Headlamp –Stand for Salmon = Stand for Job Loss

Stand for Salmon = Stand for job loss. A controversial ballot initiative intended to protect salmon habitat has cleared a major hurdle, setting up what could be an intense political fight. A judge in Anchorage on Monday ruled that Lt. Gov. Byron Mallott was wrong to deny the initiative, organized by the nonprofit Stand for Salmon. Mallott rejected the ballot measure in September, arguing it would tie the state’s hands and prioritize salmon habitat over other potential uses of state land, like mining or oil development. The state said if it’s enacted, the measure could complicate efforts to build projects like roads, pipelines and the proposed Pebble Mine. The initiative is also opposed by a wide range of industry groups. At a hearing last week, Valerie Brown with Trustees for Alaska, who represented Stand for Salmon, argued the ballot initiative isn’t aimed at prohibiting development, though it would add to the permitting process. Superior Court Judge Mark Rindner agreed. In his ruling, he called it “pure speculation” to predict the impact of the initiative. Headlamp has great concern with the ruling and the initiative in general. Our read is that it would in fact impact resource development and development in general throughout the state. Alaska cannot afford to be closed for business by this effort.

Big day for Alaska’s economy. Conservation groups and industry supporters will face off in Anchorage Tuesday night as federal regulators wrap up hearings on a proposal to build the first offshore oil production facility in the Arctic Ocean’s federal waters. Hilcorp Alaska’s Liberty Prospect could produce up to 65,000 barrels of oil daily, boosting the Alaska economy with increased oil production and more jobs, supporters say. Environmental forces fear development will threaten critical subsistence resources, such as bowhead whales hunted by Alaska Native communities.

Gray-Jackson files for state Senate. Former Anchorage Assembly Chair Elvi Gray-Jackson is running for office again — this time in the Alaska state senate. Gray-Jackson is launching a bid for Senator Berta Gardner’s seat after Gardner announced Saturday, she will not be running for re-election next year. After five years in office, Gardner says she’s retiring to spend more time with family. Gray-Jackson was chair of the Assembly in 2016, before hitting her nine-year term limit.

5 million barrels for Iraq? Chevron Corp. and Total SA have expressed readiness to help develop Iraq’s giant Majnoon oil field, which Royal Dutch Shell Plc said it wants to quit, according to Iraqi Oil Minister Jabbar al-Luaibi. Iraq hasn’t started negotiations with Chevron and Total on the 200,000-barrel-a-day field, al-Luaibi told reporters in Baghdad. Shell hasn’t quit Majnoon and the Iraqi oil ministry is still in talks with the producer, he said. A person familiar with the matter told Bloomberg last month that Chevron was considering buying Shell’s stakes in the Majnoon and West Qurna-1 oil fields. “Until now, we are still in talks with Shell, and no decision has been made in relation to exiting the Majnoon field,” al-Luaibi said. He hopes to “reach a satisfactory deal for the two parties.” Total didn’t immediately comment. “It’s not our policy to comment on market rumors or speculation,” a Chevron spokesman said. Shell said in an emailed statement Monday that Iraq’s oil minister “formally endorsed a recent Shell proposal to pursue an amicable and mutually acceptable release of the Shell interest in Majnoon, with the timeline to be agreed in due course.” Iraq, the second-largest producer in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, reluctantly agreed in November to participate in production cuts to help end a global oil glut and has vowed to keep expanding capacity to be ready for the end of the deal next year. It pumped about 4.6 million barrels a day in December, just before the curbs took effect, and development of the West Qurna-1, Halfaya and Zubair oil fields could take the nation toward capacity of 5 million barrels a day, according to consultant Wood Mackenzie.

First Reads:

Hilcorp’s proposed Arctic Ocean oil development gets public review Tuesday
Alaska Dispatch News, Alex DeMarban, October 9, 2017

Judge overrules state, says salmon initiative can go forward
Alaska Public Media, Elizabeth Harball, October 9, 2017

Elvi Gray-Jackson launches bid for state senate
KTVA, Liz Raines, October 9, 2017

Iraq Says Chevron, Total Want to Work at Majnoon Oil Field
Bloomberg, Kadhim Ajrash & Khalid Al Ansary, October 9, 2017