The tax code overhaul is complete! The Republican Senate led the charge with all Democrats saying no to taxpayers having relief and more savings, along with one Republican, malcontent Bob Corker. That’s not to say that this is not a victory, because it certainly is…thanks in large part to former Senator Harry Reid!
Yes, that’s right. Harry Reid, by changing Senate procedural rules and coming up with the very controversial “nuclear option,” he cleared the way for the Republicans to make this tax code overhaul bill a reality. I don’t believe he ever thought the Democrats would lose the Senate at that point.
Although we now have sweeping changes in the tax code, there are still many things that need to get done, and quickly. But it’s become obvious that the Republican Congress is taking too much time on certain issues, giving the Obama legacies chances to stay permanent. So the president has decided to tackle these very important issues, including a noteworthy freeing up of the land in the arctic refuge for oil drilling. With a full 80% of Alaskans on the Right side of the aisle for this option, is it any wonder that Americans are cheering today for a complete obliteration of yet another part of the Obama legacy?
The Daily Caller:
The Trump administration isn’t waiting for Congress when it comes to Arctic drilling, approving a plan on Tuesday to explore for oil and gas in the polar seas.
The Interior Department approved Italian oil company Eni’s application to drill an exploratory well from an artificial island in the Beaufort Sea. Drilling could start as early as December, providing Eni meets federal technical and regulatory requirements.
The approval comes as the Senate weighs legislation to open part of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) to oil and gas exploration. Republican Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski introduced a bill to open ANWR as part of the budget reconciliation process.
While Murkowski maneuvers through the Senate, the Trump administration has been moving ahead with its “energy dominance” agenda. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has said jump-starting Alaska’s oil industry would be a key part of that plan.
“Responsible resource development in the Arctic is a critical component to achieving American energy dominance,” Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) Director Scott Angelle said of the Eni approval.
“BSEE is committed to working with our Alaskan Native and Industry partners by taking a thoughtful and balanced approach to oil and gas exploration, development and production in the Arctic,” Angelle said.
The Interior Department moved forward with a drilling project at the artificial Liberty Island in August. Hilcorp took over Liberty Island in 2014, and estimates there are site contains about 150 million barrels of recoverable oil. That project is still open to public comment.
Interior officials announced in October they would auction off 10.3 million acres in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska (NPR-A), which could hold between 900 million and 10 billion barrels of oil. What remains to be seen, however, is if oil companies have an appetite for costly Arctic drilling with oil prices hovering around $60 a barrel.
The Obama administration put roughly half the NPR-A off limits to oil and gas drilling, despite it being set aside by Congress specifically for that purpose. NPR-A is estimated to hold 895 million barrels of oil and 52.8 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.
Environmentalists have challenged the Trump administration’s energy agenda for Alaska, in particular the president’s April executive order to reverse a 2016 Obama administration decision to put large swaths of Arctic seas off limits to drilling.
Eni’s drilling project is outside of the zone the Obama administration made off limits to drilling. The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management approved Eni’s plan in July. BSEE’s approval is what Eni needed to proceed.
What many do not understand about our Alaskan territories is that the Natives here, including Iñupiat, Yupik, Aleut, Eyak, Tlingit, Haida, Tsimshian, as well as a number of Athabaskan tribal communities, are majority owners of lands and assets so that a deal like this only serves to strengthen Indian communities.
The land here is so diverse and so generous, that it would be blind ignorance to shut off the flow of liquid gold from a place as lush and rich as the arctic lands and seas. From an Alaskan resident, I promise you this: News of this bill has caused celebrations throughout the state and it’s about time that one of our senators, Lisa Murkowski, finally got it right.
Source: The Daily Caller