Tag Archives: Alaska

$80M Pork Project Sits Useless in AK

MV_Susitna_-_Catamaran_Ice_Breaking_Ferry_for_Alaska

It sounds like an April Fool’s news story. But it’s not. Over the weekend a report emerged that should make everyone shake their heads. A brand new, unwanted high speed ferry worth $80 Million was put up for auction receiving only one bid of $750,000.

The 200 foot vessel was christened in 2010. Built in Southeast Alaska it was designed for use in the Southcentral area of the state. Only problem? There is no dock or plans to build any docking facilities for the ferry.

So what happened?

In a nutshell, a boat designer convinced the state of Alaska and the Department of Defense that he could create a new type of boat that could be raised or lowered in the water providing icebreaking ability. This high speed vessel would be used to ferry residents the length of Cook Inlet and would be available for rapid deployment in case a disaster, such as an emergency plane landing in the inlet.

It sounds good on paper right?

Imagine with me a whole bunch of guys spending other peoples’ money talking about this idea. You might call them ‘Yes-Men’. Imagine the adjectives being tossed around: novel, new technology, rapid response, ground breaking. . . Sure, they all said, “Let’s build it!”

But what about the cost?

The population of the entire borough this ferry would serve was only 80,000 residents. In fact, Alaska’s most populated city of Anchorage hovers at 300,000. A pricey endeavor for a small population. Luckily, the Navy was interested and because they were, much of the money was paid from the DoD budget. Alaska Senator Ted Stevens was said to be instrumental in getting the earmarks for this pork project added. (Yes, he was a Republican.)

MV_Susitna_-_Catamaran_Ice_Breaking_Ferry_for_AlaskaUnfortunately, without additional foresight, the prototype was built.

After its completion, a state study discovered the boat can hold 134 passengers but only 20 vehicles, and burns 375 gallons of fuel an hour. A state ferry with a similar capacity, the Lituya, burns 55 gallons an hour. The borough and the state decided they really couldn’t use it. It was too expensive and docks currently within the state ferry system would have to be reconfigured.

Here we are three years later. It costs the state $75,000 each month to maintain and now we know nobody else even wants to bid on this white elephant…or should we say orca?

One has to wonder, in light of the severe military cuts via the sequestration, how many veterans college tuition costs would have been covered if the federal government had just thought this project through?

Read more at the Mat-Su Borough website, the Anchorage Daily News or even the MV Susitna’s own website.

U.S Oil Production to Shut Down Completely? Is That the Goal?

Note: Article revised to include recent decision to allow the bridge to be built, with conditions yet to be named.

In the great state of Alaska there is a region that is designated as the National Petroleum Reserve. (NPR, and no, this is not about the National Propaganda Radio, which also goes by NPR) The NPR consists of 23 million acres of Alaska’s North Slope wilderness that was originally established in 1923 by President Harding to supply the oil needed to keep the U.S. Navy fueled. Since it’s establishment, the National Petroleum Reserve has sat idle, and today there is not one single production well in operation there. Access is difficult, to say the least, and with no current roads, all equipment would have to be flown in, making it increasingly expensive to extract the oil and distribute it to refineries or transportation hubs.

So just why has there been exactly no oil or gas production from the designated National Petroleum Reserves in question? It was designated almost 90 years ago, and with America trying to reduce her independence on foreign oil, it only seems logical to carefully open it up for production. As a matter of fact, 4 million carefully studied acres were opened up back in the 80’s, as the federal government sold several leases in the area, but none were developed, and then they expired. The same thing happened in the 90’s, as the federal government again sold another $150 million dollars worth of drilling rights in NPR-Alaska. The history behind NPR-A, and the reasons as to why there has never been a drop of oil or a cubic meter of gas production is well documented here, from the Government Affairs Program-American Geological Institute. Here is the final report summary listed in the above linked page:

“The final report was issued on August 7, 1998. It states that 4 million acres (87 percent) of the area studied will be available for leasing. Development in 20 percent of that area will be limited by prohibiting oil and gas surface pipelines but can be accessed by directional drilling. The areas where leasing is prohibited or restricted fall mainly around the Teshekpuk Lake and Colville River, which provide habitats for molting geese, caribou, raptors and passerine. The plan also prohibits oil and gas facilities in riparian areas identified by the North Slope residents and governments as areas important for subsistence and forms a Subsistence Advisory Panel”

That was back in 1998, and after decades of studies and input from local citizens,s state agencies, and a slew of environmental groups, there was a firm plan put into place to allow the extraction of oil and gas deposits from the NPR-A designated areas. Note in the above final report, that it specifically mentions the Colville River area. This is at the center of the latest roadblock that has been put in the way of any production from NPR-A. From an article at FoxNews.com, dated Nov. 28, 2011, we see the following headline: Energy in America: No Bridge to Oil. The bridge that is now being denied in that article is in fact a proposed bridge over the Colville River that is mentioned in the above paragraph. 30 years of exhaustive studies, research and planning in the designated National Petroleum Reserve – Alaska, along with millions of dollars in the sale of leases and drilling rights, were once again poised to be all for nothing, because of a fight over a bridge. How do the locals feel about this bridge? The mayor of the town Nuiqsuit, Thomas Napageak says the bridge would make his town a hub for the oil industry and help lower the current 38% unemployment.

Conoco Phillips wants to build a road bridge and pipeline over the river to connect to the nearby Alpine development, which sits just outside the NPR. But the Army Corps of Engineers and related EPA and Fish and Wildlife agencies originally rejected the plan telling the oil company it had to go under the river. Update 12/11/2011: From the Petroleum News we see the following headline: Agencies Agree on Bridge, Corps of Engineers decision this year.

The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and the Environmental Protection Agency, which had opposed the company’s plan to put the crude oil pipeline from CD-5 to the company’s Alpine production facilities on a bridge to be built across the Nigliq Channel of the Colville River, have reached “an agreement in principle” with the company on the proposal.

While this looks like marvelous news at the onset, ConocPhillips Alaska spokeswoman Natalie Lowman said in a Dec 5th email, “We have not yet seen the permit nor it’s conditions, but we are encouraged by today’s announcement.”

Alaska Congressman Don Young added that while he welcomed this most recent announcement, “The fact of the matter is that this should have happened sooner.” He noted the importance of the CD-5 project not only for Alaska jobs, “but also because it will put this nation on a path towards becoming energy independent.”

This is a very welcome development in moving America forward towards energy independence in the future. The only question left to ask is, “Why did it take almost 90 years to do it?

Sarah Palin: 2012 Presidential Profile

Personal Information

Sarah Louise (Heath) Palin was born February 11, 1964, in Sandpoint, Idaho,
but the family moved to Alaska when Sarah was just 3 months old.

Youth Accomplishments
Played on the 1982 Wasilla High School’s Championship Basketball Team- she was
co-captain and point guard
Was the First Runner Up in the 1984 Miss Alaska contest

 

Education
1983- Graduated from Wasilla High School
1987- Graduated with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Communications-Journalism from the University of Idaho

Family
1988- Married her high school boyfriend, Todd Palin. They have five children: Track, Bristol, Willow, Piper and Trig. They also have one grandchild- Tripp, who is Bristol’s son.

Sarah Palin’s family has been harassed endlessly by the liberal media, pundit, and any other number of wanna-be’s. I am a firm believer that any candidate who throws their hat into the ring for any political race should be prepared for endless scrutiny, I believe the children of the candidate should be COMPLETELY OFF LIMITS! In the event that the child is a minor I believe it should be a crime to attack them personally.

The Palin family- one and all- are true patriots for what they have had to endure in the spotlight!  If Sarah does indeed throw her hat into the ring for the 2012 Presidential race I know that the personal attacks against all family members will only increase.

Military Mention
Though Sarah Palin herself never served in the military, her son Track enlisted in the US Army in 2007

Private Sector Career
TV Sportscaster in Anchorage Alaska
Currently a Fox News contributor

Political Career
1992- Joined the Wasilla, Alaska City Council
1996 to 2002- Served as the Wasilla, Alaska city mayor
2006- Elected as Alaska’s first female governor after running a campaign based on ethics and clean government
2008- Became the Republican Party’s first female vice president candidate
2009- Resigned from her position as Alaska’s governor

There has been much controversy within the Republican Party as to whether or not Sarah Palin “made a mistake” by stepping down from her position as Alaska’s governor. There are equally good arguments on both sides.

While I am a firm believer in finishing a job that a person starts, I also believe the situation of Sarah Palin contains some extenuating circumstances that many people are just not aware of. I read her book, “Going Rogue”, and she made a point in the book that everyone who criticizes her decision to step down should think about. She said that she was already spending so much of her time as governor combating the completely false legal and ethics issues filed against her that she saw it as a waste of tax payer dollars to continue in the job. She knew that this would be a continuous battle until her last day in office. It was not only costing the Alaskan taxpayers money by taking her time away from the real issues of Alaska, but it also took money away from the state budget to fight these false accusations.

There have been those who have said she made the decision all for monetary gain…. she could not make the money as Governor that she could in the private sector by selling books, being a Fox News contributor, and the various speaking engagements she has. I will give a small amount of credence to this argument. This is true- as governor, she would not have the opportunity to make the amount of money she makes now. However, while I do not know Sarah Palin personally, I recognize the spirit of the “Mama Grizzly”, as she puts it- the term that she has made so well-known among Conservatives.

I am very proud to say that I too consider myself a “Mama Grizzly”! There comes a certain point in life where we all have to look at things from a more realistic point of view. That is one thing that I absolutely LOVE about Sarah Palin- she is realistic. Is she perfect? Absolutely not! However, she looks at things realistically!

I do not personally see her as a “quitter” because she stepped down from her position as Governor of Alaska. In fact, I admire her. She could have sat back and “played the political games and system” that so many of our politicians do today. She chose to be pro-active, rather than reactive in the attacks being taken against her. Yes, there are many who will disagree, and say that she reacted by “allowing the left to get to her”. This is where we will just have to agree to disagree.

I believe it takes a bigger person- man or woman- to step back when they are not able to get things accomplished for the common good. It was quite obvious to her- and should be quite obvious to other people- that she was never going to be able to devote her time and attention to the task before her- her job as Governor of Alaska- with the continual lawsuits and attacks against her by the left. I have the utmost respect for Sarah Palin in making this decision in 2009.

On America
Quoting her SarahPAC website, Sarah

“…believes America’s best days are ahead. Our country, founded on conservative principles and the fight for freedom, must confront the challenges of the 21st century with integrity, innovation, and determination.”

On The Issues
Pro-Life
Supports Tax Reform
Supports a free market system
Supports government reform
Drill Baby Drill! This is a “tag-line” of Sarah’s that has caught on with much of America in reference to drilling for oil in America.
Energy Independence for America (obviously!)

Foreign Policy
Should always be decided with our national interest first rather than the interest of other countries

On The Republican Party
Quoting from the SarahPac website

“… believes the Republican Party is at the threshold of an historic renaissance that will build a better future for all. Health care, education, and reform of government are among our key goals.”

I “mostly” agree with this, in theory, if, and ONLY IF the Republican Party returns to her roots and core values. I am seeing very little hope in the “established” Republican Party that makes me think the Republican Party actually “gets it”! I pray with every fiber of my being that the party is indeed on the threshold of this historic renaissance that Sarah speaks of. If not, the Tea Party will be sure to help them along, I’m sure!

Cover To Cover
“Going Rogue- An American Life” Sarah Palin’s Memoir published in 2009
“America by Heart- Reflections on Family, Faith and Flag” published in 2010
2010- TIME magazine’s “100 Most Influential People” list

The Reality Show
Sarah Palin’s Alaska (2010)
I am not a fan of reality shows. The few I do watch are based on real-life careers of people, not a bunch of strangers thrown together and put in romantic situations or cut-throat survival situations. I watched “Sarah Palin’s Alaska” reality show and was fascinated by many aspects of the show. Once again I saw a real woman, with real-life family issues living every day life. While Sarah Palin and her family were the official “stars” of the reality show I consider ALASKA to have been the REAL star of the show!

This great nation consists of millions of unique landscapes, scenery, communities, occupations and people. I would love to see a “reality show” on each one of the fifty United States. Maybe find someone well-known from each state to “star” in the show. We have a wealth of history, information and beauty encompassed in these individual states. This would be a great way to enrich our country- capitalize on the “in-thing” of the time- reality shows- and use it for something good.

I commend Sarah Palin for participating in this reality show. Yes, I am sure there were things along the way that were “staged”… but isn’t ALL TV? Even the “news” is staged! To have been able to see the beauty that God created in Alaska was a privilege! One day I hope to make it there for a visit!

On The Web
Due to the fact that Sarah Palin has not made an official announcement that she is running for office of President of The United States of America there is no official campaign website link. In the event that she makes an official announcement we will update this article accordingly.

SarahPAC – Federally registered political action committee (PAC) formed in January 2009 “dedicated to building America’s future by supporting fresh ideas and candidates who share our vision for reform and innovation”.

Sarah Palin on Twitter

Sarah Palin on Facebook

_________________________

Sources:
SarahPAC
Ask.com
OnTheIssues.org

 

See the profiles of other potential 2012 GOP Candidates

E.P.A. = Extreme Political Activism

On April 25, 2011 Shell Oil Corporation announced it was dropping it’s efforts to drill for oil in the Arctic Sea off the northern coast of Alaska. This decision comes after 5 long years of jumping through the governmental hoops of massive regulations, careful, tedious exploration and the expense of investing over 4 billion dollars in the project. So just what caused Shell to accept the massive monetary losses and drop the project? Was it due to the fact that they couldn’t find enough oil there to make a profit? Apparently that is not the case, as there are an estimated 27 billion barrels of oil just sitting there waiting for extraction. Could Shell’s reason for dropping a 4 billion dollar project be that there is no demand for all of that oil in the U.S. today? With current gasoline prices over $4.00 a gallon across the nation that hardly seems like a valid reason to not extract that domestic oil in the Arctic Sea. Supply and demand are what drive gasoline prices, no matter who tells you anything different.

So why is Shell being forced to accept 4 billion dollars in losses in pulling out it’s drilling operations in the Arctic Sea near Alaska? The answer to that question can be found in 3 simple little letters: EPA , as in the infamous Environmental Protection Agency. Just do not try to get an exact answer from Obama appointee Lisa Jackson, the current EPA administrator, as she refuses to answer phone calls or emails to explain this ludicrous decision by her four radical Democrats on the board that denied an “air quality permit” for Shell to drill in the region. So much for accountability in our government once again from an Obama appointee. They have a pattern of making radical decisions, and then refusing to explain them to the very people who pay their salaries. I offer this article from FoxNews as proof  of just who is behind this ludicrous decision, and how they refuse to tell the people why they have made such a blatantly extreme decision.

The EPA’s appeals board ruled that Shell had not taken into consideration emissions from an ice-breaking vessel when calculating overall greenhouse gas emissions from the project. Environmental groups were thrilled by the ruling. (emphasis mine)

After 5 years and 4 billion dollars, the Democratic extremists on a panel for the EPA have denied the extraction of 27 billion barrels of our very own oil for… wait for it…the fact that ice-breaking vessels burn fuel, and therefor emit pollution. Does this mean that every ship traveling in our waters will be shut down also because they all burn fuel of one type of the other. No, this only means that the evil capitalists at Shell Oil will be stopped from producing millions of dollars of oil for U.S. consumption because they ‘gasp’ did not include the emissions from the ice breaking ships in their total environmental impact figures for air quality control. If crab fishermen in Alaska get stuck in the ice this year, does this mean that the ice breaking ships will be told to let them sit there and freeze to death until Lisa Jackson’s radical EPA board checks their emission statements too? There is no difference there.  These people on this EPA board, including Lisa Jackson are extreme activists, hypocrites and liars, period. From the prior linked Foxnews article we see who they really are:

The EPA did not return repeated calls and e-mails. The Environmental Appeals Board has four members: Edward Reich, Charles Sheehan, Kathie Stein and Anna Wolgast. All are registered Democrats and Kathie Stein was an activist attorney for the Environmental Defense Fund. Members are appointed by the EPA administrator. Alaska’s Republican senator thinks it’s time to make some changes. (emphasis mine)

There you have it, an EPA board which includes an appointed political activist lawyer, all of them Democrats, has denied Shell Oil the rights to extract the oil in the Arctic Sea due solely to the emissions of the ice breaking ships. Will Lisa Jackson and this board write the refund check to Shell oil for the billions of dollars they are out of due to this environmental extremist board’s decision ? No I,m not talking about a check drawn on the taxpayers account here, but instead a personal check drawn on the accounts of these five people who bear responsibility for this nonsense. Maybe that would make them think twice before trying  a politically motivated stunt like this the next time they get asked to make a decision that will affect every single tax paying American citizen.

Steve Maley, over at Redstate.com also makes a very good point about the main agenda behind this decision here, in which he shows us the ultimate motive behind this action, shutting down the Alaska Pipeline:

But the real motivation, the real prize, is the Trans Alaska Pipeline System. The design throughput of the pipe is in excess of 2 million barrels of oil per day; recent throughput is around 600,000 barrels per day. At some limiting rate (I’ve heard 200,000 barrels per day), the cost to operate the line will exceed the value of operating it, and it will be shut down.  Pipeline shut-down is the ultimate goal of the environmental movement. Not just ANWR, but any new development must be stopped so that TAPS dies an early and unnatural death.

Since the U.S. House of Representatives recently voted to de-fund the domestic terrorists over at the EPA, only to be denied by the career politicians in the U.S. Senate, I think we need to remember these Senate tyrants in 2012, and replace them with some people who will actually protect U.S. citizens from this kind of blatant abuse of power.

Murkowski Campaign Touts Her RINO’ness as a Positive

Joe Miller will remove RINO Murkowski from CongressLisa Murkowski’s write-in effort is putting her close to Joe Miller.  I wanted to understand what very Conservative Alaska voters saw in her over a truly Conservative Joe Miller.  First, her campaign website.  The entire web site talks about her career in Washington (emphasis mine):

With Lisa Murkowski, a known brand in the Senate with a demonstrated ability to work across the aisle

She’s actually bragging about being a RINO.  Is she?  Could some off her votes be questionable when measured against Conservative principles?  Well, at a glance, she didn’t vote with Republicans on one out-of-four votes.  Digging into the individual issues she voted on, here’s what I found:

Just since September 13th of this year she has failed to vote 13 times.  There were only 17 possible votes, so she failed to service Alaska as their Senator 75% of the time in the last two months!!  Some of those votes would have benefited from her participation.  In every case, she would have been one more vote for the Conservatives in Congress and stood against the fiscally irresponsible Democrats.  Instead she avoided the conflict and gave a silent nod to the progressive agenda.  Here’s a sampling from The Washington Post (emphasized notes are mine):

Vote 245: H R 3081: Thune Amdt. No. 4676; To reduce spending other than national security spending by 5 percent. – She didn’t vote – same as voting Democrat on this issue

Vote 238: On the Cloture Motion: Motion to Invoke Cloture on the Motion to Proceed to S. 3454; National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2011 – She Didn’t Vote – same as voting Democrat on this issue

Vote 231: To repeal the expansion of information reporting requirements for payments of $600 or more – This clause in Obamacare is a small business and jobs killer.  Repealing it would relieve small businesses like the fisherman in Alaska, from having to report every purchase or sale over $600 as an individual item.  This is also a step towards repealing the whole of the government take over of health care – She Didn’t Vote – same as voting Democrat on this issue.

Vote 230: On the Nomination: Confirmation Jane Branstetter Stranch, of Tennessee, to be U.S. Circuit Judge for the Sixth Circuit.  While the sixth circuit does not include Alaska, we have all seen how important U.S. Court of Appeals judges can be (Arizona immigration law, defense of marriage, right to bear arms, etc).  Any Conservative should jump at the chance to ensure that good constitutional constructionist judges are put on benches whenever they can – She Didn’t Vote – same as voting Democrat on this nomination

This is just in the past six weeks.  Imagine the damage she’s done to the Country over her entire career in Congress as a true RINO.  She may well have voted “present” more times than Obama if the option were made available, instead, she just didn’t vote at all.  As if to put an exclamation point on her RINO-voting tendencies, the American Conservative Union gave her voting record a 68% in 2009 – far worse than even the accomplished RINO John McCain.  To prove the point, when asked who she would caucus with, Murkowski alarmingly responded that she would Caucus with just about everyone including “Greens” and “Democrats”. When pressed by CNN she told them this:

She skirted the issue when asked what party she would caucus with in the new Congress and said she would be returning to represent “Alaskans interest,” instead of the Republican Party’s.

So she won’t be caucusing with the Republicans?  Guess that’ll show those Republican Alaskans that voted her out in the primaries .. or something.

So what was Lisa Murkowski doing while being paid by U.S. taxpayers?

Lisa is asking Alaka’s voters to re-elect her based on her record.  Well, here’s her real record, hopefully Alaskans are paying attention.