Updates to "cumulative effects":
- 03-15-10. Governor Sean Parnell's (NGP Photo) Battles with the Federal Government
- 12-23-09. Sullivan and Young Fight Beluga Designation
- 12-08-09. Alaskan and American Consumers are Endangered Species
- 12-16-09. Council on Environmental Quality Interim Framework for Marine Spatial Planning (Ocean Policy).
EDITORIAL AND CALL TO ACTION: DEATH BY A THOUSAND CUTS
Dateline, Biloxi, by Dave Harbour. Last week I editorialized about how current Washington attacks on domestic energy are cumulative, and threaten the economies of Alaska and the country. This week, I appeared before the IOGCC (Scroll down to see meeting reports) in my volunteer role as a member of the Board of Advisors of Consumer Energy Alliance. In that presentation, I stressed to commissioners the much broader effect energy shortages and higher prices have on consumer budgets than the immediate pain felt with the arrival of higher utility and gasoline bills. The impact on American families of bad energy policy is felt indirectly as trucking, airline, farm, seafood and vitually every other product and service begins to pass on higher energy costs to the family bill payer.
I concluded with this:
I close with this example of the challenge we face to America’s way of life. It is the challenge of defying death by a thousand cuts.
Initiative after federal initiative seem contrived to be more than the honest effort of well intentioned administrators. You be the judge.
In this year alone…consider this:
•Last April, Interior Secretary Salazar traveled to Ocean City, New Orleans, Anchorage and San Francisco to personally conduct MMS 5-year plan lease sale hearings. Believe me, it was full court press. Environmental activists were all dressed up and picketing and so were our domestic energy supporters. I testified along with others who took the Secretary on faith that after receiving the comments, he’d timely act to approve a lease sale program. Since the September 21 deadline, we’ve heard only that the Secretary is in no hurry…. His decision could stop OCS exploration in its tracks or seriously hogtie it–even though the Congress and President over a year ago removed drilling restrictions in response to $147/barrel oil.
•In August, a White House Ocean Policy Task Force, created by the President, visited Anchorage and held a hearing. I again testified that the President had given this group the responsibility of developing an Ocean policy—virtually the most comprehensive and complex natural resource policy in the history of America—within 9 months. A hastily developed “ocean policy” could establish zones where no oil and gas activity could occur virtually without debate and without the Consumer Energy Alliance and other watchdog groups, consumers would not likely know – or agree with – the values which their tax dollars or increased energy costs would pay for.
•In September, an EPA group visited Alaska to take testimony on whether it should grant a Clean Air Act permit to Shell Oil. I testified as a former regulator that having read all of the pleadings I was convinced that the EPA would be derelict in not immediately issuing the permits. I testified that extending the comment period and further delaying the process could delay by a year Shell’s 2.3 billion dollar investment into Alaska OCS exploration. I testified that extending the comment period could jeopardize the due process rights of those who responsibly testified on time. All 20 witnesses that day testified in favor of immediately granting the permits. Last week, the EPA announced that it was extending the comment period in response to a petition for extension. The petition BY A GROUP KNOWN AS “EARTH JUSTICE” began:
“On behalf of Alaska Wilderness League, Audubon Alaska, Center for Biological Diversity, Natural Resources Defense Council, Oceana, Pacific Environment, Resisting Environmental Destruction on Indigenous Lands (REDOIL), Sierra Club, The Wilderness Society, and World Wildlife Fund (organizations), we hereby request an extension of the October 5 deadline for written comments to your office’s proposed air permit for Shell’s exploration drilling in the Chukchi Sea.”
I anticipated such a tactic and wrote in my September 25 testimony to the EPA:
In beginning I wanted to express appreciation for the logical and fair course Mr. Albright set when, in answer to my question a few moments ago, he said that, “Just because we make changes in the permit requirements based on information gained during this comment period doesn’t mean we will have another comment period.”
As a former regulator, I sympathize with your desire to make sure the public interest is served and believe that extending this comment period or creating a new one would raise serious ‘due process’ questions. We all had the same opportunity to comment. At some point, for all potential commenters the deadline comes and goes and we either have or have not responsibly responded. It would be unfair to those who timely responded to learn that we might have had more time to prepare our testimony.
Add to the above three initiatives… litigation by anti-domestic energy advocates within environmental groups and oil industry property tax recipients in the North Slope Borough. Add another barrier by global warming advocacies to limit domestic oil and gas activity by designating as endangered species, polar bears, walrus and whales—which are never attacked by the U.S. oil industry but which are annually killed by subsistence hunters. And we haven’t even mentioned the cumulative additional pressure of low carbon fuel standards or cap and trade legislation…or other big legislative proposals not directly attacking energy producers….but affecting them and their consumers.
Yes, beware the cumulative effect! After all, how many times can this grandfather come out of his cave and testify? How many times can company resources support exhaustive commenting activity? Will citizens grow weary of our ‘calls to action’ to ‘write your congressman’ when those calls come so much more frequently now than ever before? Will opponents to a reasonable American Domestic Energy Exploration and Production effort win by using their political power to bring upon the rest of us a slow 'death by a thousand cuts', a continuous, well funded, environmental extremist-governmental juggernaut that continually keeps the private sector on the defense and off balance?
I won't apologize for giving my U.S. readers this call to action. I know it is an inconvenience to write one or two letters. But if you thought your family's security or nation's economy could hinge on whether you wrote a letter or not, you'd write, wouldn't you…especially if you knew that either one of the bureaucratic initiatives below could stop OCS in its tracks and bring Alaska ant the country to their knees, economically?
I believe the situation now to be that serious. Anti-domestic energy advocates have superb grassroots and networking capability as noted above…and their well funded representatives now–for the most part–are controlling Washington.
CALL TO ACTION! Here's what to do today: write two letters, noting the deadlines below:
EPA Air Quality Permit: Comment Deadline is October 20. Please go to this webpage and follow the instructions for providing your comment prior to the 20th. Your comment can be simple (Please grant the Air Quality Permit Proposed for Shell Gulf of Mexico Inc. to Operate the Frontier Discoverer Drillship in the Chukchi Sea, Alaska), or more elaborate based on your technical background, Alaska job and economic impact, etc. Here is my earlier commentary, and another here.
White House Ocean Policy Task Force Deadline is October 17. Please go to this webpage and follow the instructions for providing your comment prior to the 17th. Here is my earlier commentary. I believe that this initiative is so complex with such huge national security, economic and environmental risks that it should be set aside until Washington works through some of its other priorities first. Alternatively, work should begin but no artificial deadline set for final adoption until all of the investigation is properly done, comments received from affected stakeholders and appropriate resolution of conflict rationalized. Finally, any prohibition to oil and gas exploration and development whatsoever should be segregated from the omnibus findings and put before Congress as a national defense consideration. Here is the Consumer Energy Alliance reference page.
PLEASE EMAIL ME A COPY OF YOUR LETTER(S) TO POST HERE! AND REMEMBER, NORTHERN GAS PIPELINES CAN ONLY EXIST WHEN THERE IS THROUGHPUT. OCS IS THE NEXT MOST FEASIBLE SOURCE OF THROUGHPUT FOR ENHANCING THE LIFE OF THE TRANS ALASKA PIPELINE (TAPS) AND ASSURING A LONG LIFE FOR A GAS PIPELINE.
THANK YOU!!!! dh