Archive for the ‘Alaska’ Category

ANWR — Trillion-dollar Arctic cathedral

November 17, 2008

Barack Obama promised change. Here is a good prospect. Few areas of public debate have been as stale – as barren of substance, focused instead on powerful emotional symbols – as the oil development of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) in northeast Alaska.

By Robert Nelson
The Washington Times

David Kreutzer discusses Arctic oil.  

For the environmental movement, ANWR development long ago became a sacred cause that served above all as a litmus test of whether “you are with us or against us.” It is time to move past all that.

The proponents of ANWR development have also distorted the picture by themselves making false arguments. First, it should be acknowledged that ANWR oil production will not in itself come close to achieving energy independence for the United States. Second, ANWR production alone will not affect oil prices significantly. Even the large reserves that ANWR possesses are not large enough, relative to the total world oil market, to have much effect on future world prices.

The real issue in ANWR is the proper use of the fiscal assets of the U.S. government. The oil there is worth, minimally, $500 billion in gross value and, potentially, $1 trillion dollars or more – depending obviously on the future world price of oil. With the current dire economic situation, and federal deficits projected to approach a trillion dollars in the next year or two, the United States can no longer afford to leave this immensely valuable economic asset to simply sit idle.

The best estimates available, released by the U.S. Geological Survey in 1998, concluded there was a 95 percent probability of finding at least 5.7 billion barrels of “technically recoverable” oil, a 5 percent probability of finding 16.0 billion barrels, and a 50 percent “mean” probability of finding 10.4 billion barrels. For the mean probability, this includes 7.7 billion barrels actually inside ANWR on federal lands, and 2.7 billion barrels owned nearby by Alaska Native Corps. and the state of Alaska (which could be economically produced only in conjunction with the development of the ANWR federal reserves).

An oil pump seen in constant motion, in this photo dated Wednesday, ...
AP

World oil prices have been changing so rapidly that any prediction is uncertain. But at assuming for purposes of discussion a future world oil price of $50 per barrel, the mean expectation for the federal and nonfederal ANWR oil reserves is a cumulative gross market value of more than $500 billion – and it would be worth more than $1 trillion at prices of $100 per barrel. It might cost $20 to $30 per barrel to produce most of the ANWR oil, but the net revenues (after costs) would still probably be greater than $300 billion (and could turn out to be much higher, depending on the future price of oil). To put this in perspective, the United States could have paid most of the interest payments on the national debt in 2008 with the likely future oil revenues obtainable from ANWR.

The objection will no doubt be raised that ANWR production would benefit oil companies, not the federal government or average American citizens. As noted above, however, three-quarters of ANWR oil is on federal land, and the rest is on Native American and Alaska state land. Like existing federal oil and gas leasing on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS), the ANWR oil would probably be made available to oil companies by competitive auctions and the government would also charge a large royalty on any future production. Throughout the world, the true beneficiaries of petroleum resources are not the oil companies who may physically extract the oil but the actual owners of the resource.

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2008
/nov/17/trillion-dollar-arctic-cathedral/

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For Republicans: Could Have Been Worse

November 5, 2008

If Republicans are searching — Reagan-style — for the pony in the pile of manure, perhaps they can find it in this: The double-whammy wipeout many of them were expecting didn’t materialize on Election Night.
Yes, Barack Obama crushed John McCain in the presidential race. But Democrats seem destined to fall well short of the filibuster-proof, 60-vote majority they wanted in the Senate, and Republicans have won a slew of House races they were braced to lose. 

Jim VandeHei, Tim Grieve, Politico

While never quite predicting it, Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee chief Charles Schumer of New York said late last month that 60 was “possible.” In the House, Democratic operatives and leadership types had their hopes set on a 30-seat pickup and thought they might get to 40 if everything broke their way.

It didn’t.

The Senate road to 60 was supposed to run through Alaska, but the morning after found Republican Sen. Ted Stevens holding onto a slim lead over Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich — despite the fact that Stevens was convicted last week on seven federal felony counts.

Minnesota Republican Sen. Norm Coleman worried that his vote on the $700 billion bailout would cost him the election, but it hasn’t, yet; he claimed victory over Al Franken, but the margin was so small that a recount is mandated under state law. In Oregon, Gordon Smith — the quintessential endangered moderate Republican — may yet lose his seat, but he’s leading at the moment. Roger Wicker dodged the wave in Mississippi; Saxby Chambliss looks like a survivor in Georgia; and Mitch McConnell is not Tom Daschle.

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., delivers remarks during an election ... 
Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., delivers remarks during an election night rally in Phoenix Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2008. Looking on at right is wife Cindy McCain.(AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

On the House side, Alaska Rep. Don Young — left for dead by just about everyone, including his governor, Sarah Palin — somehow managed to win reelection. Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) saw roughly a million dollars pour into her opponent’s campaign after she went McCarthy on Chris Matthews and urged the news media to investigate whether members of Congress were “pro-American”; she won anyway. Seemingly vulnerable Republican Reps. Lee Terry of Nebraska, John Shadegg of Arizona and Mario Diaz-Balart and Lincoln Diaz-Balart of Florida all won new terms in Congress.

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http://news.yahoo.com/s/politico/15318

Palin: Northern Star Rising Will Shine for a While

October 31, 2008

Sarah Palin has changed in the two months since John McCain named her as his running mate. I’m guessing that McCain’s view of Palin may be changing, too, and not entirely in a good way.

By Eugene Robinson
The Washington Post

I thought Palin was a lightweight; she’s not. I thought she was an ingenue; she is, but only as long as her claws are sheathed. I thought she was bewildered and star-struck at her sudden elevation to national prominence; if she ever was, she isn’t anymore. I thought she was nothing but raw political talent and unrealistic ambition; it turns out that she has impressive political skills. I thought she was destined to become nothing more than a historical footnote; I now think that Democrats underestimate her at their peril.

At this point, only McCain’s most loyal lieutenants could have been surprised when Palin told ABC’s Elizabeth Vargas that she’s already looking beyond Tuesday’s election toward her own political future. Asked whether she would just pack it in and go back to Alaska if she and McCain lose, Palin replied: “I think that, if I were to give up and wave a white flag of surrender against some of the political shots that we’ve taken . . . I’m not doing this for naught.”

U.S. Republican vice-presidential nominee Alaska Governor Sarah ... 
U.S. Republican vice-presidential nominee Alaska Governor Sarah Palin speaks at a campaign rally with U.S. Republican presidential nominee Senator John McCain (R-AZ) in Hershey, Pennsylvania in this October 28, 2008 file photo. REUTERS/Brian Snyder

No, she’s doing it for Sarah — and doing it increasingly well.

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http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008
/10/30/AR2008103003755.html?hpid=opinionsbox1

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Palin Ponders Future

By BETH FOUHY, Associated Press Writer

With days still to go in the White House race, backers of vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin are talking her up as a possible contender in 2012, speculation that irritates other Republicans who contend she’s a drag on the ticket and that her lightweight image — unfair or not — will be hard to shed.

The Alaska governor has done little to quiet the talk. In fact, she fueled the discussion this week when she signaled that she will remain on the national political scene no matter what happens Tuesday. “I’m not doing this for naught,” she said in an interview with ABC News.

The telegenic Palin, who burst onto the national stage seven weeks ago, has divided conservatives — some energized by her strong stand on social issues and others embarrassed by her halting interview performances. On the campaign trail, she is a popular draw, attracting numbers that a Republican Party searching for female star power can’t ignore.

The divide is clearly evident.

George Will, a prominent conservative columnist, suggested “Palin has become an even heavier weight in John McCain’s saddle than is his association with George W. Bush.”

Indeed, a poll released this week by the Pew Research Center found that 49 percent of voters had an unfavorable opinion of Palin, compared to 44 percent who viewed her favorably. Pew also found that unlike past vice presidential choices, opinions of Palin mattered to the ticket.

Republican vice presidential candidate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, ... 
Republican vice presidential candidate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, claps along with the crowd before she addresses a campaign rally in Erie, Pa. Thursday, Oct. 30, 2008.(AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)

And public opinion about Palin is slipping, according to a CBS-New York Times poll released Thursday. It found that the number of voters who think she is not prepared has grown from 50 percent to 59 percent in the last month.

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http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081031/ap_on_el_pr/palin_s_future_4

Growing Doubts on Palin Take a Toll, Poll Finds

October 31, 2008

A  growing number of voters have concluded that Senator John McCain’s running mate, Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska, is not qualified to be vice president, weighing down the Republican ticket in the last days of the campaign, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News poll.

By Michael Cooper and Dalia Sussman
The New York Times
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All told, 59 percent of voters surveyed said Ms. Palin was not prepared for the job, up nine percentage points since the beginning of the month. Nearly a third of voters polled said the vice-presidential selection would be a major factor influencing their vote for president, and those voters broadly favor Senator Barack Obama, the Democratic nominee.

And in a possible indication that the choice of Ms. Palin has hurt Mr. McCain’s image, voters said they had much more confidence in Mr. Obama to pick qualified people for his administration than they did in Mr. McCain.

Republican vice-presidential nominee Alaska Governor Sarah Palin ... 
Republican vice-presidential nominee Alaska Governor Sarah Palin and Republican presidential nominee Senator John McCain stand onstage together at a campaign rally in Hershey, Pennsylvania October 28, 2008.(Brian Snyder/Reuters)

After nearly two years of campaigning, a pair of hotly contested nominating battles, a series of debates and an avalanche of advertisements, the nationwide poll found the contours of the race hardening in the last days before the election on Tuesday. Twelve percent of the voters surveyed said they had already voted. These were among the findings:

Mr. Obama is maintaining his lead, with 51 percent of likely voters supporting him and 40 percent supporting Mr. McCain in a head-to-head matchup.

Some perceptions of race are changing, with a marked increase in the number of people who say they believe that white and black people have an equal chance of getting ahead in America today.

Mr. McCain’s focus on taxes, including his talk about Joe the Plumber, seems to be having some effect, as a growing number of voters now say Mr. McCain would not raise their taxes.

Eighty-nine percent of people view the economy negatively, and 85 percent think the country is on the wrong track.

Mr. Obama continues to have a significant advantage on key issues like the economy, health care and the war in Iraq.

The survey found that opinions of Mr. Obama and Mr. McCain had hardened considerably, as 9 out of 10 voters who said they had settled on a candidate said their minds were made up, and a growing number of them called it “extremely important” that their candidate win the election. Roughly half of each candidate’s supporters said they were “scared” of what the other candidate would do if elected. Just 4 percent of voters were undecided, and when they were pressed to say whom they leaned toward, the shape of the race remained essentially the same.

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http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/31/us/politics/
31poll.html?_r=1&hp&oref=slogin

F-15 grounding strains U.S. air defenses

December 27, 2007
By SCOTT LINDLAW, Associated Press Writer
December 27, 2007 

FRESNO, Calif. – The grounding of hundreds of F-15s because of dangerous structural defects is straining the nation’s air defense network, forcing some states to rely on their neighbors’ fighter jets for protection, and Alaska to depend on the Canadian military.

The F-15 is the sole fighter at many of the 16 or so “alert” sites around the country, where planes and pilots stand ready to take off at a moment’s notice to intercept hijacked airliners, Cessnas that wander into protected airspace, and other threats.

The Air Force grounded about 450 F-15s after one of the fighters began to break apart in the air and crashed Nov. 2 in Missouri. An Air Force investigation found “possible fleet-wide airworthiness problems” because of defects in the ….

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http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20071226/ap_on_re_us/grounded_f15s;_ylt=
Ajsy4QtpGTtN.DTLCWR2j4es0NUE

Related:
Flaw may permanently ground 160 jets, Air Force general says

Giant missile defense radar getting $27 million in upgrades

July 19, 2007

Associated Press – July 19, 2007 5:04 PM ET

PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii (AP) – The military’s $900 million, 28-story-tall missile defense radar is once again dominating the Pearl Harbor skyline.

It’s back in Hawaii from its remote base in Alaska for renovations recommended by an independent assessment.

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http://www.khnl.com/Global/story.asp?S=6814254
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