AGDC: New board members – Big bonus paid while major milestone missed.

Gas line corporation president awarded $296,000 bonus as new board members chosen
Alex DeMarban, Anchorage Daily News, January 7, 2019

Gov. Mike Dunleavy announced changes to the board of the state gas line agency on Monday, the same day officials confirmed the head of the agency was awarded $296,000 in bonuses in late December. The performance-based bonuses for Keith Meyer, president of the Alaska Gasline Development Corp., come atop his $550,000 annual salary, the highest at the state.

Our Take: This bonus is completely on par and very common for executives at this level. The challenge is the optics: budget deficit, reduced PFD, performance bonus while missing a major deadline on December 31st.

Breaking: Dunleavy changes gasline board members
Suzanne Downing, Must Read Alaska, January 7, 2019

JOEY MERRICK, HUGH SHORT DISMISSED; DAN COFFEY, DOUG SMITH REPLACE

Gov. Michael Dunleavy today announced key changes and appointments to the seven-member board of directors governing the Alaska Gasline Development Corporation. But not before the previous board gave AGDC President Keith Meyer a $300,000 performance bonus for his work over the past two years, adding to his $550,000 base annual salary. Meyer’s contract is up this year. The board had given him $138,750 for June 2017, and $157,256 for 2018. Dunleavy has now changed out four of the seven members of the board, so Alaskans might expect more changes ahead in coming days.

Our Take: Congratulations to former Alliance board President Doug Smith! What a great private sector addition to the board. Thanks to Alliance member Joey Merrick for his service on the board.

Mining reform advocates dust off battle plan
Dylan Brown, E & E Daily, January 8, 2019

A power shift in the House and a new crop of lawmakers have mining critics reviving their attempt to fundamentally change the law that governs the practice, and companies are readying their counterattack. Step one for reformers is a major education campaign on the 1872 General Mining Act; step two is navigating the new political landscape on Capitol Hill. Debates surrounding mining will see a fundamental shift. Beyond the 95 new members, 58 percent of House Democrats have never worked in the majority and 70 percent of House Republicans have never been in the minority. The most recent iteration, H.R. 5753, would have replaced mining claims with a federal leasing system similar to other commodities.

Our Take: Reality check: “Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chairwoman Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) is likely to keep working on making permitting faster and reducing American dependence on so-called critical minerals.”

From the Washington Examiner Daily on Energy:

OIL AND GAS INDUSTRY GROUPS URGES END TO GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN: The oil and gas industry is urging the Trump administration and Congress Tuesday to resolve the government shutdown before the energy industry is harmed.

“A longer shutdown is certainly not good for this industry,” said Mike Sommers, the president and CEO of API, the main trade group representing the oil and natural gas industry, in comments to reporters ahead of its 2018 State of American Energy event in Washington on Tuesday afternoon.

Sommers said the industry has not experienced any setbacks so far. Bloomberg reported Tuesday that the Trump administration is still processing oil and gas permits for drilling on federal land and water during the government shutdown.

But the industry fears a prolonged shutdown could slow progress at the EPA and Interior Department to roll back environmental regulations

TRUMP’S TRADE WAR IS ‘NOT GOOD FOR BUSINESS’ OIL AND GAS INDUSTRY SAYS: Sommers also encouraged the Trump administration on Tuesday to resolve its trade dispute with China, and to soften its broader approach to imposing barriers on markets for goods.

The oil and gas group’s CEO said he is “encouraged” by reports that U.S-China trade talks are making progress.

But he said: “We want this dispute to end quickly.”

“We need to do it in way that doesn’t affect American economic leadership that is really driven by American energy leadership,” Sommers added.

LNG and infrastructure are affected: Sommers specifically expressed concern about China’s 10 percent tariff on American liquified natural gas, which it imposed in October in retaliation to Trump’s tariffs.

Industry officials have warned that Trump’s trade war with Beijing is threatening to discourage China, the world’s fastest growing LNG market, from signing long-term contracts with American developers.

“We need to make sure retaliatory tariffs on LNG don’t continue and certainly don’t expand,” Sommers said.

Sommers added that Trump’s 25 percent steel tariffs are raising costs for energy infrastructure that API says is needed to transport record U.S. production of oil and natural gas.