Murkowski’s All-In Ambler Advocacy đź“Ł

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Today’s Key Takeaways:  Japan’s interest in Alaska for carbon capture and storage. Senator Murkowski seeks Ambler Road legal analysis and threatens to cut interiors budget until they follow the law.


Could Alaska be the final destination for Japan’s carbon pollution? The Biden administration wants to find out.
Nathaniel Herz, Northern Journal, May 7, 2024

The U.S. Department of Energy’s new study is a reflection of the growing interest in injecting and storing climate-warming carbon pollution in underground reservoirs in Alaska

For decades, Alaska shipped liquefied natural gas to Japan, which burned the fuel to generate power — and also generated ample climate-warming carbon emissions.

Now, the Biden administration wants to study whether those Japanese emissions could be captured, liquefied, and shipped back to Alaska. There, they’d be injected and locked away underground in Cook Inlet, just west of Anchorage, to help stem the warming of the climate.

Officials from the U.S. Department of Energy announced Tuesday at an Anchorage workshop that they’re starting a formal study of the concept, building on Japan-U.S. cooperative agreements announced by the White House last month.

“Even as the decline of natural gas in the Cook Inlet heralds the end of a previous and impressive energy area in this region, awareness and interest is growing here in the region’s potential to become a storehouse for capturing carbon emissions — both domestically and internationally,” said Brad Crabtree, assistant secretary for the Department of Energy’s Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management.

Crabtree spoke Tuesday to an audience at Anchorage’s Sheraton hotel that, in addition to Alaska policymakers and fossil fuel executives, included some 15 representatives of Japan’s energy industries and government. 

The Department of Energy’s new study is a reflection of the growing interest in injecting and storing climate-warming carbon pollution in underground reservoirs in Alaska — a trend amplified, in part, by provisions in President Joe Biden’s signature climate law to incentivize greater use of the technology.

Alaska lawmakers are currently debating a bill sponsored by GOP Gov. Mike Dunleavy that would establish a legal system for carbon injection and storage. And one Japanese company recently hired an Alaska-based lobbyist, at $7,500 a month, to track carbon-related policy developments in the state.



Legal Fight Brews Over Mining Road as Alaska Spars with Interior
Bobby Macgill, Bloomberg Law, May 8, 2024

  • Sen. Lisa Murkowski seeks Ambler Road legal analysis
  • Alaska will sue Interior to force road construction to proceed

A legal analysis of the Interior Department’s intent to block an Alaska mining road is essential before the department makes its final decision in the coming weeks, Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) said during a congressional hearing Wednesday.

Alaska officials said this week that they’ll file a lawsuit if the department chooses not to grant a right of way for the proposed Ambler Road. The project is a 211-mile gravel mining road in Alaska’s Arctic that would open up the copper-rich Ambler Mining District on the south flank of the Brooks Range. Part of the district is owned by the state …



ON YOUR RADAR: Two members of President Joe Biden’s cabinet, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Michael Regan, and Interior Secretary Deb Haaland, testified in the Senate today.

Regan’s testimony: Regan testified before the Environment and Public Works Committee to examine the president’s budget for the EPA. He fielded a number of questions about the implementation of a range of EPA rules, especially from Republicans worried about the auto emissions and power plant rules. Several GOP members argued that the power plant regulations, which would require coal plants to control their emissions in the long run through carbon capture and storage, amount to a de facto ban on coal power over time. 

In response to questioning from ranking member Shelley Moore Capito, Regan responded that plants would be able to comply with the requirements, given expected improvements in carbon capture and incentives for the technology in the IRA. “Our timeline does match with the technology,” he said. Capito then objected that the carbon pipelines that would be needed in that scenario won’t get permitted. 

In the Approps hearing room: Haaland testified in front of the Senate Appropriations subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies on the president’s budget request for her department. 

Along with discussing budgetary matters, Haaland got heat from Alaska Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski for the Interior Department’s most recent decisions to restrict new oil and gas leasing on a federal petroleum reserve in Alaska and reject the proposed Amber Road project that would have allowed access to critical minerals. 

“Alaska is being sanctioned by this administration more heavily than a sanctioned regime in places like Iran or Venezuela,” Murkowski said during her open remarks. “There is so much that we have to offer in terms of energy, in terms of the minerals that we need to produce clean energy, but it seems like the administration just does not care.” 

Murkowski went as far as to threaten to cut Interior’s budget, “until the department gets the point and returns to following the law and the balance that’s reflected within it.”  

Haaland defended the decision, arguing the department’s decision falls in line with the law, and reiterated that the department has yet to make a final decision on the Ambler project.

From the Washington Examiner, Daily on Energy, May 8, 2024