Drilling for crude in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge may be just the start as President Donald Trump seeks to revive Alaska’s beleaguered oil industry.
Republicans in Congress handed the industry a long-sought victory on Tuesday, approving exploration in the vast Arctic preserve as part of their tax overhaul. The legislation, which Trump is expected to sign into law, would lift an almost 40-year old ban on prospecting for oil and natural gas in the refuge’s coastal plain, where endangered polar bears, caribou and other species roam.
It’s the capstone of a year in which legislators and the Trump administration pushed on multiple fronts to unwind regulatory restrictions in what was once America’s busiest oilfield. That won’t solve the challenge of declining wells, or global crude prices too low to support many Alaskan projects. But it’s a long way from a year ago, when then-President Barack Obama put millions of acres off-limits, citing the risks of oil spills and concerns about climate change.
“It’s a recognition that the era of oil is not over in Alaska,” said Kara Moriarty, president of the Alaska Oil and Gas Association, a trade group. “Clearly we have an administration that believes that America can be energy dominant, and that is a complete 180-degree shift from the previous administration.”
Republicans included the refuge in their bill as a revenue source, saying the drilling will generate $1 billion to offset tax cuts over the next decade. Trump’s expected to sign the legislation as soon as Wednesday. The administration has promised to fast-track lease offerings in the area, which could draw interest from operators including Exxon Mobil Corp. and ConocoPhillips.
As soon as this week, the Interior Department may unveil a draft of its new five-year plan for offshore U.S. drilling, including Arctic waters. The plan would build on Trump’s April executive order undoing Obama’s decision to ban new operations in most of the Chukchi and Beaufort seas. In November, the administration issued a permit to Italian oil giant Eni SpA for what would be the first exploratory well in U.S. Arctic waters since Royal Dutch Shell Plc abandoned a project in 2015. In August, Trump instructed regulators to allow seismic testing for oil and gas deposits in the wildlife refuge, reversing another Obama stance. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke also ordered a rewrite of a 2013 plan that limited drilling in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska in the state’s northwestern corner.
Or we can harpoon Rosie
Right. Drill in the Arctic Wildlife Refuge, so somebody can make quick money selling our nation’s reserves on the global market at depressed prices.
Are you effing kidding me? That is so unbelievably cynical. Not to mention stupid as hell, since the estimated tax reform revenue losses they’ll have to offset run around $1.5 TRILLON over a decade—a number that’s one-thousand-and-five-hundred times larger. Maybe they just think the people who voted for them are stupid as hell. They must secretly laugh their heads off over stuff like this.
@Greg: Drilling operations leave the environment near pristine.
As usual, you liberals have no concept of economy. First, the deficit will not be $1.5 trillion. This vastly underestimates the growth potential of the economy. Secondly, the elimination of this proposed deficit will not come from one source; the one billion dollar contribution is but a portion of the return on Trump’s economic program. If you liberals can’t see a magic bullet that provides $1.5 trillion to offset the overstated deficit, you just give up and crawl off to your safe space to color.
Anything would work better than taxing and punishing businesses offshore, wouldn’t you think?
Screw Greenpeace and the Fossil Fueled Garbage Scows,(Arctic Sunrise,Rainbow Warrior II)as well as their annoying little zodiacs that all use Fossil Fuels Screw Greenpeace and all their idiotic protests and their idiots who climb on buildings,Bridges and spoil National Monuments with their stupid messages Greenpeace Go Home Raawwkkk,Skreeet,Skree,Squawk squawk squawk
@Greg: Opening this up isn’t solely for revenue to the government, although it will be a side effect. If you don’t understand that then you are more stupid than those you denigrate with your myopic post.
We had huge shortfalls under Obama and I don’t recall your outrage over it. How many trillion in debt did he run up on us? More than any other president. You were just fine with it.
I wonder if hypocrisy is fattening because you feast on it.
@Greg: At least this is up front. 20% of Uranium gone to the Russians for what, bill to get layed again.
@Bill… Deplorable Me, #3:
Have you read the various projections? $1.5 Trillion is the estimated middle-of-the-road net revenue loss over a decade, after additional economic growth attributable to the tax cuts has been figured in. The estimates revenue losses run from a low of $1 Trillion to a high of $1.8 Trillion—with nobody projecting anything so good as a break-even outcome. There’s not a single credible projection that says otherwise.
Of course not. It will be money in the pockets of the fossil fuel industry and the people they employ—though their claims that 130,000 jobs would result is about as fanciful as the claim that $1 billion in additional revenue makes a meaningful dent in the $1.5 Trillion the tax reform act will create.
@Greg: Cite 1 tax cut ever that has produced a revenue decrease, it has never ever happened, I want proof.
CBO’s estimate credibility is non-existant they havent been correct ever.
Stop listening to MSM and do a little research for yourself.
The first link links to nothing.
The second link is to an example showing tax reductions during the 1920s resulted in revenue increases. Their starting point is a year where the maximum tax rate was 77 percent. A reduction of the maximum rate from its recent 39.6 percent can hardly be expected to produce the same results that a reduction from 77 percent produced.
In other words, there’s a percentage at which further reduction ceases to produce increases in revenue, where the Laffer Curve goes flat. Beyond that point, additional reductions progressively reduce revenue, and debt rises.
To believe the formula invariably works without falling off at some point is a species of magical thinking. The logic involved would lead to the absurd conclusion that reducing taxes to zero would yield maximum possible revenue.
We’ve been beyond the flat point in the curve for a while now. Tax reductions can still produce short term economic stimulation and increased economic activity, but revenue goes down at the same time. Hence, the projected 1.5 trillion-dollar hole the tax reform act is expected to blow in the budget over a decade, even after increased economic activity is taken into account.
There’s a reason why the CATO Institute had to reach back to the 1920s to find the sort of example they were looking for.
@Greg: Yes jobs and for those who hold stocks a better return. Meaning a better looking 401k for many. Oh the horror of all that.
If this will create a “dent” as you say what is the 9 trillion n debt Obama created?
Please give an example of being taxed into prosperity? I want to see the family that was poor until government came along and taxed them into wealth.
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Yes, and I’ve also seen projections of growth and growing tax revenues. Again, the Bush “tax cuts for the wealthy” increased revenues (by $750 billion), reduced deficits (even with the was spending) and grew the economy yet liberals were all against it, even as the positive effects were rolling in. Even as the positive aspects of the tax cuts were apparent (Obama certainly didn’t have the guts to reverse them and further harm his weak economy), the left was STILL lying about it. So, excuse me while I don’t engorge myself on your propaganda; I’ll believe those who deal in facts.
Again, where was your opposition to the projection that, while leaving 30 million STILL without insurance, Obamacare was going to add $2.8 trillion to the debt?