• Comment.  Yesterday, the world heard that the U.S. Minerals Management Service (MMS) had conditionally approved Shell Oil Company's 2010 Chukchi Sea Plan of Exploration.  Amid the celebrating, however, one notes that the Federal Administration strategy to invoke death by a thousand cuts is alive and well.  For example, while MMS conditionally approves, the Environmental Protection Agency still dallies and evades a timely granting of an air quality permit–which can still stop Shell's multi-billion dollar investment in Alaska's OCS.  (To her credit, Senator Lisa Murkowski (NGP Photo) responded that, "Shell Oil is in its fourth year of waiting for air permits to conduct exploratory activities off Alaska’s coast from the Environmental Protection Agency. Without those permits, exploration cannot move forward.")  The White House Oceans Policy initiative could interfere with successful exploration and development as could the naming of endangered species and habitats (See story below).  In short, while the American/Alaskan economy and work force and energy consumers cry out for a reasonable application of Federal power, this Administration continues to attack our country's primary source of wealth creation: production of hydrocarbons.  If that weren't enough, we heard yesterday of the EPA's intent to CAP carbon emissions…with or without Congressional action on the Cap and Trade legislation, and with or without consent of America's utility ratepayers who could end up paying an additional several thousand dollars per year per family for an EPA mandate on carbon that may have little to no actual effect on the world's climate.  Words like "shortsighted", "immature", "foolish", "suicidal", "hostile", and "socialistic" come to mind when contemplating the steady barrage of actions perpetrated by this Administration on the American/Alaskan people.  It also looks like a direct attack on the Alaska Statehood Compact (12, 3, 4, 5, etc.).  -dh

In The Name of Environmental Protection, the American/Alaskan Economy and Citizens Are Endangered!


Dave Harbour
We have editorialized on the subject of outrageous Federal assaults on the economy of America/Alaska in the name of environmental protection. Please review this page for background.  This environmental assault is endangering our economy and way of life and the polar bear is the latest pawn in the game.
We have characterized this Obama Administration strategy of wave after wave of extreme environmental initiatives as, “death by a thousand cuts”. This slow economic death affects those of us wishing to prop up the economy with environmentally sound, wealth-producing activity. It affects us by requiring our presence and thinking to prepare for hearing after hearing on new subject after subject. No sooner does a citizen or company finish the exhaustive effort to respond to one extremist assault on the economy than another is mobilized, then another and another. The effect produces a geometric array of harm to the economy and citizens when one considers that each one of the initiatives produces not only in an initial comment round, but plural comment periods as draft proposals are announced, edited and re-submitted for comment. Most of these activities are preceded, accompanied, or followed by legal action, ushering in a whole new level of delay, complexity and cost.

Environmental studies in the 1970s demonstrated how unaffected Alaska North Slope critters are by man’s non-hostile presence, even when the sounds of engines are present.  Critters are affected by photographic stalking, hunting, harassment and mosquitoes. The oil industry does not allow hunting or harassment in its areas. Only government-sponsored environmental researchers and National Geographic-style movie makers are consistently guilty of harassing bears, whales, caribou and tens of thousands of migratory waterfowl and other species. They love to buzz and circle above these species in government chartered Cessnas and super cubs and fast boats. This causes wildlife to swim, flee or fly away from the airborne or shipborne photographers that plague them mostly in the more touristy, summer months…or, during more sensitive spring and fall birthing and mating seasons.  Sometimes, government researchers pursue their contracts (i.e. or research for dissertations or theses) by “taking specimens”: shooting their prey with tranquilizer guns pending attachment of awkward radio transmitters. In other cases, specimens are netted, poisoned or shot for laboratory analysis in the name of science. And, of course, we dutifully ignore scientific fish and game management practices when the term ‘subsistence’ is invoked.

We know that when oil production at Prudhoe Bay began, the Central Arctic Caribou Herd consisted of about 6,000 animals. The herd has grown dramatically since then, increasing over four fold by 2000 and about twelve fold by now. With the oil producers’ security checkpoints, rules against hunting and with the gravel road/pad, 5’ high elevation from mosquito-infested, marshy tundra the herd has prospered.  One leading Arctic environmental scientist once told me that the leading cause of caribou calf mortality on the North Slope was the ever-present cloud of bloodthirsty mosquitoes, which thrive in the low, sheltered wet areas and are repelled from the higher, man-made, windy areas on the gravel roads and drilling pads.
Anyway, readers who want the Alaska and U.S. economy protected from the sort of endangerment promoted by unbridled environmental extremism MUST send in their comments. Please write a short letter expressing your own opinion on the subject. This Federal Register Report for October 29, 2009 will explain how.   Then get ready for the next environmental assault on the economy of America/Alaska. 
Don’t give up. “This, too, will pass”, we say to ourselves.    But deep down we know that the current trials will only ‘passover’ us if we successfully comment, participate and otherwise take protective action.  
May God bless and enable the wise and courageous ones among us to protect America from her adversaries, both foreign and domestic.