Morning Headlamp - 'It's OK for politicians to fight'
Bringing the fight to Washington. U.S. Senators Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan introduced the Alaska Oil and Gas Production Act, S. 49, saying in a press release, that drilling in ANWR would lead to more robust energy independence for the United States and more revenues for Alaska's economy. "The landowner, ASRC, the people of the North Slope, the overwhelming majority of Alaskans support this, now it's up to the congressional delegation to convince enough of their colleagues in the House and Senate that this makes sense for Alaska and also the rest of the country," said president of the Alaska Oil and Gas Association Kara Moriarty. According to the United States Geological Survey, an estimated 10.4 billion barrels of oil could be recovered in the 1002 area, making it one of the largest existing untouched oil fields in America.
The hemorrhaging doesn't stop. The Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development is projecting the state will lose another 7,500 jobs this year after shedding about 6,800 in 2016. Job losses in the 7,500 range would be about 2.3 percent of the state's workforce. The losses in 2016 were roughly a 2 percent employment contraction. The department attributes the continued economic downturn primarily to lasting fallout from the sudden decline in oil prices in the second half of 2014, which doubly hit Alaska via the state's budget and one of its largest industries. The biggest losses are expected to come from the oil and gas, construction and state government sectors. Combined, the three could lose about 4,000 jobs, according to the report. This is why tax fights in Juneau are more than just fiscal policy disputes. Each day the industry is dissuaded from investing, Alaskan families lose out on their livelihood.
Battle royale. The incoming president of the Alaska Senate on Thursday predicted the next legislative session would be contentious, marked by an ideological rift between his own Republican-led majority and the new House majority coalition, which consists mostly of Democrats. "A lot of times people say, 'Well, we shouldn't fight in Juneau because everybody should just get along.' No, we should fight," Kelly said. "Because the alternative of a government that doesn't fight in Juneau — those governments fight in the streets. And so it's OK for politicians to fight. They should fight. We want them to fight. And they should be good at it."
According to an Alaska Journal of Commerce editorial, "Given the production increases, the third-best lease sale in decades in December and strong prospects under development, the evidence does not back up those who are spinning the end-of-oil narrative. Gov. Bill Walker has not exactly expressed enthusiasm for prospects by independents Caelus and Armstrong, and his Natural Resources Deputy Commissioner Mark Wiggin reacted to questions about the 2016 production increase not with celebration but with an Eeyorish comment about how we're not heading back to our peak production days in the late 1980s."
The US Army Corps of Engineers will not remove oil pipelines from the next five-year authorization of its streamlined permitting program, despite opponents of the Dakota Access Pipeline and historic preservation groups calling for more scrutiny in order to prevent spills. The agency released a final rule Thursday authorizing the program through March 2022.
Alaska's senators set eyes on drilling Arctic National Wildlife Refuge
KTUU, Travis Khachatoorian, January 5, 2017
Labor Dept.: Oil industry will top job losses again in '17
Alaska Journal of Commerce, Elwood Brehmer, January 5, 2017
New Alaska Senate president on upcoming session: 'It's OK for politicians to fight'
Alaska Dispatch News, Nathaniel Herz, January 5, 2017
AJOC EDITORIAL: Production forecast leaves room for pleasant surprise
Alaska Journal of Commerce, Andrew Jensen, January 5, 2017
US Army Corps keeps oil pipelines in streamlined permitting rule over protests
Platts, January 5, 2017
Will Obama's offshore drilling ban be Trumped?
Alaska Journal of Commerce, Patrick Parenteau, January 5, 2017
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