Headlamp – Never kill a rule that’s already dying.  

Never kill a rule that’s already dying. A federal appeals court has dismissed a lawsuit over the validity of a hydraulic-fracturing regulation instituted by the Obama administration. The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Thursday that a lawsuit over the rule is unnecessary because the Trump administration is working to repeal the rule. The court also vacated a lower judge’s ruling that the Bureau of Land Management had overstepped its bounds by trying to regulate fracking. The court ruled that it would not consider the merits of the rule — and instead overturned a lower court’s decision to do so — because the government is working to undo it.

One giant step for IEP. The Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority board unanimously passed House Bill 105 resolution for the Interior Energy Project on Thursday, clearing a major hurdle in bringing more natural gas to the Interior. House Bill 105 authorized financing for the Interior Energy Project, but certain requirements had to be met before these tools could be accessed. A recent deal with Hilcorp — a Texas-based natural gas developer with an operation in the Cook Inlet — to supply natural gas to the Interior through March 31, 2021, helped AIDEA meet those requirements. This resolution unlocks those financing tools. “Not having those finances was holding us up,” said Gene Therriault, the Interior Energy Project’s team lead at AEDIA. “We’ve got a (request for proposal) on the streets right now for the storage tank, and we’re making considerations to expand the liquefaction plant — all of those things can move forward. And that expanded capacity (to deliver natural gas to more customers) cannot move forward until those are built.” The financing package includes $57.5 million in state funds, plus $275 million in financing: $125 million Sustainable Energy Transmission Supply program (SETS) loans, and an authorization to take out $150 million in AIDEA bonds to complete the project.

Pennies from heaven, aka, Secretary Zinke. On Thursday, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke announced that $856,021 will be distributed to the state of Alaska for outdoor recreation and conservation projects, through the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF). The LWCF is a federal grant program that provides funds in partnership with individual states and U.S. territories from offshore oil and gas leasing. “From Detroit, Michigan, to Juneau, Alaska, the program benefits citizens across the nation by helping state and local governments make infrastructure investments in urban, suburban and rural parks,” said Zinke. The Alaska Department of Natural Resources reports “37 million in LWCF grants has been invested in about 350 projects in Alaska, since inception of the program in 1965.”

Another entry in the Governor’s race. Business entrepreneur and political activist Scott Hawkins has filed a letter of intent to run for governor, becoming the third major Republican candidate to do so. Hawkins founded and has operated a supply chain management company for 18 years, with business in Alaska, the Lower 48, the Caribbean, and South America. Advanced Supply Chain International (ASCI) has approximately 200 employees. Hawkins has been active in politics with The Accountability Project and AlaskaWins.org, which helps produce the annual Alaska Business Report Card, a project that scores legislators on how pro-business and pro-jobs their actions are in Juneau using a detailed and rigorous scoring criteria. Hawkins is an economist by training and said his candidacy will focus on Alaska’s economy and growing jobs, as well as on closing the fiscal gap and public safety issues. “In talking with people across Alaska, it is clear to me that voters are very dissatisfied. They overwhelmingly feel that Alaska is on the wrong track, and they hold our current leaders responsible. They are ready for a change of direction. They are ready for a governor who will bring new solutions and fresh ideas to Juneau,” Hawkins said. The letter of intent allows Hawkins to raise funds and talk with Alaskans across the state about the future. Headlamp appreciates that Hawkins company ASCI is a long-time member of the Alliance and that he has been a strong advocate for responsible resource development in Alaska.

First Reads:

AIDEA clears path for natural gas
Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, Kevin Baird, September 22, 2017

Department Interior to give $850,000 to Alaska for outdoor recreation
KTUU, Sean Maguire, September 21, 2017

Court dismisses lawsuit over Obama-era fracking rule
The Hill, Devon Henry, September 21, 2017

Breaking: Hawkins files for governor; focus will be on economy, dividends, crime
Must Read Alaska, Suzanne Downing, September 21, 2017