AK Trucking Boom. Biden Defends AKLNG Against “Misguided” Sierra Club.

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Today’s Key Takeaways:  Alaska’s trucking booming – high wages, driver shortages. Biden admin supports AKLNG authorization – touts energy security, climate, and economic benefits. Pebble sues EPA over preemptive veto while state asks feds for $700 billing for stopping the mine. Do we really need $8 billion for 50,000 climate corps government workers?


FOR YOUR RADAR: CERAWeek begins: Top oil and gas executives and senior administration officials will take center stage in Houston today for the first day of CERAWeek, the annual conference hosted by S&P Global and dubbed by some as the “Super Bowl of energy.” 

Today’s lineup of speakers includes the CEOs of Exxon, Saudi Aramco, TotalEnergies, Shell, and Petroleo Brasileiro, for the morning session. This afternoon, senior Biden administration officials including Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm, White House energy adviser Amos Hochstein, and U.S. climate envoy John Podesta will be among those delivering remarks.


Alaska’s ice road oil truckers are in a boom, and causing a backlash
Kevin Williams, CNBC, March 15, 2024

  • Trucking is booming in Alaska compared to the Lower 48 where a massive freight recession has resulted in recent bankruptcies and layoffs.
  • A chronic driver shortage has boosted pay, with full-time truck drivers in Alaska able to earn up to $175,000 annually.
  • The increase in truck traffic related to new oil production and gold mining is causing some backlash from lawmakers.

The Lower 48 has experienced a massive freight recession over the past few years, but the opposite is occurring in one place in the United States: Alaska.

With various North Slope oil production projects just ramping up, the years ahead look very promising for trucking in Alaska.

“This is probably the best trucking has been in Alaska since 2000,” said Jeremy Miller, vice president of operations at Anchorage-based Carlile Transportation Systems, who has been with Carlile since 1998.

Among the new North Slope activities is the ConocoPhillips Willow Project, which the Biden administration approved last year. Willow had been delayed and mired in controversy over its potential environmental impact on pristine Arctic lands, but now that work has been greenlighted, construction of oil pads and camps has commenced. Willow is expected to generate 600 million barrels of oil total, or 180,000 barrels a day at its peak, according to ConocoPhillips.



Department of Justice Emphasizes Alaska LNG’s Compelling Energy Security, Climate, and Economic Benefits

 The Biden Administration forcefully supported the export authorization for the Alaska LNG Project, the only FERC- and DOE-authorized U.S. LNG export project with direct Pacific access, in a March 15 U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) brief on behalf of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). Alaska LNG is unaffected by the Biden Administration’s LNG export authorization freeze announced on January 26, 2024.

The DOJ brief highlights key energy security, climate, and economic benefits of Alaska LNG.

Alaska LNG Energy Security Benefits:

“Providing Alaska LNG for export will expand and diversify global LNG supply, which will provide enhanced energy security for U.S. allies and trading partners in the event of disruptions in other global supply due to geopolitical events or natural disasters.”

Alaska LNG Climate Benefits:

“…it is undisputed that if global demand for U.S. LNG exports fails to prompt a net increase in U.S. LNG exports, the climate impacts of shifting U.S. LNG production to Alaska would be net beneficial (emphasis in original).”

Alaska LNG Economic Benefits:

“DOE reiterated its prior determination that Alaska LNG exports likely would produce economic benefits, including ‘indirect job creation in the exploration, development, production, and transportation of natural gas; improvements in consumer welfare in Alaska; lower natural gas prices in Alaska; and overall economic benefits for the United States as a whole, as represented by gross domestic product.’”

The DOJ filing responds to the challenge of DOE’s Alaska LNG export authorization by Sierra Club and Center for Biological Diversity pending in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. The DOJ concludes that the Sierra Club and Center for Biological Diversity challenge “‘likely significantly overstates’ project impacts”:

“These objections are misguided and do not overcome the deference due the expert agency’s scientific and technical judgments. The Natural Gas Act gives DOE broad discretion in assessing the public interest and directs DOE to deny an export application only if DOE makes an affirmative finding that proposed exports will not be consistent with the public interest. DOE properly exercised its discretion, considering all pertinent issues, and providing a reasoned explanation for its decision. The petition for review should be denied.”


Pebble sues EPA to revive Southwest Alaska copper and gold mine prospect
Alex DeMarban, Anchorage Daily News, March 16, 2024

The company behind the giant Pebble copper and gold mine project in Southwest Alaska filed suit against the Environmental Protection Agency on Friday to overturn its decision last year to halt the mine.

Also, the company and the administration of Gov. Mike Dunleavy on Thursday filed separate takings claims with a federal court, seeking compensation after the EPA decision blocked the prospect on state land.

“We are filing litigation to fully contest the EPA’s unprecedented and unlawful actions against the Pebble Project,” said John Shively, chief executive of Pebble Limited Partnership, in a statement from the company. “Since our objections to the politically motivated actions by the EPA have long fallen on deaf ears, we have sued the agency in federal court in Alaska to have our issues fairly and objectively heard.”


State lawsuit claims federal government owes Alaska $700 billion for quashing Pebble mine


PTF Calls on Congress to Defund Biden’s Climate Corps
Washington, D.C. – Today, Power The Future called on Congress to defund President Joe Biden’s “American Climate Corps,” which was outlined in last week’s White House budget proposal to the tune of $8 billion dollars to hire 50,000 government workers. While the move is supported by U.S. Representative Alexandria Ocasio Cortez and other backers of the Green New Deal, the $8 billion price tag is nearly double the $4.7 billion Biden requested as a contingency fund to aid the border. “Let’s be clear: Joe Biden wants 50,000 new climate activists pushing his extreme agenda on the taxpayers’ dime. Congress needs to defund this effort immediately,” said Daniel Turner, Founder and Executive Director for Power The Future. “It’s not a coincidence the President wants thousands of these activists on the payroll before Election Day because they will be another arm of his campaign effort. When Congress drafts their respective budgets, they must ensure this effort doesn’t get a single dollar.” For context, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has a workforce of less than 20,000, as does the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Both of those agencies have a clear mission and are funded through and accountable to Congress. In October 2023, members of the House Committee on Oversight and Accountability launched an investigation into the Climate Corps. Biden’s budget proposal next heads to the House Committee on the Budget and the Senate Committee on the Budget who each write and vote on their own budget resolutions.