Our Take – We appreciate the Senate Majority giving Alaskans an opportunity to provide input on issues facing Alaska. We also note, as does the Senate Majority, the shortcomings of the polling process.
Collaborative effort for Arctic icebreaking gains traction
Associated Press, January 31, 2019
A proposal to use private and foreign ships to help fill the demand for commercial icebreaking is gaining traction among Arctic stakeholders. Polar Institute Director Mike Sfraga said the concept would be similar to ride-hailing services like Uber, but instead it would be a commercial ship calling for support vessels to help cross Arctic waters, Alaska Public Media reported Wednesday. The “Uber for icebreakers” model would call for a collaborative effort among the northern countries to create an Arctic pathway paid by commerce fees, Sfraga said at a roundtable discussion in the U.S. Senate last week.
Our Take: An interesting concept worth investigating. If the US has to wait 10 years for one icebreaker – it pretty much defeats the notion of being prepared.
Interior delays public comment deadline for ANWR oil leasing
Elizabeth Harball, Alaska’s Energy Desk, January 30, 2019
Following the government shutdown, the Interior department is giving the public an additional month to weigh in on its controversial plans to allow oil leasing in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. In a statement, top Interior official Joe Balash said the comment period is being extended from February 11 to March 13, in response to requests from Alaska communities and tribes, as well as nonprofits from across the U.S. Democrats in Congress who oppose drilling in the Refuge had also written letters urging Interior to extend the comment period, arguing the shutdown limited the agency’s ability to provide information to the public. During the government shutdown, Interior was continuing to plan meetings about oil leasing in the Refuge, leading to outcry from Democratic lawmakers and environmental groups. The agency later announced it was delaying the meetings, although the dates and locations had never been publicly announced.
Our Take: The public has more time to comment. Here is the schedule for hearings. Don’t miss your opportunity.
FERC delays on LNG decision frays nerves
James Osborne, The Houston Chronicle, January 31, 2019
The mysterious delay of a $4.5 billion liquefied natural gas facility on the Louisiana coast has turned a case before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission into the subject of a Washington guessing game raising fears that what had been a predictable approval process for the nation’s booming natural gas exports is becoming mired in partisan politics.
Our Take: A predictable process hijacked by politics does not create a stable investment environment.