Headlamp – Respected Alaskans fighting for Resource Development: Minich, Rock and Merrick telling it like it is.

CIRI and ASRC heads tell Alaskans not to fall for Stand. Starting during the Alaska Federation of Natives Annual Convention this week, Alaskans will be confronted by signature gatherers asking them to sign a controversial new ballot initiative that claims to “Stand for Salmon.” As leaders of Alaska Native regional corporations, we urge you not to sign it. If you read nothing more, please remember this: We already stand for salmon. In July, the ANCSA Regional Association, an organization representing the 12 land-based Alaska Native regional corporations, voted unanimously to oppose this initiative. If passed, this measure could prevent our people from developing the lands conveyed to us under the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act, or ANCSA, and restrict our ability to create a sustainable future for Alaska Native people. Existing laws and regulations are working and this initiative is a disproportionate response to a problem that does not exist.

Walker weighs in again. A bipartisan group of governors, including Governor Bill Walker, is urging congressional leaders to support a plan to calm health insurance markets after President Donald Trump blocked federal subsidies to insurers. The letter, signed by Walker and 9 other governors, says, “Stabilizing insurance markets is one of the primary areas where Congress can take action to ensure that consumers have affordable health care options.”

Merrick: Give me Liberty! Hilcorp’s Liberty oil field is home to the largest undeveloped light oil reserve on the North Slope and presents an exciting opportunity for economic growth at a time when Alaska’s economy is struggling. With Alaska’s economic woes on our minds, Alaskans are ready for good news. And with the opportunity for boosting oil production, Hilcorp’s Liberty project is our good news, bringing jobs and increased state revenue. Hilcorp estimates that the Liberty oil field contains around 150 million barrels of recoverable, high-quality crude oil. The oil field is located 19 feet deep in federal offshore waters. The project will require a 9-acre island, generating construction jobs for Alaskans. Once built, the Liberty project could boost oil production by 50,000-70,000 barrels per day. This will help offset the decline in oil flowing through the trans-Alaska pipeline, which is now running at three-quarters empty. The pipeline has been Alaska’s economic engine for decades, and filling the pipeline will recharge Alaska’s economy.

Senators want LNG exports on the fast-track. A pair of Republican senators is proposing to fast-track the approval process for companies wishing to export relatively small-scale volumes of liquefied natural gas. Under the bill from Sens. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), applications to export up to 51.1 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day to nearly any country would get Energy Department approval “without modification or delay.” Currently, all natural gas exports from the contiguous United States must be extensively reviewed and certified by the Energy Department as being in the “public interest” before they can proceed.

From Washington Examiner’s Daily on Energy:

ARCTIC DRILLING FIGHT COULD CHALLENGE SENATE BUDGET DEBATE: The Senate is set to vote on its 2018 budget resolution, an important step for Republicans to achieve tax reform. But the vote could be challenged over a long-standing fight over drilling in an Alaskan wildlife refuge.

Democrats act: Democrats Wednesday night filed an amendment that would remove language in the budget that would allow oil and natural gas drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

Vote-a-rama: The amendment will get a vote as part of a marathon series of votes that could go into Friday morning.

The drilling proposal: The budget contains instructions for the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee to recommend policies to save $1 billion over the next decade, likely to be served by drilling in the refuge, a longstanding Republican goal.

Broader context: Republicans in Congress have long pressed to allow energy exploration in a 1.5 million-acre section of the Alaskan refuge, where billions of barrels of oil lie beneath the refuge’s coastal plain. But Democrats have blocked those efforts.

First Reads:

Don’t sign the ‘Stand for Salmon’ initiative
Alaska Dispatch News, Sophie Minich, Rex A. Rock Sr., October 18, 2017

Alaska governor voices support for new health insurance reform deal
KTUU, KTUU Staff and AP, October 18, 2017

State revenue, Alaska workers stand to gain by Liberty oil project
Alaska Dispatch News, A.J. “Joey” Merrick, October 18, 2018

Senate bill would fast-track ‘small-scale’ natural gas exports
The Hill, Timothy Cama, October 18, 2017