ANWR Archives - Shopfloor

Throwing Another Bill Into the Climate Mix

By | Energy, Global Warming | No Comments

Roll Call, “ Kerry Sparks Fight on Climate“:

In an already challenging election year for the majority, Sen. John Kerry’s (D-Mass.) rush to pass a climate change bill has many Democrats scratching their heads and charging that their 2004 presidential nominee could further imperil vulnerable Members this fall.

Climate change had been considered all but dead this year, and Senate Democrats have little appetite to take up the controversial issue after the beating that they have endured over their as-yet-unfinished health care reform efforts.

The Hill, “Sen. Kerry lobbies for climate compromise; actual bill to come“:

The three senators writing compromise climate legislation are lobbying business groups in hopes of winning their support for the effort. One obstacle: the absence of an actual bill…[snip]

As he tries to sell the legislation, Kerry is de-emphasizing its relation to climate change.

“What we are talking about is a jobs bill. It is not a climate bill. It is a jobs bill, and it is a clean air bill. It is a national security, energy independence bill,” he told reporters in the Capitol this week.

A national security, energy independence bill? Really?

From The Anchorage Daily News, “Lieberman to Murkowski: Forget ANWR drilling“:

Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski said Wednesday that opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling might be the price of her swing vote in favor of energy and climate legislation. But The Hill reports today that Sen. Joe Lieberman — a longtime opponent of ANWR drilling — says ANWR drilling would be a “deal breaker” in his attempt to craft a bipartisan climate bill.

More Energy is a Good Thing; House GOP Releases Plan

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From The New York Times, “House Republicans Draft Energy Bill With Heavy Focus on Nuclear Power“:

The Republican proposal, drafted by a group led by Representative Mike Pence of Indiana, leans heavily on nuclear power, setting a goal of building 100 reactors over the next 20 years. No new nuclear plants have been ordered in the United States since 1978 because of the high cost of construction and uncertainty about regulatory approval.

The bill also provides incentives for increased oil and gas production on public and private lands and offshore.

The emphasis on nuclear power is certainly key, but the American Energy Act in fact embraces a comprehensive approach arguing for the use of all the sources of energy available to us, as well as conservation.

Reps. Mike Pence, John Shimkus and Fred Upton describe the plan in a Wall Street Journal op-ed, “The GOP’s Energy Alternative.” Rep. Pence of Indiana also appeared on the “Morning Joe” program to discuss the plan. (Transcript and video.)

From the House GOP caucus:

Senator Murkowski, an ANWR Energy Proposal

By | Energy | One Comment

From the Oil & Gas Journal, “Murkowski urges directional drilling for ANWR“:

WASHINGTON, DC, Feb. 20 — US Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alas.) said on Feb. 19 that she plans to propose using directional drilling on state land and waters in initial Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) oil and gas resources development, with no surface occupancy.

That approach means there would be no occupancy, pipelines, construction, or facilities that would impact the refuge or its wildlife, she said in her annual address to Alaska’s legislature in Juneau.

“America will get the energy it needs, and those concerned about the impact to wilderness will be able to enjoy and preserve the refuge exactly as it is today. It is the best of both worlds,” she maintained.

Murkowski said her bill would take advantage of technological improvements in underground oil development to allow state land-based production platforms to siphon crude oil and gas from beneath the refuge.

Interesting. So it’s the “pristine” ANWR that opponents of north slope energy development want to protect, or is it any drilling, at all? Murkowski’s bill takes the measure of the environmentalists.

In Administration’s Energy Positions, May Energy be the Priority

By | Economy, Energy, Global Warming | No Comments

resident-elect Obama formally announced his energy and environmental team Monday afternoon. From the news release: Steven Chu, Secretary of Energy; Lisa Jackson, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator; Nancy Sutley, Chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality; Carol Browner, Assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Change; and Heather Zichal, Deputy Assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Change.

NAM President John Engler issued a statement:

President-elect Obama’s choice of Steve Chu to be Secretary of Energy, Lisa Jackson as Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, Carol Browner to lead the policy council on environment and energy, and Nancy Sutley to Chair the Council on Environmental Quality, reflects his continuing determination to bring highly qualified people into his Administration, and his commitment to the vitally important task of bridging the nation’s energy needs with the complex challenge of climate change. All three of these individuals are highly regarded in their fields and bring with them noteworthy commitment to public service. The challenge they face is daunting, not only in its scope, but also in the potential it holds for jobs and energy security. The manufacturers of America look forward to working with the new energy and environmental team to balance energy needs with environmental considerations.

In recent discussions with NAM members, Engler has consistently emphasized the need for developing and using as many forms of energy as possible,  ruling nothing out, and noted campaign statements from then Senator Obama expressing an openness to off-shore drilling. After all…

WASHINGTON – The development of America’s vast domestic oil and natural gas resources that had been kept off-limits by Congress for decades could generate more than $1.7 trillion in government revenue, create thousands of new jobs and enhance the nation’s energy security by significantly boosting domestic production, a study released Monday shows.

The ICF International study, commissioned by the American Petroleum Institute (API), shows that developing the offshore areas that had been subject to Congressional moratoria until recently, as well as the resources in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and a small portion of currently unavailable federal lands in the Rockies, would lift U.S. crude oil production by as much as 2 million barrels per day in 2030, offsetting nearly a fifth of the nation’s imports. Natural gas production could increase by 5.34 billion cubic feet per day, or the equivalent of 61 percent of the expected natural gas imports in 2030.

The study also estimates that the development of all U.S. oil and natural gas resources on federal lands could exceed $4 trillion over the life of the resources.

If the goal of the new Administration is to stimulate the economy and create jobs, expanding access to the vast wealth in now off-limits energy resources would be a great move.


Sarah Palin as McCain’s Pick for Vice President

By | Energy | No Comments

We do not have an NAM voting record to post for Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, obviously, and are really aware only of her strong record in support for domestic energy development. (Although there might be a little institutional leaning toward governors around here, too.)  On economic issues, we’re heartened by Larry Kudlow’s praise for her, as Larry is an avid, tireless, smart, good supporter of the U.S. manufacturing economy and global competitiveness. Here’s what Kudlow said this a.m. at National Review Online:

McCain-Palin? I’ll Be Thrilled [Larry Kudlow]

If the rumors about Sarah Palin are true, I will be thrilled. She’s been my first choice all along. She’s a strong pro-life, supply-side, drill-drill-drill-ethics reformer who has worked hard to change the Ted Stevens culture-of-corruption problem in Alaska. A cheap-shot Democratic legislative investigation of Palin appeared to slow her momentum down a few weeks ago. But John McCain would electrify everyone if this choice pans out.

Here and here are the transcripts of my most recent interviews with Gov. Palin on K&C.

Palin: Alaskans are frustrated because there is opposition in Congress to developing our vast amount of natural resources. We want to contribute more to the rest of the United States. We want to help secure the United States, and help us get off this reliance of foreign sources of energy.

It’s a very nonsensical position we’re in right now. We send President Bush and Secretary (of Energy Sam) Bodman overseas to ask the Saudis to ramp up production of crude oil so that hungry markets in America can be fed, (and) your sister state in Alaska has those resources. But these lands are locked up by Congress, and we are not allowed to drill to the degree America needs the development.

Around the Energy Horn Again

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  • New York Times,Drilling Boom Revives Hopes for Natural Gas “: “HOUSTON — American natural gas production is rising at a clip not seen in half a century, pushing down prices of the fuel and reversing conventional wisdom that domestic gas fields were in irreversible decline.”


  • Reuters,First mass U.S. crossing for hydrogen cars completed“: “LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Hydrogen fuel cell cars from nine automakers completed a 13-day cross-country trip this weekend, in the first such mass U.S. crossing for vehicles powered by a zero-emission technology still in its infancy.” The vehicles were trucked between Rolla, Mo., and Albuquerque because of the lack of hydrogen filling stations.


  • Wall Street Journal, Washington Wire Blog, “Pelosi on Natural Gas: Fossil Fuel or Not?“: “On NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday, the speaker twice seemed to suggest that natural gas – an energy source she favors – is not a fossil fuel. …”I believe in natural gas as a clean, cheap alternative to fossil fuels,” she said at one point. Natural gas “is cheap, abundant and clean compared to fossil fuels,” she said at another.


  • Wall Street Journal, Environmental Capital Blog, “Texas Breeze: Landowners Call Wind Turbines Ugly; Court Says Too Bad“: “For now, wind power’s triumphant march in the U.S. can count on another legal smackdown of “NIMBYism,” after a Texas appeals court yesterday dismissed a suit by landowners upset with a big wind farm built by FPL Energy. Landowners decried the turbines’ noise and their spoiled sunsets—which the court agreed was a pity—but the appeals court couldn’t find grounds to rule against the power company.”


  • Fairbanks Daily News-Miner,ANWR Option“: “Sean Parnell, lieutenant governor and a Republican candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives, proposed a land swap as a way of opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. ‘I propose a land swap of 2,000 acres of state land to the federal government in exchange for 2,000 acres of the coastal plain in ANWR into state hands,’ Parnell said at a press conference Tuesday in Fairbanks.”

  • George Will, “Obama’s Economic Fairytale“: “Obama has also promised that “we will get 1 million 150-mile-per-gallon plug-in hybrids on our roads within six years.” What a tranquilizing verb “get” is. This senator, who has never run so much as a Dairy Queen, is going to get a huge, complex industry to produce, and is going to get a million consumers to buy, these cars. How? Almost certainly by federal financial incentives for both — billions of dollars of tax subsidies for automakers, and billions more to bribe customers to buy these cars they otherwise would spurn.”

Don’t Forget ANWR

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Michael Barone, dissecting the politics of energy, uses ANWR as a case study. Public opinion that previously rewarded groups and politicians for blocking energy development there has shifted.

The ANWR ban is the work of environmental restriction groups that depend on direct-mail fundraising to pay their bills and keep their jobs. That means they must always claim the sky is falling. They can’t get people to send a check or mouse-click a donation because they did a good job, the restrictions they imposed on the Alaska pipeline in the 1970s have done a good job in preserving the environment or because clean air acts of the past have vastly reduced air pollution.

ANWR is a precious cause for them because it can be portrayed (dishonestly) as a national treasure and because the pressure for drilling there has been unrelenting. Democrats have enlisted solidly in their army, and they have also been able to recruit Republicans who wanted to get good environmental scorecards to impress enviro-conscious voters in states like Florida, New Jersey and Minnesota.

Now all that is in danger, because the pain of paying $60 for a tank of gas has convinced most Americans to worry less about the caribou or the recurrence of an oil spill that happened 39 years ago. Democratic leaders are preventing Congress from voting on continental shelf and ANWR drilling or oil shale development because they fear their side would lose and are making the transparently absurd claim that drilling won’t lower the price of oil. They’re scampering to say that they would allow drilling somewhere — mostly in places where the oil companies haven’t found any oil.

ANWR’s used as a fundraiser?

Speaking of that Naval Petroleum Reserve-Alaska

By | Energy | No Comments

We’ve had a couple of posts this week (here and here) about the Naval Petroleum Reserve-Alaska, an area that all of a sudden had struck some usually energy-shy members of Congress as just a splendid place to drill, since it’s not ANWR… and since it’s not on the Outer Continental Shelf…and perhaps since it’s all tied up in litigation…and it might not even be profitable, so they won’t drill anyway.

Wonder if this news will prompt a shift in the shifting…

From the Bureau of Land Management:

In a Record of Decision issued today, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) announced that it will make land available for oil and gas leasing in the northeast portion of the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska (NPR-A).

“This action sets the stage for a major lease sale this fall. This is welcome news at a time when Americans are paying record prices at the pump,” said C. Stephen Allred, Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals, in signing the ROD.
At the same lease sale, the BLM also plans to offer land in the northwest portion of the NPR-A.
“The rapid increase in energy costs facing our nation is driven by a worldwide imbalance in energy supply and demand,” Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne said. “Developing the NPR-A in an environmentally sound manner will contribute to our domestic oil and natural gas supplies. Together with new production from other offshore and onshore areas, these increased supplies will help stabilize energy costs.”
The lands made available for leasing under plans for NPR-A northeast and northwest could result in a much as 8.4 billion barrels of oil being developed. The lands could also provide trillions of cubic feet of natural gas for shipment to North American markets through gas pipelines currently in the planning stages.
As this chart from a 2007 DOE study of Alaskan energy resources demonstrates, NPR-A is nowhere near as promising as ANWR: NPRA has a potential of 281,600 barrels of recoverable oil per square mile, versus 3.5 million barrels for square mile of ANWR.
But the philosophy around here is: All kinds of energy, from anywhere you can get it, and new technology makes so many more sources of energy affordable and environmentally responsible. Renewable fuels, coal, nuclear power, wind, natural gas — we need it all, along with increased conservation and efficiency.

Energy: Testing Knowledge, Adding to Your Knowledge

By | Energy | One Comment

The American Petroleum Institute has just released its second annual Energy IQ Survey, a national public opinion survey conducted by Harris International. As you might imagine, the public is paying a lot more attention to energy policy today than back in pre-$2 gas days, but there are still some misconceptions:

  • When asked how much more energy the U.S. will need in the next 20 years, 53 percent of respondents answered correctly that we will need between 16 and 20 percent more energy.
  • While the International Energy Agency projects that more than 80 percent of global energy demand in 2030 will be met by fossil fuels such as oil, natural gas and coal, only 12 percent of respondents chose this answer. The majority believed it would be 60 percent or less.
  • There’s a nifty test-you-own-knowledge survey machine at the web site.

    The Institute for Energy Research has been working assiduously exploring the facts and fiction about energy exploration.  Lately any politicians have been repeating loudly the slogan, “We can’t drill our way out of this problem,” while at the same time saying, “We should drill in the Naval Petroleum Reserve Alaska” not ANWR. What the heck is the NPR-A? The Institute does the comparisons in the paper, “Alaska’s Northern Coastal Plain: NPR-A, Prudhoe Bay and ANWR“:

    Q: Would it be faster and/or more environmentally sound to drill in NPR-A instead of ANWR’s 1002 Area?

    A: No.  While both NPR-A and ANWR’s 1002 Area were set aside specifically for their oil and gas resources, NPR-A oil is spread out over its entire 23 million acre expanse.  The 10.4 billion barrels in ANWR’s 1002 area, on the other hand, is concentrated in one relatively small area and, as such, can be produced with far less surface disturbance.  Also, 21st century technologies enable companies to produce energy safely, as they have been doing in Prudhoe Bay for more than three decades.

    Q: Why isn’t oil being produced in the NPR-A today?

    A: Lawsuits filed by environmental organizations such as Earthjustice, the Sierra Club, and the Natural Resources Defense Council have stalled production in NPR-A.  In addition, a U.S. Corps of Engineers permit has not yet been granted to install a critical pipeline.  

    Wonder if the NRDC might retire its lawsuit. Probably not. The polar bear is its fundraising mascot.

    Finally, Investors’ Business Daily debunked the major diversionary tactics in this very good editorial from July 3, “Energy Myths.”

    Needed: a Serious Debate about Energy Supply

    By | Energy | 2 Comments

    In recent weeks, as the public and political support grew for domestic energy production, we’ve seen interesting counterproposals. Today, for example, in response to the President lifting the executive order banning offshore energy development, House Majority Leader Hoyer issued a statement:

    “Drilling in the OCS will do nothing to lower gas prices, but it will mean one more handout to those who are already enjoying billions of dollars in taxpayer subsidies. Let me remind President Bush: If the oil companies wanted more domestic drilling, they could begin today. They could begin on the 68 million acres of land that are already set aside, leased, and available for drilling. And with upcoming Democratic legislation to speed up the leasing process for 20 million more acres in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve-Alaska, they’ll be able to drill there, too.”
    Funny thing is, up until the last, oh, two months, we’d barely heard of this “use it or lose it” idea, demanding energy companies drill on existing leases before drilling commenced elsewhere. It certainly wasn’t a major part of the public policy debate the last several years when Congress considered more leasing in the Gulf of Mexico or took another run at ANWR.  Then all of a sudden, people are introducing bills, it becomes a major talking point…
    And the idea of accessing the Strategic Petroleum Reserve-Alaska, well…what? Where did that come from? 
    It’s true that in 2002, the National Petroleum Reserve Alaska (NPRA) was mentioned as an alternative to the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge development.  The Congressional Research Service did a study, “The National Petroleum Reserve – Alaska (NPRA).” Included was this finding:
    [New] estimates for NPRA present a more optimistic picture, estimating 1.3 billion barrels economically recoverable at a price of $22/barrel (bbl), and 5.6 billion barrels economically recoverable with a market price of $30/bbl (2001 constant dollars). Technically recoverable oil is estimated at 5.9-13.2 billion barrels; the mean estimate is 9.3 billion barrels.

    Well, that’s something, but according to this 2007 report on Alaska’s energy potential from the Department of Energy and National Energy Technology Laboratory, it’s not all that much of something in comparison to ANWR.  A chart on page 19 reports:


    So the NPRA has a potential of 281,600 barrels of recoverable oil per square mile, versus 3.5 million barrels for square mile of ANWR? Maybe that’s why we hadn’t heard about it before.

    Advocates of increasing domestic energy supplies have been consistently making the same case for years now: America is foolish to lock away its own energy resources when they can be accessed in a way that’s both environmentally safe and profitable. Let’s not ignore the supply side of energy supply and demand. (Again, take a look at that API statement from 1990.)

    In contrast, these various counterproposals — “use it or lose it,” NPRA, let’s tap the Strategic Petroleum Reserve for two days and a couple of hours — are coming up in shotgun, reactive way, almost as if they are intended not as serious policy proposals but rather as political chaff meant to deflect criticism. 

    It’s not that confusing, really. We have vast energy resources in the United States. We need that energy. Let’s go get it.