House panel votes to stop oil drilling in Arctic refuge
Rebecca Beitsch, The Hill, May 1, 2019
A House panel approved a bill Wednesday that would block drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR), advancing a key Democratic priority. The bill approved by Democrats on the House Natural Resources Committee repeals a controversial provision included in President Trump’s 2017 tax law. The provision opened up the sought-after Alaskan land to oil and gas drilling, prompting backlash from environmentalists who have long used protecting the area as a rallying cry. Republicans have hailed the passage of drilling in ANWR, saying it will significantly bolster economic prosperity and boost the nation’s energy independence.
Our take: The House can try, but as noted “the bill would face significant hurdles in the Republican-lead Senate”. There is currently no way to know if the House will even take it up for a vote.
FWS wants most conservative ANWR option
Elwood Brehmer, Alaska Journal of Commerce, May 1, 2019
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Alaska officials asked the Bureau of Land Management to select Alternative D-2 from the draft environmental impact statement published in December for leasing areas of the roughly 1.5 million-acre Coastal Plain.
Alternative D-2 would open just more than 1 million acres to oil and gas leasing; however, activity on 708,000 of those acres would be restricted by a “no surface activity” designation and another 328,000 acres would be subject to some limitations on type and timing of use to minimize development impacts on wildlife. The D-2 management option would meet the requirements of the tax reform bill while also best preserving the wilderness features prescribed in the 1980 Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act, according to the memo signed by FWS Alaska Director Greg Siekaniec.
For comparison, the least restrictive alternative would open all 1.5 million acres for leasing and just 359,000 acres — mostly along rivers in the refuge and near Kaktovik — would fall under the designation for no surface occupancy.
Natural gas prices down to zero at Waha Hub
Mella McEwen, Midland Reporter-Telegraph, April 29, 2019
“I keep hearing about all these plans to construct new pipelines … but they aren’t here yet,” Graham said. “The Texas Railroad Commission has the authority to … reduce production, thereby reducing flaring of gas. But their website just keeps boasting about record oil production every month.” Graham also offered a warning: “As production continues to increase, so will flaring of natural gas. If the Railroad Commission doesn’t step in with a solution, I’m afraid the EPA will, and none of us will be happy with that.”