Oregon invades Alaska to sue the state. An Anchorage judge heard arguments Monday on whether a lawsuit brought by sixteen young Alaskans suing the state over climate change should advance. The plaintiffs in the case, Sinnok v. State of Alaska, argue the state is violating their constitutional rights by failing to limit greenhouse gas emissions – and they’re asking the courts to intervene. But the state says climate change policies must be decided by the legislature and the executive branch, not the courts. About a dozen of the young plaintiffs, ranging in age from elementary school to their early 20s, sat in the front row of the small courtroom during the hour-long arguments. They watched as Assistant Attorney General Seth Beausang, arguing for the state, asked the court to dismiss the case entirely. Beausang said past court rulings have established that only the elected branches of government can balance the impacts of climate change against other interests, like economic development. “The court said that weighing all those interests was a policy decision entrusted to the political branches, and not to the courts,” Beausang said. That ruling came in a similar climate change case, Kanuk v State of Alaska, dismissed by the Alaska Supreme Court in 2014. That case and this new one were both brought with the help of an Oregon-based nonprofit, Our Children’s Trust, which has filed legal actions on behalf of young people across the country demanding action on climate change.
From the Iditarod to the Legislature? Iditarod mushing icon DeeDee Jonrowe may not have run her last great race after all. Jonrowe, who competed this year in what she says is her last Iditarod, is now contemplating a run for elected office, she said Monday. “It’s fair to say that there are a lot of people that seem to think that I have something to offer,” Jonrowe, a Republican, said in a phone interview from her home in Willow. She added: “It is a dilemma.” Jonrowe, 64, has started 36 Iditarods and twice finished as runner-up. She dropped out 150 miles into this year’s race after suffering flu-like symptoms. Jonrowe, a cancer and car crash survivor beloved by fans and fellow mushers, would bring a compelling biography to political office. She was in Juneau last week to receive a citation from the Legislature — an experience that she said helped boost her interest in politics. But Jonrowe said she has to balance her enthusiasm with what she described as loose ends in her personal life. Her parents both died in the past five years, and her home burned down in a 2015 wildfire
Low investment in cyber security a hacker’s dream. How much is cyber security worth to the U.S. energy industry? Not a whole lot apparently. Two prominent security consultant firms estimate that energy companies, ranging from drillers to pipeline operators to utilities, invest less than 0.2 percent of their revenue in cyber security. For context, that’s at least a third less than the corresponding figure for banks and other financial institutions, according to the consultants, Precision Analytics LLC and the CAP Group. What makes the lack of investment even more worrisome is that the number of hacker groups targeting the energy sector is soaring. Symantec Corp. says it’s tracking at least 140 groups, up from 87 in 2015, some with links to foreign countries. And it’s just one of many security firms working with the industry. “It’s scary,” said Brian Walker, a former head of Marathon Oil Corp.’s global IT and now an independent consultant. Executives making funding decisions “aren’t necessarily millennials who intuitively understand” how cyberthreats reach seemingly disconnected units, he said. “It’s guys my age that are the problem,” according to Walker, who said he’s in his early 50s. “We’ve been 30-years trained in a world that doesn’t work this way anymore.”
Offshore drilling and military training can co-exist. When Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke announced plans to consider unlocking the energy America has offshore, he probably expected howls of outrage from the multimillionaires who live along the coast and politicians who represent them. What he probably didn’t expect, though, was the criticism from some supporters of the military. They worry that more drilling could disrupt offshore training exercises and impact military preparedness. Offshore drilling has long coexisted with military training. For years, oil exploration has occurred near military bases and seaports in the Gulf of Mexico without hampering operations or readiness. That’s because the federal agencies involved, the Departments of Defense and Interior, carefully synchronize operations and set strict standards for safety. In fact, studies conducted by the Department of Defense show that offshore drilling, with some restrictions on permanent structures, is compatible with military requirements for 89 percent of the surface area of the eastern Gulf of Mexico and 95 percent of the Atlantic seaboard.
From today’s Washington Examiner, Daily on Energy:
AMERICAN PETROLEUM INSTITUTE EXPECTED TO TAP FORMER BOEHNER AIDE AS CEO: The American Petroleum Institute is expected to name Mike Sommers, who was a top aide to former House Speaker John Boehner, as its next CEO, according to reports Monday.
Resume, please: Sommers has been president and CEO of the American Investment Council, which represents private equity investors since February 2016. Before that, he was chief of staff to Boehner, R-Ohio. He was also special assistant to former President George W. Bush at the National Economic Council in 2005. There, he advised the president on agriculture, trade, and food policy.
Replacing a titan: Sommers, if approved by the API board this week, would replace Jack Gerard, who is retiring as the oil industry’s top lobbyist in Washington. API is the main trade group representing the oil and natural gas industry.
The group would not confirm plans to hire Sommers.
“The successor to Jack Gerard will be announced at the appropriate time once the committee has completed its work,” a API spokesman said.
Can courts force action on climate change? Sixteen young Alaskans hope so.
Alaska Public Media, Rachel Waldholz, April 30, 2018
Iditarod icon DeeDee Jonrowe considers a political race
Anchorage Daily News, Nathaniel Herz, April 30, 2018
Energy Companies Aren’t Doing Much to Defend Against Soaring Cyber Attacks
Bloomberg Technologies, Naureen S. Malik, April 27, 2018
Offshore energy and a strong military go hand-in-hand
Houston Chronicle, Michael James Barton, May 1, 2018