Secretary William S. Cohen Announces An Independent Review Of Whether The United States Environmental Protection Agency Acted Fairly In Connection With Its Evaluation Of Potential Mining In
Mar30

Secretary William S. Cohen Announces An Independent Review Of Whether The United States Environmental Protection Agency Acted Fairly In Connection With Its Evaluation Of Potential Mining In

Secretary William S. Cohen Announces An Independent Review Of Whether The United States Environmental Protection Agency Acted Fairly In Connection With Its Evaluation Of Potential Mining In The Bristol Bay, Alaska Watershed WASHINGTON, March 24, 2015 /PRNewswire/ — Former Defense Secretary William S. Cohen announced today that he and his firm, The Cohen Group, assisted by law firm DLA Piper, will conduct an independent review of whether the US Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) acted fairly in connection with its evaluation of potential mining in the Bristol Bay, Alaska watershed. Secretary Cohen has been retained by the Pebble Limited Partnership, which holds mineral claims to State of Alaska lands in this area. Secretary Cohen will evaluate the fairness of EPA’s actions and decisions in this matter based upon a thorough assessment of the facts and informed by his experience as Secretary of Defense as well as his 24 years as a member of the US House of Representatives and Senate. He will have full discretion as to the means and manner of carrying out this review to ensure that it is thorough and unbiased. “An investigation being conducted by the EPA’s Office of Inspector General; inquiries and hearings into EPA actions by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform; and, more recently, an inquiry by the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, as well as documents produced in response to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests, have each raised questions as to whether the EPA proceeded fairly in its activities surrounding potential mining in the Bristol Bay watershed,” Secretary Cohen stated. “Our review will focus on the fairness of the EPA’s actions. We are not evaluating and will not express an opinion as to whether the Pebble Limited Partnership ultimately should be granted permission to mine the Pebble deposit. And, as was well documented during my years in public service, I have been a strong supporter of the EPA’s mandate to protect the environment and keep our nation’s waterways safe for human health as well as fish and wildlife,” Secretary Cohen explained. “A condition of accepting this assignment is that I have complete independence and discretion as to how this work will be conducted. I will follow the evidence wherever it might lead, and I will conduct this independent review as fairly and thoroughly as possible. Any conclusions that I draw from this review will be based upon the facts that I find and my judgment based on years of experience in government,” Secretary Cohen explained. “I have agreed to undertake this effort after reviewing a wide range of available documents, including those produced in response to FOIA requests,...

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Apache Seeks Letter of Authorization from NMFS
Mar30

Apache Seeks Letter of Authorization from NMFS

March 16, 2015 To Whom It May Concern: This document highlights Apache Alaska (Apache), their accomplishments and recognitions for their operations in Cook Inlet, Alaska. Also noted are the positive impacts further exploration and development in Cook Inlet has and will continue to have on Alaska and its economy. Apache has recently applied for a five-year Letter of Authorization (LOA) from the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) for their proposed Cook Inlet exploratory seismic operations. Apache appreciates your consideration in supporting this effort. Apache • Apache has leased over 850,000 acres of onshore, tidal, and offshore areas in Cook Inlet since 2010. • Apache has worked closely with scientists, stakeholders, tribes, and state and federal government agencies to ensure their industry operations are conducted while minimizing impact to Cook Inlet beluga whales and other marine mammals. • Apache has maintained open communication with tribal and local government entities. • Apache has gone far beyond basic mandates and employed the first wireless seismic node survey in its industry. • In 2013, Apache received the Chairman’s Stewardship Award from the Interstate Oil & Gas Compact Commission (IOGCC) for this use of the nodal system and resulting efforts to minimize environmental impact in Cook Inlet. • Since 2011, Apache has worked closely with NMFS to achieve the appropriate incidental take authorizations (ITAs) and conduct operations in compliance with those authorizations. Cook Inlet • Cook Inlet has incredible potential for oil and gas exploration and development. This is driven by consumer demand and the favorable location of these resources in Southcentral Alaska, where over 60 percent of the state’s population resides. • Cook Inlet oil and gas resources are comprised of approximately 1 billion barrels of oil and 1.2 trillion cubic feet of gas1. • Recently, there has been a revival of interest and development of oil and gas resources in Cook Inlet, with potential for more activity in the area in the coming years. • In 2014, Cook Inlet oil operations increased output by 25 percent, and production has doubled since 2010, from 8,900 barrels per day to 16,288 barrels per day2. • These results invite further investment from exploration companies. • Jobs created from industry operations in Cook Inlet have helped keep unemployment rates in the Kenai Peninsula Borough at record lows2. • More than one third of Alaska’s jobs are tied to the oil and gas industry (34 percent petroleum sector, 26 percent government sector, and 40 percent other sectors)3. • For a single oil and gas industry job, 20 other jobs are created through industry spending (9 in the private sector and 11 in the government)3. Impacts to Marine...

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Action Alert-Additional Information–Public Notice Instream Flow Reservations-Chuitna Coal Mine
Mar30

Action Alert-Additional Information–Public Notice Instream Flow Reservations-Chuitna Coal Mine

Additional Information:   Please tell DNR they should reject the proposed In stream Flow Reservations   What is an In‐stream Flow Water Reservation? DNR may grant a property right to keep a minimum amount of water within a stream. The right is named an in stream flow reservation (IFR) because it keeps the water in the stream.   This right prohibits others from withdrawing or diverting the reserved water from the stream.  Under Alaska law, anyone – a person, agency, environmental organization, etc. – may apply.  Alaska is the only state that allows an in stream flow reservation to be granted to a non‐government entity.     Approving the in stream flow is not in the public interest and ignores the statutory requirement to consider competing applications together. When there are competing applications to use the same water, state law ¾ AS 46.15.090¾ requires DNR to review competing applications at the same time.  This is required so that the state can select the use that is the most beneficial to the State.  The Chuitna Coal Mine permitting processes will inform the public of the potential environmental effects, proposed methods of protecting fish habitat and stream flow, and benefits of the mine. The public will have the opportunity to comment during those processes.Processing the in stream flow applications requires DNR to evaluate the potential public interest. It makes sense to evaluate the water right request and the mine permits together, after the public can view mitigation, potential impacts, and benefits through the permitting processes. But it does not make sense to adjudicate a flow reservation application before mine permit evaluation is complete.      The proposed in stream flow reservation is intended to stop the Chuitna Project before the permit process. If DNR approves the application, a certificate is issued and the reserved water is removed from appropriation for with draw al or diversion. The mine would be prohibited from diverting that water to maintain downstream flow unless DNR later revokes the reservation.    Pre‐empting the permit process is wrong.  Alaska’s businesses and public rely on Alaska’s permit process…that is what it is there for. If organizations can pre‐empt the permit processes, why would anyone invest? If the agencies determine that the mine project’s plan meet regulatory requirements ¾ including requirements to maintain fish habitat and stream flow ¾ the project should be allowed to proceed but the in‐stream flow reservations are impediments to development. If the agencies determine that the coal project’s plans do not meet regulatory requirements, the project will not receive the required permits and there is no need for the in‐stream flow reservation. The state of Alaska has nothing...

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Drema Fitzhugh joins Hawk Consultants LLC
Mar27

Drema Fitzhugh joins Hawk Consultants LLC

  Drema Fitzhugh joins Hawk Consultants LLC   We are pleased to announce the addition of Drema Fitzhugh to the Hawk team as Business Development Manager. She will be focused on securing new clients and new employees and maintaining relationships with our current clients. She comes to Hawk with 17 years of experience in oil and gas business development and marketing. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from the University of Houston. She will be based in our Anchorage office.   Hawk is an Alaska-based firm specializing in project management services for owners, contractors, developers and engineers. We serve the energy industry, the public sector, and private organizations responsible for delivering major projects.    ...

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Landlocked: Murkowski Explains Alaskans’ Access Frustrations
Mar12

Landlocked: Murkowski Explains Alaskans’ Access Frustrations

 WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, today released a video to help broadcast the Alaska #ThisIsOurLand movement’s agenda to a wider national audience. With Alaskans reeling from the Obama administration’s ongoing efforts to block off millions of onshore and offshore acres from energy development, Murkowski produced the two-minute film to speak plainly to Americans who may be unaware of the federal government’s costly, ever-growing overreach in Alaska. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) Explains the State of her State In the video, Murkowski points out that 61 percent of Alaska’s lands are controlled by the federal government – and that almost none of those lands are truly open to energy production.  Instead of allowing Alaskans to responsibly develop the State’s vast resource potential, the Obama Administration has converted an additional 12.2 million acres within ANWR into de facto wilderness; withdrawn 9.8 million additional acres in the offshore Arctic; removed roughly half of the National Petroleum Reserve (NPR-A) from leasing; planned a 685,000-acre “Area of Critical Environmental Concern” in the Fortymile Mining District; proposed sweeping critical habitat designations; and preemptively targeted potential development on State lands. All of this and more has occurred in conjunction with a series of major federal rules – from the “Waters of the United States” expansion to EPA’s climate regulations – that will bring additional costs and consequences for energy development in Alaska.            Text of Senator Murkowski’s Remarks     “Hi this is Lisa Murkowski, Senator for Alaska. And I want to talk you about the state of my State.    “Alaska is about one-fifth of our country, by land mass.  We’re twice as big as Texas, with North Carolina thrown in for good measure.   “If Alaska was overlaid on the Lower 48, we’d stretch from California to South Carolina.  That’s a lot of land – but what you may not know, is who controls it.   “The National Park Service manages about 15 percent. The Bureau of Land Management controls another 20 percent. The Fish and Wildlife Service administers 19 percent. The Forest Service controls another six percent down in Southeast. Then you add one percent for the Department of Defense, and the federal government controlling about 61 percent of Alaska’s lands.    “That’s more land than Texas and Utah combined. So who controls the rest?   “The State of Alaska has 27 percent. Alaska Natives have 12 percent. And that leaves just one-quarter of one percent of Alaska as private land – barely even noticeable on a map.   “And while the State and Alaska Natives do their best to foster economic development, the federal government has taken the opposite approach.    “All...

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