Dems want to kill oil and gas leasing. Here’s why it matters
Heather Richards and Timothy Cama, E&E News, August 6, 2019
The idea of stopping new leases is grounded in the notion that the U.S. government has a particular responsibility for emissions stemming from fossil fuels extracted from federal property or via transfers of government-owned mineral rights.
The U.S. Geological Survey concluded last year that fossil fuels from federal lands and waters account for 24% of the nation’s carbon dioxide emissions throughout their life cycle.
Because the government oversees those resources, it has the power to dictate whether they are brought out of the ground in the first place, activists argue.
Regardless of the political viability, cutting federal leasing could have broad consequences — politically and financially — for swaths of the United States.
Thirty-five states receive money from offshore and onshore development, but most of that cash is concentrated in a few big winners — meaning Democrats’ promised action could have an outsize effect on those regions.
It would take years for production to be affected by simply barring new leases, and a crisis likely wouldn’t immediately hit communities that depend on federal development, said Mark Haggerty, an economist at Headwaters Economics in Montana.
“No one really argues [against] the need to move to renewables as quickly as possible,” said Eric Sondermann, an independent political analyst based in Colorado. “But there is a naiveté that is being promoted, that this can happen overnight or carte blanche across the board.”
Our take: A great read. Well summed up with the statement: “Moving the United States rapidly away from fossil fuels is an easy political chip for the Democratic candidates, though it’s likely an empty promise, experts say.” It must be fun to be able to campaign on empty promises. Recognizing that the United State should take steps to move in a greener direction is prudent. Mandating that states who rely on oil & gas production stop in their tracks is not. Not to mention the potential for lawsuits…
THE OFFICIAL FY19 OIL PRODUCTION NUMBERS ARE IN
Ed King, August 5, 2019
The Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (AOGCC), the state agency which tracks oil production across Alaska, has released the last of the FY19 oil production data.
All production companies are required to report the amount of oil, gas, and water they take out of the ground to AOGCC each month. Those numbers are all public information, free to download from the most user-friendly front-end database interfaces I work with. You can find it here.
This is the single best resource for understanding what is happening on the North Slope. While other state agency report numbers relevant to their own mission, it is the AOGCC data that should be considered the official government numbers.
Our take: Thanks Ed! Really great information and clear graphics.
With big questions remaining, Alaska Legislature’s second special session set to quietly end Tuesday
James Brooks, ADN, August 5, 2019
A special session that began with controversy and division will end Tuesday with no further legislative action.
The Alaska House of Representatives and Alaska Senate have canceled scheduled meetings, meaning the second special session of the 31st Alaska Legislature will reach its 30-day limit at midnight Wednesday morning.
Our take: Is that it?
From the Daily on Energy:
MURKOWSKI INTRODUCES BILL TO EXPAND CLEAN ENERGY INFRASTRUCTURE PROJECTS: Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska announced Monday that she introduced legislation to expand the access of loans for clean energy infrastructure to allow for greater development of projects in small and rural communities.
Her bill would permit certain state financing entities to be eligible for the Energy Department’s Section 1703 loan guarantee program, making it easier for states to secure financing for projects.
Under the loan program, DOE partners with private entities and lenders by providing loan guarantees for clean energy infrastructure projects that typically struggle to earn sufficient private investment due to technological risk. The program supports projects that avoid, sequester, or reduce greenhouse gas emissions, such as carbon capture, industrial energy efficiency projects, and transmission lines to deliver wind and solar power.
“Right now, the department’s loan guarantee program is tailored more toward large projects, which inadvertently shuts out the projects needed in many smaller and rural communities,” said Murkowski, the chairwoman of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee “My goal here is to level the playing field so that state entities can access the loan guarantee program, bundle a number of smaller projects together, and then make them a reality to reduce local costs and emissions.”