Headlamp – Walker makes the bottom 10; Sierra club loses in court.

Looks like we made it! Governor Walker is in the top (bottom really) 10 of “least popular governors.” The latest installment of Morning Consult’s Governor Approval Rankings — a survey of more than 255,000 registered voters nationwide conducted online from July 1 to Sept. 30 — features a shuffling at the top and bottom, along with a debutant on the list and a new entrant in the highest ranks.

Don’t confuse activity with results. Alaska Gov. Bill Walker (I) has signed an order establishing a climate change strategy for the state and appointing a board to investigate ways to limit its effects. Walker’s order calls on a team of experts to recommend “statuary and regulatory changes” in the state to help it deal with climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The group is directed to focus on adapting for, and responding to, the effects of climate change within Alaska, including rising sea levels and its impact on communities there. But the order aims to support the Paris climate agreement as well, seeking ways to reduce Alaska’s greenhouse gas emissions. The order calls for recommendations by Sept. 1, 2018. Lt. Gov. Byron Mallott (D) will spearhead the effort. As one Headlamp reader noted: I’m glad to see that the governor has firmly set his sights on something that he has absolutely no control over nor could we have A SIGNIFICANT impact upon. Headlamp would also note that the order leaves the decision making for later – like, after an election?

Can you have your cake and eat it, too? Senator Lisa Murkowski was unequivocal when asked recently about rising global temperatures. “Climate change is real,” the Alaska Republican told an audience in Anchorage. Yet her stance on drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is just as clear. Senator Murkowski, who heads the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, has long argued that it must happen, for the economic prosperity of her state and the security of the country. Her views — contradictory to some, a pragmatic balance for others — will take center stage on Thursday when the committee holds a hearing on opening part of the refuge to drilling, an effort to raise revenue for the federal government as part of a planned tax overhaul. For supporters of drilling in the Arctic refuge, the tax plan represents the best chance in decades to realize the dream of drilling for oil beneath the tundra.

Trump inspires coal miners. When Mike Sylvester entered a career training center earlier this year in southwestern Pennsylvania, he found more than one hundred federally funded courses covering everything from computer programming to nursing. He settled instead on something familiar: a coal mining course. “I think there is a coal comeback,” said the 33-year-old son of a miner. Despite broad consensus about coal’s bleak future, a years-long effort to diversify the economy of this hard-hit region away from mining is stumbling, with Obama-era jobs retraining classes undersubscribed and future programs at risk under President Donald Trump’s proposed 2018 budget. Trump has promised to revive coal by rolling back environmental regulations and moved to repeal Obama-era curbs on carbon emissions from power plants. “I have a lot of faith in President Trump,” Sylvester said.

From today’s Washington Examiner Daily on Energy:

SIERRA CLUB LOSES – COURT REJECTS GREENS’ SUIT AGAINST NATURAL GAS EXPORTS: The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday rejected an attempt by the Sierra Club and other groups to try to kill three liquefied natural gas export terminals approved by the Energy Department. The case against the three terminals in Maryland, Louisiana and Texas failed for the same reasons the environmental groups failed in an earlier lawsuit that the court rejected in August. “In a very recent case, Sierra Club v. U.S. Department of Energy (Freeport), this court denied a petition by Sierra Club challenging, under the same two statutes, the [Energy] Department’s approval of an LNG export application from a fourth facility. The court’s decision in Freeport largely governs the resolution of the instant cases,” the court’s panel of three judges wrote in their decision. Greens targeting energy dominance agenda: Wednesday’s ruling comes as environmental groups have filed a series of lawsuits against approvals of natural gas export terminals, which is a key part of President Trump’s energy dominance agenda.

New player on the North Slope mates! Oil Search has signed an agreement to acquire a number of oil assets in the Alaska North Slope from privately-owned companies Armstrong Energy LLC and GMT Exploration Company LLC. The assets include a 25.5% interest in the Pikka Unit and adjacent exploration acreage and a 37.5% interest in the Horseshoe Block. These leases contain approximately 500 million barrels (gross) in the Nanushuk and satellite oil fields, with Nanushuk being one of the largest conventional oil fields discovered in the US in more than 30 years. The acquisition will provide Oil Search with world class oil assets immediately adjacent to existing infrastructure. The Alaska North Slope is an established, prolific oil producing province, in the world’s largest developed economy, with an attractive fiscal regime. The assets complement the Company’s existing top quartile, high returning PNG gas portfolio and, with significant growth opportunities, have the potential to become, over time, a material business for Oil Search, of a scale equivalent to its PNG assets.

Walrus faring better than Polar Bears. Two of the Arctic’s most iconic animals face challenges with retreating sea ice. The Bush administration listed the polar bear under the Endangered Species Act in 2008. But recently, the Pacific walrus was denied the same protections under President Trump. Critics have called it a political decision. But the real story is likely a lot more complicated.

First Reads:

America’s Most and Least Popular Governors
Morning Consult, Cameron Easley, October 31, 2017

Alaska governor signs order on climate change strategy
The Hill, Devin Henry, October 31, 2017

An Alaska Senator Wants to Fight Climate Change and Drill for Oil, Too
The New York Times, Lisa Friedman, November 1, 2017

Awaiting Trump’s coal comeback, miners reject retraining
Reuters, Valerie Volcovici, November 1, 2017

Oil Search acquires world class oil assets in the prolific Alaska North Slope
November 1, 2017

One Arctic species is listed, one isn’t. Did politics play a role?
Alaska Public Media, Elizabeth Jenkins, October 31, 2017