Headlamp – Changes in Walker’s cabinet as Region 10 gets an Alaskan at the helm.

Alaskan taking the reins of Region 10. A member of Governor Bill Walker’s cabinet is taking a key position at the Environmental Protection Agency. The agency confirmed Tuesday that Chris Hladick will become the regional administrator overseeing EPA’s work in Alaska, Idaho, Oregon and Washington. Hladick is currently commissioner for the Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development. The Walker administration announced that Hladick will step down from that post on November 1. He will take the reins at EPA Region 10 in December.

Navarre back to state service. Mike Navarre has been tapped for the lead role at the Alaska Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development. Navarre has served as the Kenai Peninsula Borough mayor for the last six years. He will leave office in early November, after borough voters elect a new mayor in the upcoming runoff election on Oct. 24. In public comments, he has said he planned to take a role assisting Gov. Bill Walker in fixing the state’s ongoing fiscal crisis, but has not specifically said what that role is to be.

Democratic Party wins in court. A Juneau Superior Court judge’s ruling Tuesday could pave the way for Alaska Gov. Bill Walker, an independent, to run in the state Democratic Party’s primary and get the party’s support for his re-election campaign next year. Judge Philip Pallenberg, in a 33-page decision published Tuesday morning, invalidated a state law barring independent candidates from contesting partisan primaries. The Alaska Democratic Party had sued to overturn the law, arguing that it unconstitutionally restricted the party’s freedom to associate with its favored candidates. Pallenberg agreed, writing that political parties’ ability to run their chosen nominees, regardless of party affiliation, is an “essential associational right” established by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Making deals on ethanol. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) chief Scott Pruitt met with a handful of Midwestern senators on Tuesday, aiming to reassure them about support for the federal biofuels mandate. Pruitt met with lawmakers for nearly an hour in Sen. Chuck Grassley’s (R-Iowa) Senate office. The gathering comes as lawmakers of both parties raise concerns about proposed changes to Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). Grassley had suggested he could hold up several EPA nominees if Pruitt and the agency don’t provide more support for ethanol, a major industry in states his state and elsewhere.

Up, up, up! U.S. shale production for November is forecast to rise for a 11th consecutive month, the U.S. government said on Monday, as U.S. prices CLc1 stabilize around $50 a barrel. U.S. oil output is expected to increase by 82,000 barrels per day (bpd) to 6.12 million bpd, according to U.S. Energy Information Administration’s drilling productivity report. North Dakota’s Bakken output is set to rise by 7,600 bpd to 1.1 million bpd, the most since March 2016, while Eagle Ford oil output in Texas is set to rise by 2,500 bpd to 1.2 million bpd. Permian production is forecast to rise by 50,000 bpd to 2.7 million bpd, a new record, the EIA said.

First Reads:

Walker cabinet member to oversee EPA’s Northwest office
Alaska Public Media, Elizabeth Harball, October 17, 2017

Mike Navarre to take commissioner role
Peninsula Clarion, Elizabeth Earl, October 17, 2017

New court ruling could allow Alaska Gov. Walker, an independent, to run in Democratic primary
Alaska Dispatch News, Nathaniel Herz, October 17, 2017

Overnight Energy: Pruitt huddles with GOP senators on ethanol
The Hill, Timothy Cama and Devin Henry, October 17, 2017

U.S. shale output seen posting 11th straight rise in November: EIA
Reuters, Reuters Staff, October 16, 2017