AK: Prolific Production & Environmental Stewardship; Australia: Chaotic Policymaking

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Unleash Alaskan Energy
Mike Sommers, API Blog, June 10, 2019

The United States leads the world in natural gas and oil production, but that doesn’t mean we can get complacent. Global consumption  has reached 100 million barrels per day — more than double what it was 50 years ago. And demand is expected to keep growing, as opportunities expand for millions living in poverty around the globe. Even under optimistic scenarios for renewable energy, U.S. and international projections agree that three-fourths of demand will be supplied by fossil fuels , with more than half coming from natural gas and oil, for decades to come.  Fortunately, from the Permian Basin in Texas and New Mexico to Alaska’s Prudhoe Bay, the U.S. has not just the resources but an industry with the technology and skill  to develop them safely.  Take for example the North Slope of Alaska, an area poised to re-emerge as a “super basin” following discoveries like Willow, Pikka and Liberty. The resurgence has been great news for the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System, or TAPS — backbone of Alaska energy and critical pillar of U.S. energy security. TAPS throughput is ticking up, and new finds in National Petroleum Reserve Alaska, or NPR-A, could singlehandedly increase  its volume by 18 percent.

Our Take:  This can’t be said enough “The long-held assumption that we can’t increase energy production, grow the economy and decrease emissions – all at the same time – no longer applies. It doesn’t apply in Alaska either…where the energy legacy is one of prolific production and the highest standards of environmental stewardship.”

Australia risks status as a natural gas superpower
Jayme Smith, Financial Times, June 3, 2019

As a $200bn wave of new global investment gets under way, the energy industry is warning that chaotic policymaking and overseas competition are threatening to cut short Australia’s tenure as the world’s biggest exporter of liquefied natural gas. The energy companies say the government has failed to deliver coherent climate and energy policies, appears willing to intervene for the benefit of local industry over LNG exporters and has been unable to approve more gas exploration. “Australia’s policies are somewhat uncertain with calls for government intervention — that raises concerns,” Ryan Lance, ConocoPhillips’ chief executive, said at Australia’s largest oil and gas conference last week. “We are seeking clarity and stability to provide confidence around the viability of Australian investments.”

Conservative groups tell Congress: ‘We oppose any carbon tax’
Naomi Jagoda, The Hill, June 10, 2019

A group of 75 conservative organizations and leaders on Monday sent a letter to Congress expressing their opposition to a carbon tax, pushing back at an idea that has received support from politicians and policy experts on both sides of the aisle as a way to combat climate change.  “We oppose any carbon tax,” states the letter, which was signed by Americans for Tax Reform President Grover Norquist, Club for Growth President David McIntosh and FreedomWorks President Adam Brandon, among others.

Their Take:  “A carbon tax raises the cost of heating your home in the winter and cooling your home in the summer,” they added. “It raises the cost of filling your car. A carbon tax increases the cost of everything Americans buy and lowers Americans’ effective take home pay. A carbon tax increases the power, cost, and intrusiveness of the government in our lives.”

From today’s Washington Examiner, Daily on Energy:

DEMOCRATS PREPARE TO FIGHT TRUMP EPA’S EFFORT TO FORCE PIPELINES ON STATES: Democrats led by Tom Carper are clamoring for a fight over President Trump’s most recent executive order hobbling states’ powers to block natural gas pipelines and other energy infrastructure using Clean Water Act permits.

The Environmental Protection Agency stoked Carper’s rage on Friday by issuing guidance to federal agencies on implementing Trump’s April order to rein in states’ authority to block permit approvals.

Carper, the top Democrat from Delaware on the Environmental and Public Works Committee, said in a statement Friday evening that he is convinced EPA and the president are violating “congressional intent.”

“The president’s executive order and EPA’s new guidance are indefensible and defy the clear intention of Congress,” Carper stated.

GOP ready to rein in state abuses: Nevertheless, Republicans see EPA’s guidance as blocking states from abusing their authority under the law.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, chairwoman of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, said the EPA guidance balances states’ authority over water resources while promoting responsible development of energy resources.

The guidance will also “reduce abuse” of Clean Water Act permits to block infrastructure needed to provide reliable and affordable energy, Murkowski added.

Murkowski’s office explained that the guidance is a preliminary action, and that EPA will soon issue new regulations updating how section 401 is implemented, noting that the law governing the permit authority has not been revised since 1971.

Trump’s order directs EPA to issue the new rules 120 days after the guidance is published.

The Republican chairman of Carper’s committee, Sen. John Barrasso of Wyoming, said the EPA reforms are needed now more than ever.

“We need reform, and we need it fast,” he said, accusing states like Washington, New York, and New Jersey of preventing the U.S. from exporting natural gas and other energy resources.

Oil and natural gas groups welcomed the EPA guidance on Friday, while environmental groups rebuked it as a step in the wrong direction for states’ rights and climate change.