Headlamp – Senator Sullivan smack down on the Washington Post.

Senator Sullivan smack down on the Washington Post. In expressing opposition to the responsible development of a small slice of Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, The Post’s editorial board recycled stale, 40-year-old talking points without adding a single voice from the vast majority of Alaskans — Democrats and Republicans — who support the development. In so doing, The Post failed to include a serious discussion about new technologies and environmental safeguards that would greatly limit the footprint of development in the area. Indeed, the fundamental disconnect in this debate about developing ANWR’s coastal plain, mirrored in The Post’s editorial, is that the debate has not kept up with Alaska’s world-class environmental standards or advancements in technology.

“Extraordinary” efforts from ConocoPhillips to protect Alaska. ConocoPhillips is pressing ahead with plans to drill a closely watched North Slope prospect starting in January, after taking steps to address the nearby village of Nuiqsut’s concerns. But the company still faces an uphill battle to drill at a site 3.5 mile east of Nuiqsut, said Mamie Pardue, the mayor. “The majority of the village is against it,” she said of the drilling. Opposition from the Inupiaq village of 450 stopped ConocoPhillips’ exploration plans at the Putu prospect last winter, the oil giant said. Putu means “hole” in Inupiaq. But this winter, ConocoPhillips has taken “extraordinary” steps to reduce impacts, said Lanston Chinn, chief executive of Kuukpik Corp., the village’s Native corporation. One key step involves running an electric line sheathed in protective ice about a mile across tundra to power the drilling rig. The electric drilling operation will be used instead of a diesel-fueled drilling rig.

No seven-year itch at Kensington. Kensington gold mine Assistant General Manager Mark Kiessling has a few statistics he’s optimistic about. The underground mine has milled three times more ore in 2016 than 2010, their first year of mining. Safety incident rates are down and cost efficiency has improved, Kiessling said at a Thursday Juneau Chamber of Commerce luncheon. Seven years in and the mine is hitting its stride, Kiessling said under holiday decorations and in front of a packed house at the Juneau Moose Lodge. Recovered ounces have increased year over year from just over 40,000 in 2010 to around 124,000 in 2016, he said. The mine has also improved its cost efficiency. It cost Kensington around $900 to produce an ounce of gold when it opened. Now, it costs around $800, a number much closer to industry standard.

From the Washington Post’s Daily on Energy:

FERC CHAIRMAN SLAMS PIPELINE PROTESTERS: Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Chairman Neil Chatterjee took a break from discussing a high-profile plan to prop up coal and nuclear plants on Thursday to criticize environmentalists’ efforts to delay pipeline approvals. All the oxygen in the room: “I understand the significance of that proceeding to everyone in this room, particularly our press friends in the corner, but as you know much has been written on this topic already,” Chatterjee told a natural gas industry luncheon in Washington. “It is a topic that has consumed much of the oxygen in the room over the past several weeks.” The plan looks to provide coal and nuclear plants with market-based incentives that would reward their ability to keep the lights on when the grid is significantly strained. The plan faces major opposition from oil and natural gas producers to the wind industry. Pipeline protesters delaying permits: Instead, Chatterjee used his remarks before the Natural Gas Roundtable to slam what he called the well-funded and legally savvy campaigns by climate change activist groups to significantly delay the natural gas pipeline approval process at FERC. Activists have targeted natural gas pipelines because of the perceived link between the drilling process known as fracking and pipeline development. Ideologically driven: “It is not hard to see that opposition to natural gas pipeline projects has become much more ideologically driven than it used to be,” Chatterjee said.

FATE OF ARCTIC DRILLING RESTS ON GOP TAX BILL VOTE FRIDAY: Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, chairwoman of the Senate Natural Resources Committee, said Republicans have overcome a procedural snag and are on track to pass a bill allowing drilling in Arctic National Wildlife Refuge as part of the Senate’s tax reform package. Without providing details, Murkowski took to the Senate floor Thursday night to say she was re-submitting a second version of the ANWR bill after Republicans ran into procedural problems.

First Reads:

Developing Alaska’s wildlife refuge is a win-win-win
The Washington Post, Dan Sullivan, 11/30/17

ConocoPhillips moves forward with plans to drill near North Slope village
Anchorage Daily News, Alex DeMarban, 11/30/17

Seven years in, Kensington hits production high
Juneau Empire, Kevin Gullufsen, 12/01/17