Stop the Overreach
Feb16

Stop the Overreach

What Stop the Overreach is about Webster’s dictionary defines OVERREACH as: to try to do something that is beyond your ability to do. When it comes to Alaska, there might as well be a photo of Barack Obama and Sally Jewell included within that section of the dictionary. Alaska is under attack by a runaway federal overreach train and Obama and his hard core environmental supporters are at the controls. In late January, President Barack Obama said that he planned to ask Congress to declare much of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge as wilderness, including its 1.5-million-acre coastal plain, an area on Alaska’s North Slope suspected to contain vast reserves of oil and gas. Since 1980, when the Arctic refuge was expanded from 9 million acres to 19 million acres by the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act, there’s been a stalemate over the coastal plain. The 1980 law left the plain in limbo, with congressional action required to open it to development or seal it permanently.                ...

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Internal memos spur accusations of bias as EPA moves to block Pebble Mine
Feb16

Internal memos spur accusations of bias as EPA moves to block Pebble Mine

Joby Warrick | The Washington Post February 16, 2015 Just north of Iliamna Lake in southwestern Alaska is an empty expanse of marsh and shrub that conceals one of the world’s great buried fortunes: A mile-thick layer of virgin ore said to contain at least 6.7 million pounds — or $120 billion worth — of gold. As fate would have it, a second treasure sits precisely atop the first: Spawning ground for the planet’s biggest runs of sockeye salmon, the lifeline of a fishery that generates $500 million a year. Between the two is the Obama administration, which has all but decided that only one of the treasures can be brought to market. How the White House came to side with fish over gold is a complex tale that involves millionaire activists, Alaska Natives, lawsuits and one politically explosive question: Can the federal government say no to a property owner before he has a chance to explain what he wants to do? As early as this spring, the Environmental Protection Agency is expected to invoke a rarely used legal authority to bar a Canadian company, Northern Dynasty Minerals Ltd., from beginning work on its proposed Pebble Mine, citing risks to salmon and to Alaska’s pristine Bristol Bay, 150 miles downstream. The EPA’s position is supported by a broad coalition of conservationists, fishermen and tribal groups — and, most opinion polls show, a majority of Alaskans. National environmental groups, Hollywood celebrities and wealthy activists have made the defeat of the mine a top priority, raising millions of dollars to campaign against it. But the more consequential fight may be over how the mine is being blocked. By employing a rare preemptive “veto” — a tactic used only once in this manner in 40 years — the EPA has made itself the target of congressional Republicans who say the agency has stepped far outside the boundaries lawmakers envisioned with the adoption of the Clean Water Act in the 1970s. The agency’s handling of the case has prompted two lawsuits, one of which accuses the EPA of violating the 1972 Federal Advisory Committee Act, or FACA, intended to prevent unfair outside influence in government decisions. The EPA’s inspector general recently expanded a monthslong investigation into the agency’s handling of the case. Adding to the uproar are thousands of pages of internal EPA documents obtained by Northern Dynasty and released publicly to bolster its claims of improper collusion between the agency and mining opponents. The documents have spurred allegations that the EPA coordinated local opposition to the mine, coaching indigenous Alaskan groups in preparing petitions that would serve as the basis for a preemptive veto...

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:Sen. Murkowski Introduces Bill to Allow Energy Production on ANWR Coastal Plain
Feb13

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:Sen. Murkowski Introduces Bill to Allow Energy Production on ANWR Coastal Plain

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                       Contact: Robert Dillon (202) 224-6977 February 13, 2015                                                            Michael Tadeo (202) 224-5810                                     Sen. Murkowski Introduces Bill to Allow Energy Production on ANWR Coastal Plain   Washington, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, this week introduced legislation that would allow limited oil and natural gas activity within the non-wilderness coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR).   “For more than 30 years, Alaskans have shown that we can responsibly develop our natural resources without harming the environment,” Murkowski said. “Alaskans overwhelmingly support responsible development in the non-wilderness portion of ANWR – and there is simply no valid reason why we should not be allowed to access the world-class resources within just a tiny fraction of this immense area.”   Murkowski, chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, introduced the Authorizing Alaska Production Act (S. 494) on Feb. 12. The bill, cosponsored by Sen. Dan Sullivan, R-Alaska, would allow development of no more than 2,000 acres of the 1.5 million acres of the Arctic coastal plain – part of the non-wilderness portion of ANWR’s 19 million acres. That is equivalent to just 0.01 percent of the entire refuge.     “The legislation will help ensure America’s energy security for decades and allow Alaska – and our nation as a whole – to realize the benefits that come from expanding American energy production in Alaska,” Murkowski said.   The U.S. Geological Survey estimates the area is North America’s greatest prospect for conventional onshore oil production, with a mean likelihood of containing 10.4 billion barrels of oil and 8.6 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, as well as a reasonable chance of economically producing 16 billion barrels of oil.   With a resource potential comparable to Prudhoe Bay – the largest conventional oilfield in North America and one of the 20 largest fields in the world – the coastal plain represents an opportunity to create jobs, generate government revenues, keep energy prices affordable, and improve domestic energy security long into the future.   “Production and development of those resources will also prolong the life of the trans-Alaska oil pipeline, provide revenues to federal, state and local governments, support job creation, and strengthen America’s energy security,” Murkowski said.   The Trans-Alaska Pipeline System (TAPS), an engineering marvel that has served as one of America’s great energy arteries for decades, is facing more and more challenges from declining throughput. Closure of the pipeline would shut down all northern Alaska oil production, devastating Alaska’s economy and deepening U.S. dependence on unstable petrostates throughout the world.   “Since the ANWR coastal plain is less than 60 miles...

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Haycox wrong on ANWR and Alaska’s rights as a state
Feb11

Haycox wrong on ANWR and Alaska’s rights as a state

John Coghill,Chad Hutchison February 11, 2015 On Feb. 5, Steve Haycox published an opinion piece entitled, “Alaska leaders’ talk against Obama is cheap, and ignores the long-established law of the land [2].” Respectfully, we disagree with a few of the points made, particularly on the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Any unilateral executive branch movement towards “de facto” wilderness designations should properly be resisted by Alaska’s state and federal leaders. To briefly recap: Recently, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service under the U.S. Interior Department, recommended with the support of President Barack Obama, a revised comprehensive conservation plan that Congress designate 12 million more acres of ANWR as wilderness. If approved, all of ANWR’s approximate 19.2 million acres would be part of the national conservation system. That would include 1.5 million acres of the coastal plain area, also known as the “1002 area”. If a 2005 U.S. Geological Survey is correct, the coastal plain (in currently nondesignated wilderness sections), may have up to 10 billion barrels of undiscovered oil and 37 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. Many view the recommendation by itself as a further hindrance to potential development. The coastal plain, which already had very restrictive “minimal management,” may “de facto” be managed as wilderness (even without Congressional approval). As the state looks to the future and struggles to refill the pipeline, that’s not good news. To put this in context: Until the 1970s, the federal branches willingly assisted in the development of state resources (adopting the “wise use” philosophy). That’s changed. Now, as perceived by many, the agencies’ intent is to restrict development and preserve the “wild-nature” of large portions of Alaska. More often, this occurs against the majority will of the people who actually live in-state. On to Haycox’s opinion piece: President Barack Obama’s announcement last week that he endorses renewal of the Interior Department’s management plans for the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and National Petroleum Reserve, and that certain biologically sensitive areas of the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas are off-limits for oil drilling, generated a political firestorm in Alaska. Our political leaders cried foul. They argued that the federal government doesn’t have the right to do whatever it wants in Alaska, that Alaska has a sovereignty that empowers it to limit what the federal government can do here. Their anger is misplaced. (Emphasis added). Haycox misdiagnoses the anger. More precisely, the anger is correctly building against the federal executive branch, which, despite assertions to the contrary, cannot do “whatever it wants in Alaska.” President Obama has, through his agencies, established a troubling pattern throughout the state. Alaskans have become increasingly frustrated with “de facto” lawmaking beyond the authority of Congress. Haycox...

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“8 things to know about ANWR” -Dave Harbour
Feb03

“8 things to know about ANWR” -Dave Harbour

Brought to you by Northern Gas Pipelines Dave Harbour Publisher February 3, 2015:  From the Senate Energy And Natural Resources Committee President Obama recently announced his intention to lock up millions of acres of land and vast energy resources in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) by designating the area as wilderness. While the Wilderness Act requires the President to obtain congressional approval for wilderness designation, the Department of the Interior is expected to begin managing ANWR as wilderness pursuant to its upcoming conservation plan. As a result, millions of acres of land and billions of barrels of recoverable oil will become off limits to legitimate development against the will of an overwhelming majority of Alaskans. Here are a few facts to consider: 1.       The federal government owns 60 percent of Alaska. Alaska contains 365 million acres of land. The federal government owns 222 million of those acres, or an area larger than the combined size of California, Oregon, and Washington State.[1] The National Park Service and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service manage about half of the federal land for resource protection and wildlife conservation.[2] 2.       ANWR spans an area larger than many U.S. states. ANWR spans 19.2 million acres of land. That’s an area eight times larger than Yellowstone National Park or about the size of South Carolina.[3] 3.       Congress limited energy exploration to a small portion of ANWR. In 1980, Congress set aside 1.5 million acres of land on the north slope of ANWR for further study related to energy development. That small segment became known as the “1002 Area.”[4] It comprises only about 7 percent of ANWR. 4.       Developing oil in ANWR would impose only a small footprint. Under leading proposals for developing energy in ANWR, production and support facilities would require a footprint of only 2,000 acres within the 1002 Area.[5]That amounts to .01 percent of ANWR’s land area. 5.       ANWR contains a vast amount of oil resources. ANWR is believed to contain about 10.4 billion barrels of technically recoverable oil within the 1.5 million acres of the 1002 Area.[6] The Energy Information Administration (EIA) estimates that ANWR would produce around 1 million barrels of oil per day.[7] 6.       ANWR development is profitable even at today’s reduced prices. The EIA estimates that more than 80 percent of technically recoverable oil is commercially developable at an oil price under $40 per barrel.[8] That would value the oil resources in ANWR between $180 billion and $500 billion.[9] 7.       Opening ANWR would create tens of billions of dollars in new revenues. Tax and royalty revenues from leasing in ANWR would likely total between $90 and $190 billion...

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