RDC NEWS DIGEST
RDC Annual Meeting is July 21
Karen Harbert, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Institute for 21st Century Energy, will be the featured speaker at the Resource Development Council’s 35th Annual Meeting Luncheon at the Dena’ina Convention Center in Anchorage on Wednesday, July 21. Harbert will address “Our New Energy Reality: Challenges and Opportunities.“
Harbert leads the Institute’s efforts to build support for meaningful energy action nationally and internationally through policy development, education, and advocacy. Under Harbert’s leadership, the Institute has evolved into a premier national and increasingly recognized international organization dedicated to advancing a constructive energy agenda and transforming the energy and environmental debate into a widely supported plan of action.
Harbert, who frequently testifies before Congress and provides analysis to the media, policy makers and industry leaders, is the former Assistant Secretary for Policy and International Affairs at the U.S. Department of Energy. For additional information on Harbert and information on the event, including sponsorship and registration, please visit akrdc.org.
Attorney General asks for new ANWR notice
Alaska Attorney General Dan Sullivan has called on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to issue a new “notice of intent” for its review of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge’s (ANWR)
Comprehensive Conservation Plan (CCP), questioning whether the current notice impermissibly excludes public comments on the prospect of oil and gas development in the 1002 area of the refuge.
Sullivan’s letter to ANWR Manager Richard Voss followed up on concerns expressed May 11 by Governor Sean Parnell and came as the Alaska Department of Natural Resources also weighed in on defects in the proposed planning process.
The federal agency issued its notice of intent in April to solicit public comments that would address “the desired future conditions of the refuge” and “the full range of purposes.” But the notice stated that it will not consider comments related to oil and gas development in ANWR. However, the agency will consider new Wilderness designations, which would block energy development.
In his letter, Sullivan suggested that the notice violates the Service’s duties under the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA) and the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) because the agency is required by these statutes to evaluate the impacts of oil and gas exploration in ANWR. Disallowing public comments on matters related to oil and gas development in ANWR “likely violates NEPA,” he wrote. “We therefore request that the Service issue a corrected Notice of Intent that complies with its legal obligations under NEPA.”
Voss also received a letter from the State opposing new wilderness designations.
Meanwhile, RDC submitted comments to the Service in June supporting oil development in the 1002 area and opposing new Wilderness designations. In addition, RDC also testified at hearings in Washington and Anchorage.
To view the comments of RDC and others, please visit akrdc.org.
Governor signs cruise ship tax bill
On June 24, Governor Sean Parnell signed Senate Bill 312, which reduces the cruise ship passenger head tax. RDC worked with the Alaska Alliance for Cruise Travel (AlaskaACT) and several other organizations throughout the legislative session to communicate the damage caused by the 2006 ballot initiative, which imposed excessive taxes and unfair regulations on the cruise industry.
“The signing of SB312 is a giant step toward making Alaska a more inviting place for the cruise industry to operate, and subsequently, helps the small businesses throughout the state that depend on cruise passengers for their incomes, said RDC Executive Director Jason Brune. “We applaud Governor Parnell and all those who helped make the passage of this bill a reality.”
FERC approves Denali gas
pipeline open season plan
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) approved the Open Season Plan filed by Denali – The Alaska Gas Pipeline. Denali will commence its open season on July 6.
“We are pleased that the FERC has approved our open season plan,” said Bud Fackrell, Denali President.“This approval confirms that Denali’s plan is complete and consistent with FERC requirements. We look forward to beginning our open season in July of this year.”
The open season process is overseen by the FERC, and is an important milestone in the development of the pipeline project. During the open season, Denali will be soliciting multi-year, multi- billion dollar financial commitments from its potential customers. These commitments are essential to a successful project, and indicate the level of market interest in Alaska’s North Slope natural gas.
The Denali Project consists of a gas treatment plant (GTP) on the North Slope, transmission lines from the Prudhoe Bay and Point Thomson fields to the GTP, and a mainline that will cross Alaska and traverse through the Yukon Territory and British Columbia to its terminus at Blueberry Hill in western Alberta. Also included will be delivery points along the route to help meet natural gas demand in Alaska and Canada. Denali’s cost estimate for the GTP and mainline is $35 billion. The Denali open season is expected to end October 4.
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