NGP Copyrighted Photo of Secretary Ken Salazar by Dave Harbour_4-14-09

Commentary:  As Canadian and Russian forces are seeking to claim and protect their oil and gas rich Arctic territory, our President seems intent on regulating America away from a 'seat at the table'.   Alaskans have joined other Americans in responding to Interior Secretary Salazar's (NGP Photo) call for comments regarding his Minerals Management Service (MMS) 2010-15 Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) lease sale plan.  The preponderance of comment seems to favor more exploration and  drilling, under America's safe and demanding regulatory process; most Americans support decreased reliance on foreign suppliers and increased domestic production along with the employment and revenue OCS would produce.  However, President Obama’s White House staff and other Administration executives composing an Ocean Policy Task Force met last Friday for a hearing in Anchorage.  Many environmental and Native activists flooded the Anchorage Convention Center for an Ocean Policy Hearing and mostly dominated the dialogue with a 'no development' message.   (Although one appreciates the more reasonable testimony provided by Arctic Slope Regional Corporation, the Resource Development Council for Alaska and a few others.)  The most dangerous element of a hastily constructed 'ocean policy' is that its pronouncements could override planned OCS leasing and exploration and development–and even on-shore activity.  After all, if an ocean policy says that Arctic critters are threatened by receding ice caused by carbon emissions/global warming/greenhouse gasses, then it could order the cessation of such emissions…from oil and gas operations and even from far-away, lower 48 emitting sources like transportation, manufacturing, mining, and even the evacuation of carbon-based gasses from farm animals.  Meanwhile, the Canadians and Russians will be less encumbered with such affectation and remain focused on the important goal: obtain and protect as much oil and gas producing Arctic territory as possible while controlling Arctic transportation and sea lanes in the process.  Let's watch this issue develop.  The Task Force can only make 'recommendations'; but Obama White House recommendations to a friendly Congress inclined to support every single environmental initiative–amid the chaos of current TARP/Clunker/CIA/Health Care dialogue–should awaken all thinking Americans concerned about jobs, national defense, energy security and a strong economy.    See Harbour testimony here.   See White House Task Force Memorandum and Web Page…and Provide Your Comment Here.      -dh   *        Dickenson Press by Lisa Call.  A pipeline slated to move about 477 million cubic feet of natural gas per day through southwest North Dakota is moving into the next stages of becoming a reality.  Bison Pipeline, LLC, a subsidiary of TransCanada Corp. ….