Today’s Key Takeaways: Interior Secretary defends Willow. Supremes leave climate change cases re: oil to the states. Texas is looking to new natural gas plants for back-up power for their grid. Palmer project in Southeast, AK to spend $25.5 million in 2023.
NEWS OF THE DAY:
Haaland defends Willow, says US won’t end oil drilling
Matthew Daly, AP, April 21, 2023
Interior Secretary Deb Haaland defended her department’s approval of the contentious Willow oil project on Friday, saying that despite President Joe Biden’s campaign promise to end new drilling on federal lands, “We’re not going to turn the faucet off and say we’re not drilling anymore.″
Speaking to the annual conference of the Society of Environmental Journalists, Haaland said the Biden administration is “following the science and the law when it comes to everything we do, and that includes gas and oil″ leases considered by her agency, which oversees U.S. public lands and waters.
Despite Biden’s pledge, “We’re not going to say we’re not going to use gas and oil. That’s not reality, ″ Haaland said. “So we are doing the best we absolutely can. ″
Haaland’s comments came after the administration faced sharp criticism from some of its strongest supporters — especially young climate activists — after Interior approved the $8 billion Willow project on March 13. The massive drilling plan by oil giant ConocoPhillips could produce up to 180,000 barrels of oil a day on Alaska’s petroleum-rich North Slope.
SCOTUS DECLINES TO HEAR OIL COMPANIES’ APPEAL ON CLIMATE CHANGE CASES: The Supreme Court declined to hear appeals from oil companies seeking to shift climate suits to federal courts, allowing the oil majors to be held liable for any damages as determined by individual state courts.
The decision is a blow to the oil majors’ push to have their concerns heard by a federal court, where they are widely believed to have a higher chance of success than in state and local jurisdictions.
The primary appeal was led by ExxonMobil and Suncor Energy, who sought to move the suit by two Colorado counties and the city of Boulder, according to the Examiner’s Kaelan Deese.
The localities argue the companies should compensate taxpayers for the higher cost of road maintenance and fighting wildfires. Chevron, ConocoPhillips, Shell, Phillips 66, and BP also filed appeals in cases filed in Colorado local governments.
From the Washington Examiner, Daily on Energy
Texas Is Considering Natural Gas Plants for Emergency Backup
Institute for Energy Research, April 24, 2023
The increasing threat of blackouts is spurring Texas politicians to consider a plan to fund new natural gas-fired power plants that would provide back-up power to the grid. The plan is to build up to 10 gigawatts to provide backup generation that is weatherized and has on-site fuel, creating an energy insurance fund. Builders of the facilities would be assured returns of up to 10 percent. The plan is estimated to cost $18 billion, putting the price tag of the “Texas Energy Insurance Program” around $7 billion over what had previously been estimated. The bill, SB 6, sets aside $10.8 billion to finance 10,000 megawatts of natural gas power plants. The power plants would be used only in case of power grid emergencies, acting similar to a backup generator for the state power grid.
SB 6 leaves open the question of whether the plants would be paid for using state funds or through extra charges to electricity customers served by the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), which covers most of the state. A $10.8 billion price tag would mean an extra cost of less than $4 a month for residential customers, according to Alicia Knapp, president and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway Energy Renewables. The plan would direct the state to hire one or several entities such as the river authority to build power plants that could come online during emergencies. The plants would be able to supply 2 million homes during peak demand and could run for days, unlike battery backup power.
American Pacific Mining Announces $25.5 Million USD 2023 Budget for The Palmer Copper-Zinc-Silver-Gold Project, Southeast Alaska
Junior Mining Network, April 24, 2023
VANCOUVER, British Columbia, April 24, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — American Pacific Mining Corp (CSE: USGD / OTCQX: USGDF / FWB: 1QC) (“American Pacific” or the “Company”) is pleased to announce the 2023 budget and work program for the Palmer Project (“Palmer” or the “Project”), an advanced-stage, high-grade volcanogenic massive sulphide-sulphate (“VMS”) project located within the Porcupine Mining District of the Haines Borough, Alaska.
The 2023, multi-purpose, US $25.5 million work program at the Palmer Project, includes a surface exploration drilling program, geotechnical drilling, camp construction, ongoing baseline environmental and site engineering work.
2023 Palmer work program highlights:
- A 9,000 metre (“m”) resource infill drill program at the Southwall Zone designed to begin the process of upgrading mineral resources from Inferred to Measured and Indicated at Palmer. The Palmer Deposit (Southwall and RW Zones) currently include an Indicated mineral resource of 4.68 million tonnes grading 5.23% zinc,1.49% copper, 30.0 grams per tonne (“g/t”) silver, 0.30 g/t gold and inferred mineral resource of 5.34 million tonnes grading 5.20% zinc, 0.96% copper, 29.2 g/t silver, 0.28 g/t gold.1
- A 2,550 m, nine-hole geotechnical drill program to improve the understanding of the hydrogeology, including water volume and quality at Palmer.
- On-going camp construction to support seasonal exploration activities.
- Environmental and permitting, including on-going environmental baseline studies and compliance work.
- Engineering studies, including metallurgical programs on the Southwall and RW Zone mineralization, a production site evaluation that provides an alternate production portal, mill and tailing management analysis, and ongoing preparations for a feasibility study.