This week, attorneys with Pacific Legal Foundation (PLF) filed the Respondents’ Brief on the merits in United States Army Corps of Engineers v. Hawkes Co., Inc., a precedent-setting case that asks whether landowners may appeal to the judiciary if their property is labeled as “wetlands” subject to the federal Clean Water Act.  More here….


ADN Op-Ed, by Mayor Vern Halter.  

U S Senator Lisa Murkowski, federal overreach, letter to President Obama, federal regulations, Photo by Dave HarbourU.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski: (NGP Photo) MAKING A CASE FOR REASONABLE REGULATION.   Murkowski and 18 of her colleagues signed a letter to President Obama raising concerns about the impacts of a Presidential Memorandum he issued late last year on resource mitigation. 

Murkowski and her colleagues called on President Obama to provide clarity about the specific goals of the memorandum, how it will be implemented, and the likely consequences of its implementation.

“We look forward to learning, as promptly as possible, more about what you expect the Memorandum to achieve and, more specifically, how its implementation will lead to ‘Federal policies that are clear, work similarly across agencies and are implemented consistently within agencies,’” the members wrote.

A House Natural Resources Committee oversight hearing on Wednesday also examined the impacts of the memorandum on natural resources production.

Murkowski, chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, was joined by Sens. Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Capito (R-W.Va.), Cassidy (R-La.), Crapo (R-Idaho), Daines (R-Mont.), Enzi (R-Wyo.), Flake (R-Ariz.), Gardner (R-Colo.), Hatch (R-Utah), Heller (R-Nev.), Inhofe (R-Okla.), Lee (R-Utah), Manchin (D-W.Va.), McCain (R-Ariz.), Moran (R-Kan.), Risch (R-Idaho), Sullivan (R-Alaska), and Vitter (R-La.) on Wednesday’s letter to the administration.

The letter is now available on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee website.

Making the Case For A Railroad Extension.

Mining does take years to get off the ground but so does the Alaska LNG pipeline. Both are worthy investments critically linked to rail.

In addition to mining, Port Mac Rail provides infrastructure for these large projects:

•  Moving Cook Inlet gas to Fairbanks via rail. The Alaska Railroad recently became the first railroad in the nation allowed to transport LNG. Salix Inc. is vying to be AIDEA’s pick for an LNG plant with expansion capability of up to 400,000 gallons of liquefied natural gas per day. If chosen, the company could connect to Port Mac Rail at Ayrshire Road. 

• Providing construction support to the Alaska LNG Project. Port Mac Rail would save the project $100 million over other ports by staging and transporting pipe north by rail through the closer Port MacKenzie. 

• Hauling low-sulfur diesel to Fairbanks by Central Alaska Energy, a company leasing property with a completed pad, seeking funding for construction of a tank farm at Port MacKenzie.

• Moving supplies to support continued petroleum activity at Prudhoe Bay.

• Exporting liquefied natural gas from Port MacKenzie to Japan. The natural resources development company REI is doing due diligence on a $1 billion liquefaction facility and power plant at Port MacKenzie. The Japanese company would export Cook Inlet gas to Japan. REI vice president Mary Ann Pease calls Port MacKenzie “the best port in Upper Cook Inlet for LNG exports to Japan in a timely manner.” REI is still committed to a 2020 timeframe for exports to begin.

The next year or more is going to be challenging. But now is not the time to let our entrepreneurial muscle atrophy as Wohlforth suggests. The returns on resource development and on infrastructure like Port MacKenzie Rail will be far more than the original investment. Let’s get to it.

Vern Halter is mayor of the Matanuska Susitna Borough. He is also a musher and winner of the 1990 Yukon Quest International Sled Dog Race.


Bloomberg by Meenal Vamburkar and Cordell Eddings.  Bond Vigilantes Slap Oil CEOs With Junk Tag on $258 Billion Debt  (See our 2-24-16 commentary)

They have sold off hundreds of oil fields, eliminated thousands of jobs and slashed millions of dollars from capital spending and dividends.

But in this unforgiving new world of $30-a-barrel oil, it’s barely been enough.

As U.S. oil executives from Anadarko Petroleum Corp. to Hess Corp. take drastic measures to weather the worst slump in a generation and cling to their debt ratings, creditors are already writing some of them off. So much so that late last month, average borrowing costs for energy bonds with the lowest investment grades — issues totaling $258 billion — soared past those of the highest-rated U.S. junk borrowers for the first time. What’s more, debt issuance industry wide has all but ground to a halt after a record year in 2015.