also seeing their best laid plans go astray.
Senate Energy Committee staff representative responds to White House staff representative:
From Robert Dillon (NGP Photo), Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee:
We are amazed to hear White House counselor John Podesta (Ref. 1, 2) claim that Senator Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, has “overreacted” to the White House’s decision to declare war on Alaska’s economic future.
“Overreaction” is an interesting choice of words, to say the least.
Let’s think about this for a moment. Which of the following does not deserve a strong reaction from Alaska’s senior senator?
- Is it the fact that the White House is placing 12 million more acres of the Arctic Coastal Plain into escrow and de facto wilderness, despite ANILCA’s “no more” wilderness clauses, and even though 80 percent of Alaskans support development that would cover just 0.01% of ANWR?
- Is it the fact that the White House also plans to indefinitely withdraw additional areas of Alaska’s northern waters – in the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas – from leasing in its upcoming Five-Year Outer Continental Shelf plan?
- Is it the fact that the White House is threatening to impose such steep mitigation requirements on a long-stalled project in the National Petroleum Reserve – which was specifically reserved for petroleum development – that the company seeking to develop it for the last 17 years is now on the verge of being forced to pull the plug?
- Or, is it the fact that this White House refuses to make any of the nearly 40 billion barrels of oil in Alaska’s federal areas open to development, even though the state’s oil production has declined precipitously, and the state now faces a budget crisis due to a combination of low production and low prices?
Apparently, the White House believes that the proper reaction to its week-long series of anti-Alaskan energy announcements is to nod in silence and assent. Yet, Mr. Podesta went on to prove that Sen. Murkowski’s reaction was fully warranted in his very next sentence. (We’re so glad the White House isn’t going to try to shut down production on state land, by the way. Very generous of them.)
A final question for Mr. Podesta: does this response, from Democratic Rep. Ben Nageak of Barrow, also qualify as an “overreaction”? We’d love to hear his thought. Click on link for video of Alaska State Rep. Ben Nageak of Barrow:
JANUARY 27, 2015 Robert_Dillon@Energy.Senate.Gov
Interior’s Proposed Offshore Leasing Plan Will Place
New Restrictions on Exploration of Alaska’s Waters
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, today criticized the Obama administration for its continued campaign to shut down oil and natural gas activity in Alaska.
“This administration is determined to shut down oil and gas production in Alaska’s federal areas – and this offshore plan is yet another example of their short-sighted thinking,” said Murkowski, the chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. “The president’s indefinite withdrawal of broad areas of the Beaufort and Chukchi seas is the same unilateral approach this administration is taking in placing restrictions on the vast energy resources in ANWR and the NPR-A.”
Murkowski’s comments come on the heels of the release of the Interior Department’s new five-year offshore oil and natural gas leasing plan, which bans exploration in large portions of Alaska’s Chukchi and Beaufort seas.
Interior’s draft plan does include three proposed leases sales in Alaska’s federal waters – one each in the Beaufort and Chukchi seas, and one in Cook Inlet – but Murkowski said there is no guarantee those sales will ever be held.
“This administration is once again promising Alaskans that it will allow exploration sometime in the future – but not right now,” Murkowski said. “I think we all know what promises from this administration are worth. They promised Alaska multiple lease sales under the current five-year plan, but so far there have been none, as sales continue to be postponed even past when the president will no longer be in office. Promises will not fill the trans-Alaska pipeline.”
The draft 2017-2022 plan also includes a proposal to open a portion of the Atlantic to leasing off the coasts of Virginia, North and South Carolina, and Georgia.
“The proposed lease sales we’re talking about right now aren’t scheduled until after President Obama is out of office,” Murkowski said. “Forgive me for remaining skeptical about this administration’s commitment to our energy security. I look forward to working with the next administration to ensure that Americans have access to abundant and affordable energy.”
Interior Department Announces Draft Strategy for Offshore Oil and Gas Leasing
Regionally-tailored plan continues balanced approach to leasing, development; Draft proposal would protect sensitive resources, makes available nearly 80% of estimated undiscovered technically recoverable oil and gas resources on U.S. Outer Continental Shelf
WASHINGTON, DC – As part of President Obama’s all-of-the-above energy strategy to continue to expand safe and responsible domestic energy production, Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell and Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) Director Abigail Ross Hopper today announced the next step in the development of the nation’s Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Oil and Gas Leasing Program for 2017-2022.
The Draft Proposed Program (DPP) includes 14 potential lease sales in eight planning areas – 10 sales in the Gulf of Mexico, three off the coast of Alaska, and one in a portion of the Mid- and South Atlantic.
“The safe and responsible development of our nation’s domestic energy resources is a key part of the President’s efforts to support American jobs and reduce our dependence on foreign oil,” said Secretary Jewell. “This is a balanced proposal that would make available nearly 80 percent of the undiscovered technically recoverable resources, while protecting areas that are simply too special to develop.”
Release of the draft is an early step in a multi-year process to develop a final offshore leasing program for 2017-2022. Before the program is finalized, the public will continue to have multiple opportunities to provide input. Today’s draft proposal was informed by more than 500,000 comments from a wide variety of stakeholders and states.
“The draft proposal prioritizes development in the Gulf of Mexico, which is rich in resources and has well-established infrastructure to support offshore oil and gas programs,” added Jewell. “We continue to consider oil and gas exploration in the Arctic and propose for further consideration a new area in the Atlantic Ocean, and we are committed to gathering the necessary science and information to develop resources the right way and in the right places. We look forward to continuing to hear from the public as we work to finalize the proposal.”
The OCS Lands Act requires the Secretary of the Interior to prepare a five-year program that includes a schedule of potential oil and gas lease sales and indicates the size, timing and location of proposed leasing activity as determined to best meet national energy needs, while addressing a range of economic, environmental and social considerations.
BOEM currently manages about 6,000 active OCS leases, covering more than 32 million acres – the vast majority in the Gulf of Mexico. In 2013, OCS oil and gas leases accounted for about 18 percent of domestic oil production and 5 percent of domestic natural gas production. This production generates billions of dollars in revenue for state and local governments and the U.S. taxpayer, while supporting hundreds of thousands of jobs.
A REGIONALLY TAILORED APPROACH
The draft proposal reflects a continuation of the regionally tailored leasing strategies employed in the current 2012-2017 Program that are specific to each planning area. The options in the draft proposal involve sales in offshore areas that have the highest oil and gas resource potential, highest industry interest, or are off the coasts of states that expressed a strong interest in potential energy exploration, while still considering potential environmental impacts, stakeholder concerns, and competing uses of ocean and coastal areas.
Gulf of Mexico:
The draft proposal includes ten sales in the Gulf of Mexico, one of the most productive basins in the world and where oil and gas infrastructure is well established. The draft proposal includes a new approach to lease sales in the Gulf of Mexico by proposing two annual lease sales in the Western, Central, and the portion of the Eastern Gulf of Mexico that is not subject to Congressional moratoria. This shifts from the traditional approach of one sale in the Western and a separate sale in the Central Gulf each year.
“This new approach will allow for BOEM to more effectively balance the sales while providing greater flexibility to industry to invest in the Gulf, particularly given the significant energy reforms recently adopted by the Mexican government,” said BOEM Director Hopper
In Alaska, the draft proposal continues to take a careful approach by utilizing the targeted leasing strategy set forth in the current program, which recognizes the substantial environmental, social and ecological concerns in the Arctic. The draft proposal proposes one sale each in the Chukchi Sea, Beaufort Sea, and Cook Inlet areas.
Also today, President Obama – using his authorities under the OCS Lands Act – designated portions of the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas as off limits from consideration for future oil and gas leasing in order to protect areas of critical importance to subsistence use by Alaska Natives, as well as for their unique and sensitive environmental resources. In December, President Obama used this same authority to place the waters of Bristol Bay off limits to oil and gas development, protecting an area known for its world-class fisheries and stunning beauty.
“We know the Arctic is an incredibly unique environment, so we’re continuing to take a balanced and careful approach to development,” said Jewell. “At the same time, the President is taking thoughtful action to protect areas that are critical to the needs of Alaska Natives and wildlife.”
Four of the five areas withdrawn today by President Obama were previously excluded from leasing in the current 2012-2017 oil and gas program; three of the five were also excluded by the prior administration. Those areas include the Barrow and Kaktovik whaling areas in the Beaufort Sea, and a 25-mile coastal buffer and subsistence areas in the Chukchi Sea. The withdrawal also includes the biologically rich Hanna Shoal area in the Chukchi Sea, which has not previously been excluded from leasing. Extensive scientific research has found this area to be of critical importance to many marine species, including Pacific walruses and bearded seals.
The proposed Alaska sales would be scheduled late in the program to provide additional opportunity to gather and evaluate information regarding environmental issues, subsistence use needs, infrastructure capabilities, and results from any exploration activity associated with existing leases from previous sales.
The draft proposal invites public comment on one potential lease sale late in the program for a portion of the Mid- and South Atlantic OCS, which includes areas offshore Virginia, North and South Carolina and Georgia.
“At this early stage in considering a lease sale in the Atlantic, we are looking to build up our understanding of resource potential, as well as risks to the environment and other uses,” said Jewell.
The potential lease sale would require a 50-mile coastal buffer to minimize multiple use conflicts, such as those from Department of Defense and NASA activities, renewable energy activities, commercial and recreational fishing, critical habitat needs for wildlife and other environmental concerns.
The July 2014 Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement on Atlantic Geological and Geophysical activities furthered the Atlantic area strategy by establishing a path forward to update information on the region’s offshore oil and gas resources, which is more than 30 years old. Today’s proposal is in line with comments received from adjacent states and reflects the Administration’s thoughtful approach to potential lease sales in new areas, pending further public review and comment.
Areas off the Pacific coast are not included in this draft proposal, consistent with the long-standing position of the Pacific coast states opposed to oil and gas development off their coast.
“Public input is a critical part of our process and we encourage citizens and groups to provide comments to help guide our decisions,” said Hopper. “We anticipate robust dialogue with stakeholders in the coming months that will help us prepare a program that emphasizes protection of the marine environment and coastal economies and uses the best available science and technology to inform our decision-making.”
In conjunction with the announcement of the DPP, the Department is also publishing a Notice of Intent to Develop a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). Following significant public comment and environmental review, the Department will prepare a Draft EIS and Proposed Program, and a Final EIS with the Proposed Final Program (PFP).
The Request for Information, published on June 16, 2014, began a process of broad consideration of all 26 areas of the OCS that are available for leasing and gradually narrows as a result of many stages of public comment and environmental analysis. This DPP is the first such narrowing. Prior to any individual lease sale in the future, BOEM will continue to incorporate new scientific information and stakeholder feedback in its environmental reviews to further refine the geographic scope of the lease areas.
The Draft Proposed Program and the Notice of Intent to Develop a Draft Environmental Impact Statement will be available for public comment for 60 days following the publication of the documents in the Federal Register.
For more information, including maps, please visit: http://www.boem.gov/Five-Year-Program/
President Obama this weekend announced plans to designate 12.3 million additional acres on Alaska’s North Slope as wilderness. This new designation – which should not be possible by virtue of ANILCA’s “no more” wilderness clauses – would be on top of the seven million wilderness acres already within the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
The president is “very proud” of himself, but maybe you heard – most Alaskans do not share that feeling. From what we’ve heard, most Alaskans agree with Sen. Murkowski, who expressed genuine anger onSunday nightin the wake of the first of several anti-Alaska energy actions that the Obama Administration plans to take.
As is typical, the White House couldn’t imagine why anyone would disagree with its political choices. Counselor John Podesta even tried to declare that Senator Murkowski’s strong response was not “warranted”as part of a statement clearly confirming that it was.
That leaves us with a question: if Sen. Murkowski’s response was not “warranted,” what about the reactions of other Alaskans? What does the White House think when a Democratic member of the Alaska State House of Representatives, an Alaska Native who represents the Arctic, expresses his own shock and disappointment over the president’s announcement?
Ben Nageak is a Democrat. He is an Alaska Native. He is an elected representative of the people who actually live in and around ANWR. He is angry about the White House’s ANWR plans, too. And, in a post yesterday on an Alaska news blog, he told it exactly as it is.
Mr. Negeak’s entire op-ed is included below.
So, Mr. Podesta, what do you think: was Ben Negeak’s reaction also unwarranted?
KTUU: Alaska Native desires for ANWR fall on deaf ears thousands of miles away
by Ben Nageak
Alaska Natives have been fighting for access to the lands and resources within the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge since the Congress enacted the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act more than 30 years ago.
President Barack Obama and his lieutenants at the Interior Department will permanently harm our people and all Alaskans with his colonial attitude and decision-making. We were promised through ANILCA and the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act, the opportunity to self-govern and build our own futures to some extent, through the formation of regional and village corporations, and the selection of lands to manage.
My people, the Inupiaq, have been harvesting the region’s renewable resources since time immemorial, and it’s time the federal government quit tying our hands behind our backs. Let us have access to our lands, for the betterment of our people, the state and the nation as a whole.
It’s terrifying to see the extent by which our pleas for time and a fair airing of our views fall on deaf ears five thousand miles away. President Obama said ANWR has supported native communities, and he’s right. Where he is wrong, very wrong, is in his interpretation that ANWR is fragile.
Our land in the north is resilient, hard, unrelenting. We have adapted to coexist with it and its wildlife over millennia. President Obama’s decision, locking up 12.8 million acres, only serves to further reduce our stewardship role, and the 10-02 set aside, which was specifically singled out due to its rich oil and gas potential.
Now, let us better support our children and grandchildren by responsibly developing our resources. We have been careful stewards of our fish and game resources for as long as our history is recorded – the State of Alaska has some of the strictest and rigorous environmental controls on the planet. We have proven that we can and will act responsibly.
Our people and our state need access to that oil and gas to heat our homes and buildings, power our snow machines and four wheelers, and earn revenues to support our core community services. The area outlined for development is similar in size to Reagan National Airport in the president’s backyard; its impact will be less than one-tenth of 1 percent of the total Coastal Plain.
We have been advocating the opening of ANWR for decades, and our voice and our values have not changed, only the marionettes in Washington, D.C.
Our frustration grows with every passing season, as the Section 10-02 and 10-03 language is a ticking clock to when all of ANWR must be managed as Wilderness. We must establish and allow for exploration and development now, when it can help us secure our future and contribute the resource to our state and nation.
We will work with our congressional delegation and governor to continue to make our voice heard. I’m, personally, sad that proposal has come forward. It only strengthens my resolve to continue speaking out. AllAlaskans must join in and present a unified voice asking for inclusion in the process and honory our statehood and ANCSA/ANILCA promises.
From our friends at the North Slope Borough, courtesy of David (D.J.) Fauske
North Slope Borough Decries Interior Department Plans for Arctic National Wildlife Refuge Wilderness Designations
(Barrow, AK)—“Today’s announcement by the Department of the Interior represents the worst of Washington politics,” announced Mayor Charlotte Brower (NGP Photo). “These types of paternalistic, executive fiats seem to be more appropriate for Andrew Jackson’s administration than Barack Obama’s.
The people of the North Slope have been unequivocal in their opposition to further Wilderness designations in ANWR. How ironic is this decision on the heels of this week’s earlier Executive Order calling for federal agencies to consult more with Alaska Native people over arctic issues.”
Mayor Brower made her remarks shortly after reading the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s announcement and watching President Obama’s video message. The North Slope Borough had expressed its opposition to any further Wilderness designations within ANWR through written comments submitted to the Wildlife Service in 2011.
“We would like to invite President Obama and Secretary Jewell to travel to ANWR and meet with the people who actually live there before proposing these types of sweeping land designations,” remarked Mayor Brower. “They might learn that the Inupiat people, who have lived on and cared for these lands for millennia, have no interest in living like relics in a giant, open-air museum. Rather, they hope to have the same rights and privileges enjoyed by people across the rest of the country.”