Today we provide readers with this breaking announcement from the Pebble Partnership.  We believe this announcement, in reality, acknowledges that the rule of law has returned to Alaska natural resource projects in general.  See our editorial.  -dh

EPA Withdrawal Notice

A Welcome Return to Normal Permitting for Pebble

Pebble Project’s Alaska State Lease area

The Pebble Partnership welcomed Tuesday’s announcement from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that is has initiated steps to withdraw its Proposed Determination restricting development at the Pebble Project. PLP CEO Tom Collier had the following statement regarding the announcement:

“We are very pleased with this positive step from the EPA in its return to fair and normal process for making regulatory decisions. We welcome today’s news and look forward to accessing the regular permitting process for our project later this year.

EPA Administrator Pruitt has indicated his strong support for the rule of law and today’s announcement reflects that commitment. We have long advocated that the normal, fair and objective permitting process is the appropriate place to make decisions about this important project.

We have undertaken several initiatives that demonstrate our project has been responsive to stakeholder input. This includes a significantly smaller mine plan that we look forward to sharing as the year progresses.”

Collier expressed confidence that EPA will withdraw its Proposed Determination at the conclusion of the administrative process initiated today. Save The US House Committee on Science, Space and Technology urged Administrator Pruitt to take such action back in February 2017, stating that EPA actions at Pebble were based on “a questionable scientific assessment that relied on pre-determined conclusions,” and that EPA officials “acted with bias and predetermined conclusions aimed to prevent this project and improperly expand EPA’s authority under the Clean Water Act.”


Panel: Expanding Offshore Access a Boon for Coastal Communities, Integral to Future Energy Security  

CONTACT: Parish Braden or Molly Block (202) 226-9019
Washington, D.C. – Today, the Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources held an oversight hearing on federal offshore oil and gas development on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS). Panel members discussed the benefits of expanding access to the Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico, Pacific and Alaska for coastal communities, job creation nationally, and increased revenues for both states and the U.S. Treasury.

For those of us who live in Louisiana, oil and gas is a way of life that is intertwined with our love for hunting and fishing. The oil and gas industry is part of our geography, our society, our economy, our culture. The Louisiana energy industry has been a responsible community partner for more than a century,” Lori LeBlanc, Director of the Offshore Committee for the Louisiana Mid-Continent Oil and Gas Association, stated.

This industry supports hundreds of thousands of additional jobs through associated industry, and serves as an important facet of coastal life,” Subcommittee Chairman Paul Gosar (R-AZ) said.

According to Michael Whatley, Executive Vice President of the Consumer Energy Alliance, expanded responsible OCS development is estimated to create more than 893,000 jobs nationally, $450 billion in new private sector investment, $550 billion in increased economic activity nationwide and more than $395 billion in increased government revenues.

From everyday citizens to truckers, manufacturers, farmers and beyond, our members and the American public at large depend on access to affordable, reliable energy in order to meet daily needs, sustain and create jobs and power the economy,” Whatley stated.

University of South Carolina Professor in the School of the Earth, Ocean and Environment James Knapp pushed for new, modern seismic surveys of the Atlantic to collect better scientific data of subsurface energy reserves.

Kate MacGregor, Acting Assistant Secretary Land and Minerals Management at the Department of the Interior emphasized the Trump Administration’s dedication “to promoting access to our offshore energy resources in order to promote energy dominance, create more job opportunities and keep energy prices low for American families and businesses.

She also highlighted recent secretarial orders to reshape the 2017-2022 5 Year Plan, approve permits for new seismic surveys, and review and overhaul regulations from the former Administration to bring certainty and data transparency into the process.

We are grateful for the opportunity to re-evaluate the management of our nation’s offshore resources,” Subcommittee Chairman Gosar added.

Click here to view full witness testimony.

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                                                                                                      John Callahan

                                                                                                       (907) 334-5208
BOEM Approves Eni Beaufort Sea Exploration Plan


Producer plans to drill into federal OCS reservoir from existing gravel island
ANCHORAGE, Alaska — After a comprehensive review and consideration of comments received from the public, stakeholders, and Federal and state partner agencies and tribes, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management today conditionally approved a Beaufort Sea exploration plan (EP) it received from Eni US Operating Co. Inc.  Read more

Committee Announces Legislative Hearing on Proposals to Reform and Improve the Endangered Species Act
CONTACT: Parish Braden or Molly Block (202) 226-9019
Washington, D.C. – On Wednesday, July 19, 2017 at 10:00 AM in 1324 Longworth House Office Building, the Committee on Natural Resources will hold a legislative hearing on a slate of bills to explore proposals to reform and improve the Endangered Species Act this Congress.

Empowering States and Ensuring Data Transparency:

·         H.R. 1274 (Rep. Dan Newhouse), To amend the Endangered Species Act of 1973 to require making available to States affected by determinations that species are endangered species or threatened species all data that is the basis of such determinations, and to ensure best available and scientific data includes state, local and tribal data and for other purposes. “State, Tribal, and Local Species Transparency and Recovery Act

·         H.R. 2603 (Rep. Louie Gohmert), To amend the Endangered Species Act of 1973 to provide that nonnative species in the United States shall not be treated as endangered species or threatened species for purposes of that Act. “Saving America’s Endangered Species Act” or “SAVES Act


Discouraging Costly Litigation to Provide More Resources for Species Recovery:


·         H.R. 3131 (Rep. Bill Huizenga), To amend the Endangered Species Act of 1973 to conform the statutory hourly rate of attorneys fees for citizen suits under that Act with other existing law, and for other purposes. “Endangered Species Litigation Reasonableness Act.

Improving Listing and Delisting Processes:

·         H.R. 424 (Rep. Collin Peterson), To direct the Secretary of the Interior to reissue final rules to delist the gray wolf in the Western Great Lakes and Wyoming under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, and for other purposes. “Gray Wolf State Management Act of 2017

·         H.R. 717 (Rep. Pete Olson), To amend the Endangered Species Act of 1973 to require review of the economic cost of adding a species to the list of endangered species or threatened species, and removing listing deadlines that are the source of litigation and for other purposes. “Listing Reform Act

WHAT: Full Committee legislative hearing on 5 bills
WHEN: Wednesday, July 19
10:00 AM
WHERE: 1324 Longworth House Office Building


Visit the Committee Calendar for additional information once it is made available. The meeting is open to the public and a video feed will stream live at House Committee on Natural Resources.