Headlamp – If you don’t have the facts, you can’t be wrong.

mining mattersIgnorance is bliss – opposition groups refuse meeting. An advisory committee made of Alaskans and others from the lower 48 states met for an in person meeting with the Pebble Partnership Monday in Anchorage. The Pebble Partnership invited opposition groups to hear about its future plans for a mine project in the Bristol Bay Region but they declined. “At a very high level we just did an outline on some of our thoughts that we started to share about a smaller mine plan and for the rest of our Alaska audience that’s something we’ll be doing in a more formal way this fall,” said Pebble Partnership Spokesperson Mike Heatwole. At the same time a group of protesters gathered on the corner of 4th avenue and K Street. Many carried anti-Pebble Mine signs and chanted “wrong mine, wrong place.”

Game on for ANWR!! Spurred by a president who wants oil companies to drill in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, federal geologists have begun poking around the controversial Alaska coastal plain, collecting oil-soaked rocks to help update the area’s petroleum potential. The recent fieldwork adds to studies already underway by the U.S. Geological Survey. The work is helping geologists get a jump-start on Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s order in May seeking updated oil and gas assessments of the 19 million-acre refuge.

Icewine early success. A unique effort to test the benefits of hydraulic fracturing on the North Slope is still underway, but the focus is shifting away from a well that’s already been drilled to new sites 25 miles to the west. Accumulate Energy Alaska drilled a production test well this summer from an existing gravel pad along the Dalton Highway. Oil-flow tests are still underway at that well, known as Icewine No. 2. But early information helped determine “the size and extent of the oil bearing formations, and the best means for producing from them,” says Accumulate, in a proposed update to its oil spill contingency plans filed with Alaska regulators July 31. The proposed changes, announced by the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation on Thursday, are under agency review.

Life support. A federal bankruptcy judge on Monday approved a $1 million loan to keep the lights on and the doors open at Alaska Dispatch News as the company works its way through a Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Judge Gary Spraker and Northrim Bank also gave the OK for Alaska Dispatch News to use its money in its bank account to pay wages to employees and to pay past-due health insurance premiums.

No go for Manchin. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) is quashing speculation that he’ll leave the Senate to become President Trump’s Energy secretary. The Democratic senator, who is facing a tough 2018 reelection bid, said at a town hall that he would not be jumping to the Trump administration.

Are we better off than we were 4 years ago? Gov. Bill Walker registered Monday as a candidate for next year’s election for governor. He’ll be joined again on an unaffiliated ticket by Lt. Gov. Byron Mallott. Walker said being unaffiliated has helped him and Mallott work on issues without concern about party politics. It will allow them to avoid a primary battle before a general election that could include candidates for both major parties. “I think it will be a lively race,” Walker said. “I think there will be lots of competition, not for us certainly in the primary, but in the general. We’ll see how that plays out and we’ll just continue to do our job in making Alaska a safer place, and work on the fiscal situation and work on the future of the state, in terms of growing Alaska.”

Korea looking to ship through the Russian Arctic. As Arctic ice reaches historical lows, Asian shipping companies are developing more interest in trans-shipments along the Northern Sea Route, the Russian Arctic connection between Asia and Europe. Hyundai Merchant Marine is planning to use container ships capable of carrying 2,500-3,500 twenty-foot equivalent units, or TEUs, on the route, newspaper Korea Times reports with reference to industry sources. Trial shipments might start in year 2020. According to the newspaper, Korean President Moon Jae-in discussed an enhanced Arctic cooperation with Russia’s Vladimir Putin during the recent G20 summit in Germany. The Northern Sea Route is also likely to be on the agenda in talks between the two presidents during the upcoming Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok.

First Reads:

New effort underway to find how much oil is beneath ANWR, NPR-A
Alaska Dispatch News, Alex DeMarban, August 21, 2017

After fracking test launched on North Slope, company presses ahead to drill two new wells
Alaska Dispatch News, Alex DeMarban, August 21, 2017

Judge approves crucial loan to keep Alaska Dispatch News operating through bankruptcy
Alaska Dispatch News, Annie Zak, August 21, 2017

Pebble Partnership seeks feedback on mine plans, opposition groups decline invitation
KTUU, Dan Carpenter, August 21, 2017

Walker, Mallott file to run for re-election
KTOO Public Media, Andrew Kitchenman, August 21, 2017

Manchin rules out becoming Trump’s Energy secretary
The Hill, Jordain Carney, August 18, 2017

Korean company eyes container shipping along Russia’s Arctic coast
Arctic Now/The Barents Observer, Atle Staalesen, August 22, 2017