Mat-Su Borough keeps up fight over LNG site
Larry Persily, Alaska Journal of Commerce, January 29, 2019
The Matanuska-Susitna Borough on Jan. 25 added 145 pages to its ongoing argument that Port MacKenzie would be a better location than Nikiski for the Alaska LNG project’s natural gas liquefaction plant and marine terminal. The borough, which owns the property across Knik Arm from Anchorage, added additional comments, maps, charts and photos to the docket at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which is scheduled to release its draft environmental review of the Alaska LNG proposal sometime in February. The borough has long been critical of the site selection, Port MacKenzie alternative analysis and answers provided by the Alaska Gasline Development Corp., the state-funded corporation that is leading the proposed $43 billion project.
Slug of proposed permits launches comment periods for Donlin Gold project
Alex DeMarban, Anchorage Daily News, January 29, 2019
The state of Alaska on Monday launched a roughly two-month comment period for several proposed decisions that would advance the Donlin Gold project, including one that would grant the right-of-way lease for a 315-mile-long natural gas pipeline. If approved by the state, they won’t be all the authorizations the Southwest Alaska project will need. But they would help significant parts of it move forward, including a road, the port, an airstrip and a fiber-optic cable, officials said Tuesday.
New Mexico takes aim at emissions
Caroline Evans, Upstream Online, January 29, 2019
The governor of the US state of New Mexico has announced plans to tighten rules on emissions from oil and gas activities as part of a wide-ranging agenda to dramatically cut greenhouse gas pollution. Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham issued an executive order on Tuesday that aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 45% over 2005 levels by 2030. Lujan Grisham said her administration was seeking the cuts to lessen effects on the environment, limit adverse impacts from climate change, and reduce energy waste. The order calls on New Mexico’s Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department and Environment Department to jointly develop a statewide, enforceable regulatory framework “to secure reductions in oil and gas sector methane emissions and to prevent waste from new and existing sources and enact such rules as soon as practicable”.
Our Take: This is what happens when politicians make decisions before understanding an issue. Oil and gas producers are the ones investing in advanced technologies and tools that lead to declining emissions. Attacking the industry that is leading the charge (not to mention funding a significant portion of state government) is short-sighted.
An oil giant backs a high-tech rescue for collapsing Arctic ice cellars in Alaska
Gregory Scruggs, Thomas Reuters Foundation, January 29, 2019
When Inupiaq hunters wrestle a 100-ton bowhead whale back to land from the high seas, the next challenge is where to store all that meat. For centuries, the Inupiaq, an Alaska Native group that lives along the shores of the Beaufort and Chukchi seas, have dug cellars into the permafrost as a form of natural refrigeration. Now those “ice cellars” are under threat. Warming temperatures are melting permafrost, while coastal erosion is exposing the underground chambers. Scientists and the Inupiaq are split on whether climate change or human factors, like shoddy construction, are to blame for the collapsing cellars, found in all eight villages scattered across Alaska’s North Slope, an area roughly the size of Britain and home to about 9,800 people.
Our Take: Headlamp wonders why it takes the author so long to get to the heart of the matter? “The $120,000 investment needed to install the cellar was donated as an act of corporate philanthropy by petroleum company ExxonMobil, which operates the Point Thomson oil field 100 kilometers (62 miles) west of Kaktovik. Oil companies fund much of the infrastructure on the North Slope through royalties they pay to local government.”