TransCanada Reduces Gas Pipeline Tolls – Corps of Engineers Delays National Petroleum Reserve – Alaska Petroleum Development

Calgary Herald by Dina O’Meara.  TransCanada Corp. will be lowering 2011 tolls on its vast natural gas main line after reaching a last-minute agreement with shippers battling sharply reduced prices for the resource.  Tolls will fall to $1.23 per gigajoule from $1.60 per GJ this year on the venerable Alberta to Ontario system, TransCanada said Thursday. … "We are pleased with the progress we have made in our discussions with stakeholders and believe the proposed tolls will provide significant benefits," added chief executive Russ Girling in a statement. …  Analysts predicted the corporation was setting itself up for a so-called death spiral of high tolls discouraging shippers.  "All stakeholders in the Canadian natural gas industry — producers, service companies and carriers — have to work together to ensure the viability of the business in a highly competitive continental gas business," said Peter Tertzakian, chief energy economist with Arc Financial, on Thursday. "TransCanada’s pricing move looks like a step in the right direction."

Corps of Engineers Delays National Petroleum Reserve – Alaska Petroleum Development


Dave Harbour

     On December 2, 2010 a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reviewing officer issued a decision on an appeal ConocoPhillips filedSean Parnell regarding a permit application the Corps had denied earlier this year.  

     ConocoPhillips had applied to the Corps for a permit to build a bridge that would provide access to petroleum reserves in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska.

     The reviewing officer, David W. Gesl, concluded that "… some of the Appellants {sic} Reasons for Appeal and Reason for Appeal subparts have merit.  I am remanding the appeal to the District for further clarification and evaluation."

     In part, Gesl’s rationale for the decision illustrates why citizens can be so upset with the federal government bureaucracy and its apparent agenda to stop or delay oil and gas exploration and development in the 49th state.  ConocoPhillips appealed the permit denial stating that  33 C.F.R. § 325.8(b)(2) requires the District Engineer to submit the decision to his superior, the Division Engineer, when the Governor opposes the permit rejection in writing.  (Our other evidence.)

     Gesl noted that the Commissioner of Natural Resources had written in support of the ConocoPhillips permit application prior to its denial and that the Governor had made public statements supporting the permit but that the Governor, himself, had not complied with the law and submitted his support for the permit in writing prior to its rejection.  Accordingly, Gesl found that the District Engineer was within the law to have rejected the permit without elevating the matter to the Division Engineer.

     So, in conclusion, Gesl found that, "…some of the Appellants {sic} Reasons for Appeal and Reason for Appeal subparts have merit", and by his order bounced the matter back to the District Engineer for "Clarification and Evaluation".

     Will the Corps’ Alaska District Engineer consider the state’s position and grant the permit?  Will he clarify that the permit should not be granted but elevate it to the Division Engineer?  What will the Division Engineer do?

     Bottom line: has the Obama Administration successfully converted the venerable Corps of Engineers into an extension of its environmental activism strategy to stop or delay oil and gas development in Alaska?  The evidence is growing.   We have called this strategy a death by a thousand cuts.

     In the past two years we have seen lease sales delayed or cancelled.  We have seen OCS permits for leases sold to explorers delayed time and time again.  We have seen pious, arrogant efforts to develop an "Oceans Policy" that would provide an anti-commerce overlay on top of all other laws and regulatory requirements applying to citizens whose living emanates from coastal areas and even tributary areas leading to the coasts.  We have seen arbitrary and capricious application of the Endangered Species Act to various Alaska species: Beluga whales, seals, polar bears, etc.  We have seen the Secretary of Interior apply a faux moratorium on oil and gas activity in Alaska, witnessed his OCS director say there is "…no actual or de facto moratorium," then seen the Secretary contradict his director.  We have seen Federal agencies conduct hearings on oil and gas activities that were not required for the apparent sake of delay.  We have seen efforts to enlarge wilderness designations in the small, remaining area of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge designated by Congress for future oil and gas development.  And now we are seeing efforts to reclassify the most promising petroleum areas of the nation’s National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska into wilderness designations — apparently aided and abetted by the formerly trustworthy, Army Corps of Engineers, now co-opted into the ‘shut-down Alaska agenda’ of the Obama Administration.

     We current Alaskans are ring-side spectators of an attack by internal enemies on the free enterprise forces that assisted in creating the dramatic economic success of Alaska and the United States until now.

     The evidence is now indisputable.  No one can deny the Federal government is complicit in an environmental activist strategy to eliminate or delay resource development in Alaska.

     Our fellow citizens should make no mistake that these actions work together to deny the Trans Alaska Pipline (TAPS) the replacement oil it needs within the next ten years to sustain itself as Alaska’s economic lifeline.  Without that lifeline, the secondary gas pipeline birth is threatened with abortion.   Without TAPS, we can write off 90% of Alaska’s operating budget and with it a third of the State’s economy.

     Now is the time for Alaska’s mayors, legislators, students, teachers, government workers, private employees, employers everywhere, real estate investors, the editorial writers and retired citizens to join forces.   Oppose the Federal government’s attack on Alaska as if our future and the future of our kids depended on it.

     Governor Sean Parnell (NGP Photo, above) has already set the example by suing and petitioning the Federal government for overreaching its jurisdiction.

     It’s our turn to weigh in.  Now.


(Note:  1.  Here’s how you can begin.  2.  Here’s Elizabeth Bluemink’s ADN story on ConocoPhillips’ NPR-A appeal.  3.  The Alaska Dispatch Story.)




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By | 2016-12-22T22:34:24+00:00 December 15th, 2010|Uncategorized|0 Comments