News of the Day:
ConocoPhillips Alaska Road Construction OK’d Pending Lawsuit
Maya Earls, Bloomberg Law, February 2, 2021
- Plaintiffs failed to show likely harm to polar bears
- Environmental review claims time-barred, court says
ConocoPhillips Alaska Inc. can build roads and open a gravel mine site in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska this winter, despite claims that traffic will disturb polar bears, a federal court ruled.
Environmental groups argued the mine site is within an area the federal government recognized as “terrestrial denning habitat.” But that habitat is described as only “potential” terrestial denning habitat, not “actual critical habitat,” according to the U.S. District Court for the District of Alaska.
Sovereign Iñupiat for a Living Arctic, the Alaska Wilderness League, and other groups sued the Department of the Interior after it approved ConocoPhillips’ oil drilling…
OPEC+ Oil Strategy Success Buys Time Before Tough Choices
Grant Smith, Bloomberg, February 1, 2021
OPEC and its allies can celebrate their success in buoying world oil markets when they gather this week. But the coalition will soon be faced with some tough choices.
Last month’s pledge by Saudi Arabian Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman to slash production by a further 1 million barrels a day has buttressed global markets against the latest onslaught from the pandemic. A price rebound to $57 a barrel in London is shoring up the producers’ revenues.
While that relieves OPEC+ of any need to adjust policy on Wednesday, it’ll need to start considering how long to restrain output — a calculation clouded by the potential return of supply from fellow member Iran.
At the heart of the dilemma is a fundamental tension between the Saudis and their most critical partner in the alliance, Russia. While Riyadh has sought higher prices to cover government spending, Moscow — without the same pressures — agitates to claw back market share.
“Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman’s doctrine that you err on the side of caution has been vindicated,” said Helima Croft, chief commodities strategist at RBC Capital Markets LLC. On Wednesday, “we might get the contours of the arguments that will be made next month.”
It’s time to build an Alaska natural gas pipeline
Governor Mike Dunleavy, Anchorage Daily News, February 2, 2021
We’re on the cusp of a generational dream: construction of a gas line from our stranded gas fields in the North Slope to the road system in Alaska. As the world turns toward clean fuels like natural gas and renewables, this is Alaska’s time to think big.
Over the years and across many administrations, Alaskans have discussed how to get our North Slope gas to market. Today, I’m happy to report that we are closer than ever to bringing this concept to fruition with a gas line between Point Thomson and Fairbanks.
With many of the permits in place, and research completed, this gas line could be a game changer for Alaska. Backed by significant private sector interest, and the real possibility of funding from the federal government, this opportunity to create thousands of construction jobs couldn’t come at a more opportune time for our state.
More importantly, this is a chance to provide our businesses, residents, and military installations on the road system with clean, affordable energy. This pipeline could very well be the reality that we’ve all been waiting for.
Some of you may be wondering what makes this project different from the failed megaprojects of decades past. That’s a fair question.
As many of you know, I was a skeptic of the previous proposal myself. That’s why my administration and the Alaska Gasline Development Corporation (AGDC) have been hard at working developing a phased, manageable plan that addresses these past points of failure.
First, we successfully re-engaged the private sector in the funding and planning of this project. Alaska is many great things, but the state cannot responsibly finance, build, and operate a major gas line, or manage the risks associated on its own. AGDC is in discussions with prospective private partners and will continue to publicly report their progress.
Experts warn of brewing space mining war among US, China, and Russia
Cecelia Jamasmie, Mining.Com, February 2, 2021
A brewing war to set a mining base in space is likely to see China and Russia joining forces to keep the US increasing attempts to dominate extra-terrestrial commerce at bay, experts warn.
It also proposed global legal framework for mining on the moon, called the Artemis Accords, encouraging citizens to mine the Earth’s natural satellite and other celestial bodies with commercial purposes.
The directive classified outer space as a “legally and physically unique domain of human activity” instead of a “global commons,” paving the way for mining the moon without any sort of international treaty.
Manchin says he doesn’t support raising minimum wage to $15 per hour
Jordan Cairney, The Hill, February 2, 2021
Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) said on Tuesday that he does not support increasing the minimum age to $15 an hour—a critical roadblock to including the proposal in the final coronavirus relief bill.
“No I’m not. I’m supportive of basically having something that’s responsive and reasonable,” Manchin told The Hill, asked if he is supportive of a $15 per hour minimum wage.
Manchin added that for West Virginia, his home state, that would be $11 per hour, and adjusted to inflation.
Today, The Conservation Coalition (TCC) has officially launched the Market Environmentalism Academy, a one-of-a-kind educational tool for environmental activists.
With two new educational courses a month, this platform focuses on the core principles of a market-based approach to climate change and other environmental issues. The Academy will arm activists with the practical knowledge they need to advocate for effective environmental solutions through readings, on-location videos, and interactive quizzes. Not only that, but the Academy runs on a gamification system, meaning activists can win prizes by completing courses.
To make this initiative possible, TCC is partnering with several organizations and individuals including the Heritage Foundation, PERC, former Governor of Utah Mike Leavitt, Johnny Joey Jones, and climate scientist Barry Bickmore, among others. Each of these partners will provide unique perspectives that will enhance activists’ educational experience.
TCC Policy Director Christopher Barnard said: “For the first time ever, students will be able to access an online educational platform to learn more about how market-based solutions can save the planet. This is a momentous moment for our organization, as we empower thousands of young people across the country to become the most effective environmental leaders they can be.”
Released to activists today, the first course is an introduction to market environmentalism. Featuring former Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (FL-27) and the R Street Institute, the course focuses on four key concepts: the market economy, property rights, decentralization, and innovation & optimism.
For more information on the Market Environmentalism Academy, visit the Academy website.