Protesters take over ANWR environmental scoping meeting
Erin McGroarty, Daily News-Miner, February 5, 2019
Activists pushing against oil development in the 1002 Coastal Plain area of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge took over a public scoping meeting Monday evening that was initially supposed to go very differently. Unlike past public hearings, this meeting was organized in an open-house style, according to Joe Balash, the Department of the Interior’s assistant secretary for Land and Minerals Management. Scientists stood near poster signage explaining the environmental impact statement draft process and two court stenographers sat behind a curtain to take testimony from members of the public. A presentation on the EIS drafting process began at 5 p.m. but was quickly interrupted by protesters asking why the meeting style had been changed, why the Fairbanks hearing only had five days of notice and why Alaska Natives had not been consulted in the EIS drafting process.
Our take: The Anchorage public scoping meeting will take place on Feb. 11 at the Dena’ina Center from 1 – 7pm, with presentations at 2 and 5pm. All interested parties will have the same opportunity to provide comments. We hope that the event runs smoothly and that people get the information they are looking for regarding the EIS.
Matanuska-Susitna Borough has gained the most jobs during Alaska’s recession
Annie Zak, Anchorage Daily News, February 4, 2019
While most Alaska boroughs and census areas have lost jobs during the state’s economic downturn, some have gained. The Matanuska-Susitna Borough had the biggest job growth from 2015 to 2018, according to a new economic report from the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development. The borough’s job count grew 3.4 percent — or 769 jobs — during that time, comparing the first three quarters of each year, 2015 to 2018. After shedding thousands of jobs, Alaska’s oil and gas sector is expected to add a few hundred jobs this year.
Our take: Things are boding well for the oil & gas industries in Alaska, but likely remain at a stalemate until we see a budget and organization in Juneau.
Trump to nominate ex-energy lobbyist Bernhardt to head Interior
Timothy Gardner, Arctic Today, February 5th, 2019
President Donald Trump said on Monday he would nominate David Bernhardt, a former energy lobbyist, to be secretary of the Interior, the department that oversees U.S. public lands.
Bernhardt, currently the acting secretary at the Interior Department, is widely expected to continue pushing the Trump administration’s plan to boost domestic fossil fuels production by opening more U.S. public lands to drilling and mining. “David has done a fantastic job from the day he arrived, and we look forward to having his nomination officially confirmed,” Trump said on Twitter.
Our take: Bernhardt spoke to the Alliance last year after his appointment to Deputy Secretary of the same department and has a good understanding of Alaska.
Green New Deal won’t call for end to fossil fuels
Zack Colman, Politico, February 4th, 2019
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) are expected to introduce a resolution outlining elements of the plan within days, which will include a goal for eliminating the U.S. carbon footprint by 2030, according to multiple sources. The text includes an aim to “achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions for a fair and just transition for frontline communities and displaced workers,” among other high-level ambitions. It also opens the door to using still-unproven technology to eliminate carbon pollution from fossil fuel use — an avenue that many climate activists dismiss as an expensive dead end. But it does not explicitly call for eliminating fossil fuels themselves.
In Russia, Agreement Breaks You
Spencer Jakab, Wall Street Journal, February 5, 2019
While the victorious Bolsheviks soon adopted the calendar the rest of the world uses, perhaps a bit of lingering confusion is behind a disagreement that could pressure oil prices. Saudi Arabia, which long reigned supreme in the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, rankled some members by bringing in nonmember Russia to make output cuts effective.