Infrastructure Investment Essential to U.S. Interests in the Arctic

Alaska received a C-minus for the general condition of its infrastructure on its most recent report card from the American Society of Civil Engineers, and even lower grades for the shape of its ports, marine highways, and other facilities. The report highlights one of the biggest challenges facing state leaders grappling to close a nearly $3 billion budget deficit – how to rebuild the economy while simultaneously reducing government outlays. The mediocre marks are doubly troubling given the essential role of infrastructure in providing a strong foundation for economic growth. In the Arctic – a region quickly emerging as a new theater of economic importance – the report underscores the near lack of infrastructure altogether. It’s an open question where the funding will come from to rehabilitate and replace aging infrastructure, while also underwriting the deep-water ports, bridges, roads, pipelines, telecommunications, schools, water treatment facilities and other infrastructure necessary to support an emerging Arctic. Legislators, already tied up in knots over proposals to increase taxes on the oil industry as well as on individual Alaskans, show little appetite for major capital expenditures. Federal coffers are a potential source – particularly if President Trump can be convinced of the national economic…

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Senate has until week of May 8 to vote on methane rule

We all knew there was a possibility of last minute additions to the president’s executive order on energy and environmental policy – and that’s appears to be what happened with the decision to include methane restrictions under the broad call for agencies to review the policies of the previous administration. But while President Trump included the methane in Tuesday’s EO, that action should not be construed to mean Sen. John Barrasso’s (R-Wyo.) Senate Joint Resolution 11 to nullify the Bureau of Land Management’s rule on the venting and flaring of methane is no longer needed. The Congressional Review Act (CRA) process is still preferred. Unraveling the methane rule at the agency level will require months of staff work and will undoubtedly face vigorous legal challenges from environmental groups that could delay it for up to two years. On the other hand, Senate passage of a disapproval resolution under the CRA would be quick and efficient, saving both the agency time and resources. Senate Republican leaders remain committed to bringing up Sen. Barrasso’s resolution as soon as they have the votes. That whip operation continues. A CRA resolution of disapproval requires a simple majority of 51 votes to pass the Senate,…

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Clock is ticking on Senate disapproval resolution on BLM methane rule

Happy Friday. You made it. What now?

If you’re a member of the House of Representatives, you still have a vote on the repeal of Obama’s signature health care law to look forward to later today. While the whip count in the House continues, one thing that is clear is that next week’s Senate calendar will look a whole lot different if the House does not vote on repeal-and-replace legislation today.

The Senate has been holding the floor calendar open in anticipation of health care legislation coming over from the House, and at this moment it’s unclear what could take its place. One piece of unfinished business is the disapproval resolution on the Bureau of Land Management’s methane venting and flaring rule.

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Recapturing America’s Competitive Advantage on the Outer Continental Shelf

After eight years of retreat, it’s time for America to charge back into the energy-rich waters of the outer continental shelf and secure once and for all its rightful place as an energy superpower.

With his ambition to return America to its glory days and reassert the nation’s influence on the world stage, President Donald Trump would do well to start with energy security and a bottoms-up review of the energy policies put in place by his predecessor.

To do that, the president needs a full team of experienced and knowledgeable staff at the U.S. Department of the Interior and its agencies.

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