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Today’s Key Takeaways:  Confirmation of major Alaska oil potential. Mountain Valley pipeline gets all-clear to start. Lake Clark National Park considers mining easements. Alaska ballot measure repealing ranked choice voting wins in court.


Pantheon Resources Confirms Major Alaska Oil Potential
TIPRANKS, June 12, 2024

Pantheon Resources PLC has announced that independent assessments of their Ahpun and Kodiak oil fields in Alaska confirm over 1.5 billion barrels of crude and 6.5 trillion cubic feet of gas. The evaluation by Cawley Gillespie & Associates estimates 280 million barrels of recoverable oil and highlights potential economic development. The company is moving forward with funding strategies and regulatory approvals, aiming for first production by 2028 and discussing recent developments in an upcoming webinar.


FERC authorizes startup of Mountain Valley pipeline
Carlos Anchondo, E & E News, June 12, 2024

The decision caps a yearslong effort by supporters to get the natural gas project in service in Virginia and West Virginia.

Federal energy regulators gave the all-clear Tuesday for the Mountain Valley pipeline to start operations, the final approval needed for the embattled project to begin moving natural gas.

The decision from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission came one day after the joint venture behind the project told the agency the pipeline was “mechanically complete.”

The authorization for Mountain Valley to commence service also arrived more than 6 ½ years after FERC approved the project, allowing construction to begin. And it follows numerous legal challenges that were stymied after a provision in a federal debt ceiling law last year expedited the project’s completion. The pipeline will travel 303 miles from West Virginia to southern Virginia and is designed to transport up to 2 billion cubic feet of natural gas daily.



Alaska’s Lake Clark National Park considers easements that could spur mining
Yereth Rosen, June 11, 2024

The National Park Service said Monday it will evaluate two proposed easements across a portion of Lake Clark National Park that an Alaska Native corporation has requested as step toward converting an exploratory mineral prospect into an operating mine.

The Park Service’s evaluation is the latest event in what has been a decades-long effort by Cook Inlet Regional Inc. to develop a mineral prospect that lies within the borders of the park.

The mineral site, called the Johnson Tract, comprises about 21,000 acres on the west side of Cook Inlet, about 125 miles southwest of Anchorage. CIRI, a regional Native corporation based in Anchorage, acquired it in a land swap directed by a 1976 federal law, the Cook Inlet Land Exchange.

The prospect holds gold, silver, copper, and other minerals.

The Park Service said it will analyze two potential easements over park territory: one for a transportation corridor to the Johnson Tract mining area and the other for a port at a site called Tuxedni Channel. The 1976 Cook Inlet Land Exchange directs the Secretary of the Interior to provide such easements over land that is now part of Lake Clark National Park, according to the Park Service.

CIRI has submitted its proposals for transportation and port easements, and the resource analysis will consider the activities that the corporation would need for planning, designing and permiting, the Park Service said.



Measure aimed at repealing Alaska’s ranked choice voting system scores early, partial win in court
Becky Bohrer, AP, June 11, 2024

 Backers of a measure aimed at repealing Alaska’s ranked choice voting system scored an early, partial win in court when a judge ruled that state elections officials did not violate the law or regulations when they let the sponsors correct errors in petition booklets that had already been turned in.

Friday’s decision by Superior Court Judge Christina Rankin covers just a portion of the case brought by three voters seeking to keep the repeal measure off the November ballot. The lawsuit alleges the Division of Elections did not have the authority to allow the sponsors to fix errors in a filed initiative petition on a rolling or piecemeal basis. Rankin, however, ruled the division acted within its authority and complied with deadlines.

The plaintiffs also are challenging the signature-collecting methods by the sponsors, claims that remain unresolved. Trial in the case is scheduled to start this month.