Vaccines for AK’s oil, mining industry workers. EV an emissions asterisk?

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State expands vaccines to fisheries, oil, mining industry workers
Margaret Bauman, The Cordova Times, February 11, 2021

Alaska’s COVID-19 vaccination program has been expanded to include nonresidents working as frontline essential workers employed by fisheries, mining and oil companies, state officials announced on Wednesday, Feb. 10.

The message from the Dunleavy administration to dozens of people in all three industries via email acknowledged the importance of protecting seasonal and rotational workers, which in turn protects the communities in which they work. 

Vaccines will be provided to all those who qualify as essential workers, whether resident or nonresident, provided that they meet criteria under the existing vaccine rollout.
All three industries collectively contribute substantially to the overall economy and workforce of Alaska, and, since the pandemic began, have spent millions of dollars in an effort to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus.  The seafood industry, which brings in hundreds of workers year-round for processing groundfish, shellfish, salmon, halibut and more, is of particular concern because of its operations in rural communities with limited medical facilities and a lingering memory of the 1918 pandemic that killed hundreds of people.


From the Washington Examiner, Daily on Energy:

MANCHIN CALLS ON BIDEN TO NOT GIVE UP ON GAS: Manchin is asking Biden to consider the “many benefits” of natural gas production as the administration crafts future executive actions.

In another letter to Biden yesterday, Manchin, who recently pushed Biden to reconsider nixing the Keystone XL oil pipeline, seems to warn against limiting oil and gas leasing on federal lands beyond the temporary pause his administration has ordered.

Manchin, who represents West Virginia, which has seen gas production replace coal, said Biden must take into account how the shale boom has bolstered energy security and supported more than 1 million jobs as he “evaluates the federal oil and gas leasing program.”

He stressed the U.S. can continue producing natural gas “responsibly” by reducing methane flaring and leaks and developing carbon capture technologies.


Trilogy, South32 partner with Alaska to fund critical mine road
Cecilia Jamasmie, Mining.Com, February 12, 2021

Ambler Metals, a joint venture between Canada’s Trilogy Metals (TSX, NYSE: TMQ) and Australia’s South32 (ASX, LSE, JSE: S32), has inked a development funding agreement with the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority (AIDEA) aimed at building a critical road for a copper-zinc-gold project in the state’s northwest.

The partnership, formed in 2019, seeks to eventually develop the Upper Kobuk Mineral Projects (UKMP) in Alaska’s Ambler mining district. Building an access road to the deposit is one of the first steps to achieving that goal.

The agreement defines how AIDEA and Ambler Metals will work together on pre-development work for the access project, funding and oversight of the project’s feasibility and permitting.

The parties have agreed to contribute up to $35 million each for the road’s pre-development costs. The deal runs until they have reached a decision on the road project construction, which is expected before the end of 2024.

“We see the signed agreement as another positive step forward towards the eventual construction of the Ambler access road,” BMO metals and mining analyst, Rene Cartier, said in a note to investors.


Biden drilling ban forces Democratic-led New Mexico to reckon with oil dependence
Nichola Groom, Valerie Volcovici, Jennifer Hiller, Reuters, February 9, 2021

When Stan Rounds heard about U.S. President Joe Biden’s plans to suspend new drilling on federal lands to fight climate change, he worried about the education budget.

Rounds heads a state association of school administrators. He knows that New Mexico – home to the country’s richest oil fields on federal lands – depends heavily on drilling revenues to finance its struggling public schools. And budgets have already taken a hit from falling crude prices as the coronavirus pandemic sapped global fuel demand.

“While you appreciate the green policies for environmental issues, you can’t strangulate the revenue streams in New Mexico,” said Rounds, executive director of the New Mexico Coalition of Educational Leaders. “So we’re very concerned.”

New Mexico’s money troubles reflect the dangers facing oil-dependent economies around the globe at a time when volatile petroleum prices and rising concern about climate change pushes governments to transition to cleaner energy sources. And it points to an inconvenient truth that could undermine newly sworn-in Democratic President Biden’s promises to enact sweeping policy changes to address climate change.


EVs Are the Lowest Climate Priority
Holman W. Jenkins, The Wall Street Journal, February 12, 2021

The Joe Biden administration will be piling a lot of chips on electric cars, the most popular and least useful way of fighting climate change. How much do the cars you and I drive actually contribute to emissions?

Don’t ask the Union of Concerned Scientists, an EV promoter habituated to quickly changing the subject to “transportation” emissions. Many inventories also ignore the full range of greenhouse emissions, focusing on CO2 to foster a nevertheless-untenable illusion that passenger cars provide leverage over a global climate problem. No matter how you fiddle the data, personal EVs are a single-digit factor and belong low on any sane list of priorities.

If the Environmental Protection Agency is right, the average light vehicle racks up 11,500 miles a year and sits idle 96% of the time. The World Resources Institute says passenger vehicles account for 7.5% of all emissions, but this includes buses, taxis, etc. Rental cars average 31,000 miles. Other fleet vehicles average 23,000 or more. Heavy trucks average 63,000 miles. One finding that appalled fleet operators is that their vehicles spend up to 33% of their time idling, which is not how people treat their personal vehicles.

The International Energy Agency in 2016 estimated that if 50% of all new cars were electric, petroleum use would continue to grow because of “trucks, aviation and the petrochemical industry and we don’t have major alternatives to oil products there.”