Headlamp – Zinke keeps the monuments; is Greenpeace an eco-terrorist?

A monumental decision. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said he’s recommending that none of 27 national monuments carved from wilderness and ocean and under review by the Trump administration be eliminated. But there would be changes to a “handful,” he said. Zinke told The Associated Press that unspecified boundary adjustments for some monuments designated over the past four decades will be included in the recommendations he planned to give President Donald Trump on Thursday. None of the sites would revert to new ownership, he said, while public access for uses such as hunting, fishing or grazing would be maintained or restored.

A road by any other name…The Bureau of Land Management’s official visitors guide paints an ominous picture of travel on the remote Dalton Highway. “The road is narrow, has soft shoulders, high embankments, and steep hills,” the guide says. “There are lengthy stretches of gravel surface with sharp rocks, potholes, washboard, and, depending on the weather, clouds of dust or slick mud.” “Watch out for dangerous curves and loose gravel … you may encounter snow and ice north of Coldfoot any month of the year,” it continues. “Expect and prepare for all conditions.” Headlamp would like to thank E&E News and Margie Hobson for her series honoring the men and women who built TAPS and what it has meant to Alaska.

All-aboard the technology train! Big data, advanced analytics and the internet of things have taken longer to gain traction in the oil patch compared with some parts of the economy. But they are rapidly changing operations in an era of low oil prices and slim profit margins. “Our industry and world are changing faster than I or anyone else could have imagined just a few years ago. It is exponential. If companies don’t get on board now, they will be left behind,” Brian Pugh, chief operations officer for production at BP Lower 48, said during a panel at the Colorado Oil and Gas Association’s Energy Summit on Tuesday.

Not taking it lying down. Energy Transfer Partners LP on Tuesday sued Greenpeace and other environmental groups, accusing them of launching an “eco-terrorism” campaign aimed at blocking the Dakota Access Pipeline, the center of months of opposition by Native American and green groups. The pipeline operator said Greenpeace, Earth First and other organizations engaged in “acts of terrorism” to solicit donations and interfere with its pipeline construction activities, damaging its “critical business and financial relationships.”

What makes Alaska go ‘round? The Kenai Peninsula, of course, draws largely from the oil and gas industry for a not insignificant chunk of revenue and a good number of jobs. Every three years, the Alaska Oil and Gas Association runs the numbers on such things with the McDowell Group, a consulting firm in Anchorage. Wednesday, Donna Logan, an economist with McDowell, presented the latest findings to a joint meeting of the Kenai and Soldotna chambers of commerce.

Tillion still fighting. After oil was discovered in Alaska in 1968, the state auctioned off leases all along the North Slope and brought in a small fortune. It’s still known in this state as the windfall. And lawmakers had a choice – save it or spend it.

First Reads:

The long (long) road to a famous dead end
E&E News, Margaret Kriz Hobson, August 23, 2017

Zinke won’t eliminate any national monuments
KTVA/Associated Press, Matthew Brown and Brady McCombs, August 24, 2017

Petroleum operators at Denver conference drilling deeper into the data
The Denver Post, Aldo Svaldi, August 22, 2017

Energy Transfer sues Greenpeace over Dakota pipeline
Reuters, Valerie Volcovici, August 22, 2017

Study shows state reliance on oil and gas industry
KDLL, Shaylon Cochran, August 23, 2017

In Alaska, One Man Fights To Save Oil Fund As Reserves Dry Up
NPR, Jennifer Pemberton, August 22, 2017