Morning Headlamp –   UAF Professor asks Secretary Rick Perry for a loan; House Majority throws in the towel

Show us the $. A University of Alaska Fairbanks economist has asked Energy Secretary Rick Perry to sanction a federally secured loan to construct a natural gas pipeline in Alaska. Douglas Reynolds, a professor of petroleum economics at UAF, sent a letter to Perry requesting the loan and citing the Alaska Natural Gas Pipeline Act of 2004 as a means for Alaska to secure those funds. In his letter, Reynolds asked Perry for a public statement on his opinion of building a natural gas pipeline in Alaska. Reynolds said he believes a liquefied natural gas pipeline would clean up the Interior’s air quality problem, boost the Alaska economy and enhance national security.

House Majority throwing in the towel. According to the House Majority, its members are weary and demoralized after two months of extra work with little to show for it, is increasingly likely to take the summer off before taking up its unfinished work of righting the state’s unstable finances, according to legislative leaders. “People have to get on with their lives,” said House Speaker Bryce Edgmon, D-Dillingham, in a phone interview from Juneau, where he’s still camped. “It’s just a really hard time of the year having people be in the Legislature, especially how long we’ve been down here.” With the exception of the budget, the Legislature’s to-do list is still essentially unchanged from January, when members arrived in Juneau for what was supposed to be a 90-day regular session. The session stretched on for an extra month, followed by the two consecutive special sessions called by Walker.

Headlamp is amused that after just one session in power, the House Majority is tired, wanting to “get on with their lives” complaining about how hard it is to be in the legislature. #doyourjob 

Increased investment, increased production.  BP is betting tens of billions of dollars on the prospect that it can slash the costs of offshore drilling, in the gulf,  by half or more – just as shale oil producers have done onshore. BP’s Gulf platforms are key to a global strategy calling for up to $17 billion in annual investments through 2021 to increase production by about 5 percent each year.

Does AKLNG = American job loss?  Large, industrial users of energy are frowning on the Trump administration’s attempt to make natural gas exports a key part of its pro-growth agenda, warning that it will hurt U.S. manufacturing and reduce jobs in the long run. “Excessive [liquefied natural gas] export approvals by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to countries with which the U.S. does not have a free trade agreement is inconsistent with President Trump’s ‘America First’ and ‘fair-trade’ policies, and poses a significant long-term threat to energy-intensive trade-exposed (EITE) industries’ competitiveness and jobs,” said Paul Cicio, president of the Industrial Energy Consumers of America, in a Wednesday letter to the secretaries of energy and commerce, Rick Perry and Wilbur Ross, respectively.

China makes a move. Last week China formally incorporated the Arctic into its plans for maritime cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiative, also sometimes called One Belt, One Road. The Vision for Maritime Cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiative, released on June 20 by China’s National Development and Reform Commission and the State Oceanic Administration, explains that a “blue economic passage” is “envisioned leading up to Europe via the Arctic Ocean.” This “blue economic passage” would be along Russia’s Northern Sea Route, the Arctic shipping lane that hugs the country’s north coast.

Island Living. In a speech in Washington, D.C., last week, Senator Lisa Murkowski proposed that the United States establish a consular presence in Greenland. A prominent voice in Arctic affairs, Murkowski suggested the move — “even if it’s just kind of a one-person shop.” Greenland is autonomous within the Kingdom of Denmark and has recently seen a stepped-up push for full independence. “If they do become independent, then we will have established a political representation on the island and we’ll have had some for several years and we’ll be in a good position to move forward with a new relationship,” Murkowski said. “And if they don’t: no harm, no foul.”

Budget cuts and tuition increases for UA. The UA budget unanimously approved by regents Tuesday totals about $879 million, $317 million of that from state funding. That’s down about $21 million from the roughly $900 million current operating budget and amounts to a $61 million cut in state funding over the past four years. UA said a $3 million increase in fixed costs in the upcoming budget effectively widened the funding gap to $11 million.

First Reads

University of Alaska leaders approve $879 million operating budget
Alaska Dispatch News, Tegan Hanlon, June 28, 2017

Yes, the Alaska Legislature will likely quit for the summer without a fiscal plan, or even a capital budget
Alaska Dispatch News, Nathaniel Herz, June 28, 2017

China’s Belt and Road Initiative moves into the Arctic
Arctic Now, Mia Bennet, June 28, 2017

Alaska senator proposes US consulate in Greenland
Arctic Now, Krestia DeGeorge, June 28, 2017

In disaster’s wake, BP doubles down on deepwater despite surging shale
Reuters, Jessica Resnick-Ault, June 27, 2017

Big energy users: Trump’s natural gas exports will take away jobs
The Washington Examiner, John Siciliano, June 28, 2017

UAF professor pushes Energy Secretary Rick Perry for natural gas pipeline loan
Fairbanks News-Miner, Kevin Baird, June 28, 2017