From the Washington Examiner’s Daily on Energy:
MURKOWSKI, CANTWELL FIGHT OVER ARCTIC DRILLING: The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee on Wednesday began debating Republican legislation to allow oil and natural gas drilling in a portion of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Amendments galore: Committee Chairwoman Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, said senators offered more than 50 amendments as the panel began marking up the legislation with hopes to vote on it later Wednesday. As debate began, Murkowski and Sen. Maria Cantwell of Washington, the committee’s top Democrat, argued about the purpose of the legislation and the process by which Republicans conceived it. Murkowski’s legislation to permit drilling in a 1.5 million-acre section of the 19.6-million-acre Alaskan refuge, with the expectation that energy development there will raise just over $1 billion over 10 years. “We are being asked to consider legislation that is different than previous bills [that tried to allow drilling in ANWR], and has not been subject to single hearing. At its core, the chairman’s mark [bill] would change current law and turn the refuge into a petroleum reserve.” ‘Plenty of time’: “We have given members plenty of time to review the legislation and consider amendments,” Murkowski countered. “This was done in regular order.”
What the bill does: Murkowski’s bill requires the Interior Department to hold at least two lease sales within 10 years of the bill’s passage, the first within four years and the second within seven years. It says that lease sale areas should include at least 400,000 acres with a strong potential for drilling. But surface development would be limited to 2,000 acres of the coastal plain. GOP-friendly process: Republicans are considering the bill under budget reconciliation, meaning it is not subject to a Senate filibuster and can pass with a simple majority The introduction of the bill fulfills the terms of a budget resolution passed by the GOP-controlled House and Senate that directed the committee to create legislation to raise $1 billion over a decade to help pay for tax reform. The refuge was created under former President Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1960. In 1980, Congress provided additional protections to the refuge but set aside the 1002 area for study and future drilling if lawmakers approved it.
‘Turn everything on its ear’: Cantwell argued that Murkowski’s legislation would mandate oil and drilling in the 1002 area of the refuge in a manner that has never been done before. No other refuge in America has expressly permitted oil and gas development as part of its purpose, she said. “By putting that purpose in, you turn everything on its ear.” The committee passed the legislation out with ANWR provisions on a 13-10 vote.
Shiver me Timbers. The largest potential timber sale in the Haines State Forest in decades was put on hold this summer. The decision from the Department of Natural Resources was made in response to a successful appeal of the forest land use plan for the 855-acre sale. Now, the Division of Forestry has put forward a new plan. The Baby Brown Timber Sale, about 35 miles northwest of Haines, offers up 20 million board feet of old-growth spruce and hemlock. Astoria Forest Products offered $270,000 for the timber last year. They were the only bidder. But the sale hasn’t gone forward. DNR Commissioner Andrew Mack canceled the deal as it was being offered, because Lynn Canal Conservation successfully appealed the state’s forest land use plan. The original plan was only for a portion of the sale. Lynn Canal Conservation said it shouldn’t have gone out to bid until plans were complete for the entire area. Haines Forester Greg Palmieri said that’s the main difference between the new document and the old one. “This plan takes into account the entire sale offering, which is 11 harvest units,” Palmieri said. “The first forest land use plan only offered a harvest plan that applied to the first two units that were going to be for the sale.”
AVTEC’s Alaska Maritime Training Center Receives $95,000 donation from Andeavor. The AVTEC Alaska Maritime Training Center announced today that it received a donation of $95,000 from the refining, marketing and logistics company Andeavor. The donation will support AVTEC’s arctic and ice navigation readiness project, which will upgrade the school’s full mission bridge ship simulator to enhance its ice navigation capabilities. The donation was prompted by a two-day training event sponsored by Andeavor (formerly Tesoro) and hosted at AVTEC’s Alaska Maritime Training Center. The event provided more than thirty ship masters and pilots the opportunity to hone their skills in navigating the ice-covered waters of Cook Inlet. The licensed deck officers participated in ten training scenarios navigating through ice in Cook Inlet that was programmed into the Alaska Maritime Training Center’s three interactive full mission bridge ship simulators. It was during this training event that Andeavor announced the gift, which will be directed at enhancing the bridge simulators through an upgrade of hardware and software.
State publishes new land use plan for proposed 855-acre timber sale near Haines
Alaska Public Media, Abbey Collins, November 14, 2017
AVTEC’s Alaska Maritime Training Center Receives $95,000 Donation from Andeavor
AVTEC news release, November 15, 2017