Team Alaska at the podium. Alaska’s members of Congress celebrated their success Wednesday in opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling. The measure passed in the Republican tax bill with a final vote in the House. President Trump also applauded a victory for the Alaska delegation that was 37 years in the making. Little of the congressional debate was about the refuge. For hours at a time, no one mentioned it. But ANWR got big play on the South Lawn of the White House. “And ANWR … Oh, congratulations!” President Trump told the Alaska delegation. He invited each of them to take the mic.
Trump and Alaska’s oil revival? Drilling for crude in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge may be just the start as President Donald Trump seeks to revive Alaska’s beleaguered oil industry. Republicans in Congress handed the industry a long-sought victory on Tuesday, approving exploration in the vast Arctic preserve as part of their tax overhaul. The legislation, which Trump is expected to sign into law, would lift an almost 40-year old ban on prospecting for oil and natural gas in the refuge’s coastal plain, where endangered polar bears, caribou and other species roam.
Pebble wants a permit. A controversial proposed mine in southwest Alaska is taking another significant step forward. Pebble Limited Partnership has announced that tomorrow, it will apply for a federal Clean Water Act permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. It’s the first of many permit applications Pebble needs to file before it can build the proposed copper and gold mine. But it’s still a triumph for its backers. With this, Pebble will have checked off all three goals it wanted to accomplish this year: a settlement with the Environmental Protection Agency, a new partner and a permit application. Tom Collier is Pebble’s CEO. “We said we intended to accomplish all three of those this year and we think we’ve got the hat trick here, we think we got all three done and we’re pretty pleased,” said Pebble CEO Tom Collier.
Timing is everything. President Trump signed an executive order Wednesday to develop a national strategy to boost domestic production of critical minerals and reduce dependence on foreign imports of them. The order, directed toward Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, came a day after Zinke released an in-depth report concluding that the United States depends entirely or almost entirely on foreign imports for many important non-fuel minerals like titanium, fluorine, cobalt and manganese. Some of the minerals are essential to national security needs or common commercial products.
What’s on Dunleavy’s mind?
Trump lauds ANWR passage; Young: ‘We finally got it done’
Alaska Public Media, Liz Ruskin, December 20, 2017
Arctic Refuge Just the Start of Trump’s Move to Unlock Alaska Oil
Bloomberg, Alex Nussbaum, December 20, 2017
Pebble announces federal permit application
Alaska Public Media, Elizabeth Harball, December 21, 2017
Trump calls for strategy to boost domestic mineral production
The Hill, Timothy Cama, December 20, 2017