RDC NEWS DIGEST
RDC conference is around the corner
RDC’s 30th Annual Conference, Alaska Resources 2010, will be
held this November 18-19 at the Dena’ina Convention Center in
Anchorage. The conference, which focuses on Alaska’s oil, gas, mining,
fishing, tourism and forestry industries, attracted over 750 attendees
in 2008. Among this year’s slate of 35 speakers is Gaétan Caron,
Chairman and CEO of Canada’s National Energy Board.
Shell gets green light for Beaufort, RDC
supports air quality permit for Chukchi Sea
Shell has received conditional approval from the Obama
administration for its plans to explore two leases in the Beaufort Sea
next summer in the far western area of Camden Bay, west of Kaktovik.
For the project to move forward, Shell must still receive permits
from the U.S. Minerals Management Service (MMS) and other federal
agencies, as well as comply with state and federal environmental
Shell is also seeking permission to drill up to two wells on its
leases in the Chukchi Sea next year. However, environmental groups
have sued to block drilling. Moreover, the MMS, under court order, is
revising its analysis of Shell’s plans to drill in the Chukchi.
Shell needs a vital air discharge permit from the Environmental
Protection Agency by the end of this year or in early January to make
large financial commitments regarding its 2010 Chukchi drilling
activities. Without regulatory certainty, the company will once again
be forced to cancel its drilling program.
At a public hearing in Anchorage last month where testimony
was unanimously supportive of the permit, RDC said timely issuance
of the air permit is important so Shell can move forward with its
program. In recent years, Shell has paid the federal government over
$2.2 billion for the right to explore leases in the Beaufort and Chukchi
seas. Given that fact, RDC believes federal regulatory agencies such as
the EPA have an obligation to process permit applications in a timely
Shell has been pursuing this permit at a direct cost of over $13
million. The company’s indirect costs can be measured in the billions
of dollars and its entire Alaska investment is at risk if it cannot secure
this critical air permit.
Tongass timber sale moves forward
Governor Sean Parnell welcomed a decision last month from the
federal government’s regional forester for Alaska, Denny Bschor, to
uphold the Logjam timber sale in the Tongass National Forest. Bschor
rejected an appeal by several environmental groups that would have
cut the sale in half.
“This is a big win for an industry that has been struggling,”
Governor Parnell said. “Over the years, environmental roadblocks have
choked off the supply of timber in Southeast Alaska, killing jobs and
displacing families. This decision will put Alaskans to work and ensure
that small, family-owned mills can continue to operate.”
Parnell recently sent a letter to a top official in the U.S.
Department of Agriculture, advocating that the sale be allowed to
The timber sale will allow the harvest of 73 million board-feet
of timber on Prince of Wales Island, near the community of Coffman
Cove, about 60 miles northwest of Ketchikan.
Former RDC president
Chuck Webber dies at 83
Longtime Alaskan Charles “Chuck”
Webber died September 11 at his home in
Anchorage. He was 83. Mr. Webber served
three consecutive terms as the president of
Mr. Webber had a special talent of
steering people with divergent views in the same direction.
“If two people were in a heated discussion that was getting
maybe a little too hot, Chuck Webber could walk up to them and in
two minutes flat, they’d be shaking hands,” said Paula Easley, who
was Executive Director of RDC when Mr. Webber held the top board seat.
“That ability to lead people toward reasoned positions on
policy issues made him a valuable member of the corporate and
non-profit boards on which he generously served,” Easley said.
“Chuck liked people and was never unkind. He could make anyone
Realizing what a jewel he was, the board quickly moved him
to the executive committee and then elected him president, Easley
“People in that job were usually burned out after a year because
of the position’s high-profile demands,” Easley continued. “But not
Chuck – he served three consecutive terms, which was a first for
Mr. Webber served in the U.S. Navy and was stationed on the
USS Pasadena. He held the rank of Lieutenant before completing his
service and finishing his education at the University of Colorado at
Boulder in 1949.
Governor Jay Hammond appointed Mr. Webber to his cabinet
as the Commissioner of the Alaska Department of Commerce and
Economic Development. In 1986, he was named chairman of Alaska
National Bank of the North. Along with many other recognitions
that he received for his life achievements and community service,
Mr. Webber received the Anchorage Chamber of Commerce’s James
Dodson Memorial Gold Pan Award for two consecutive years.
Labor endorses Alaska gas pipeline
The Alaska Natural Gas Pipeline project received a major boost
this fall at the AFL-CIO convention in Pittsburgh, PA. Tagged as the“important project to our nation’s economic future, “ the project
was endorsed in three resolutions unanimously passed by AFL-CIO
Drue Pearce, Federal Coordinator for the Office of the Federal
Coordinator for Alaska Natural Gas Transportation Projects (OFC),
called the AFL-CIO support “a monumental endorsement.”
“America needs world-class infrastructure projects that can give
hard-working Americans good paying jobs,” Pearce said. “This is just
that kind of project and the AFL-CIO working families get it.”
Vince Beltrami, the president of the Alaska AFL-CIO, addressed
the national convention on the importance of the gas pipeline
project to labor.
To underscore labor’s support, Frank Carroll, the Second District
International Vice President of the International Brotherhood of
Electrical Workers [IBEW] and who represents all of New England,
came out strongly in support of the project.
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