Morning Headlamp — Lawmakers Revisit Resource Development in ANWR

Yesterday, the Alaska State Senate joined the Alaska House of Representatives in approving House Joint Resolution 5, urging the United States Congress to pass legislation to open the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) to oil and gas development. The U.S. Geological Survey estimates the coastal plain of the refuge holds 10.4 billion barrels of oil and possibly as much as 16 billion barrels. It’s North America’s greatest prospect for conventional oil production, according to Sen. Lisa Murkowski.

“The ability of the oil industry to safely operate in the Arctic is evidenced by the responsible development of Prudhoe Bay and other fields,” said Rep. Westlake“I have no doubt that legislation can be crafted in Congress that can allow for development in ANWR while protecting the natural environment and the subsistence resources that are vital to my region.”

According to Sen. Murkowski’s address to the legislature, “We have opportunities folks. At the same time we are focusing on oil and gas, we must do more to work to realize Alaska’s world-class mineral potential, whether we are talking about a gold mine in Southwest, a graphite deposit near Nome, or rare earths here in Southeast.” If you missed any of Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s address, check out the link here.

In a letter to EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas, chair of the House Science Committee, charged the agency with overstepping its statutory authority under President Barack Obama on the proposed Pebble project. Given the committee’s work, “as well as President Trump’s commitment to swift and lawful permitting decisions, the Committee urges you to rescind the 2014 decision and pursue the regular order of permitting for this and all projects that require permits under Section 404(c)” of the Clean Water Act, Rep. Smith wrote. Smith called the EPA’s decision “unprecedented” and the scientific assessment “questionable.”

According to reports, the oil-sands operations in northern Alberta are among the costliest types of petroleum projects to develop. In addition, Canadian crude sells for less than benchmark U.S. crude because of the added cost to ship it to American refineries and an abundance of competing supplies from shale fields. Exxon Mobil Corp., for example, slashed proved reserves the most in its modern history after removing the entire $16 billion, 3.5-billion-barrel Kearl oil-sands project from its books on Wednesday. That was followed by ConocoPhillips’ announcement that erased 1.15 billion oil-sands barrels, plunging its reserves to a 15-year low.


First Reads

Lawmakers push to revive oil drilling in Alaska wildlife refuge
CBS News, February 23, 2017

US House committee urges EPA to drop opposition to Pebble mine
Alaska Dispatch News, Erica Martinson, February 22, 2017

Oil Sands Hammer Major Explorers’ Reserves as Values Sink
The Washington Post, Joe Carroll, February 23, 2017

Legislature continues digging in to oil tax changes
Alaska Journal of Commerce, Elwood Brehmer, February 22, 2017

U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski Delivers 2017 Alaska State Legislature Address
YourAlaskaLink, Maria Athens, February 22, 2017

The Alaska Legislature Encourages Congress to Open the Coastal Plain of ANWR to Oil and Gas Exploration
Alaska Native News, Michael Mason, February 22, 2017