Tuesday, March 26, 2013

You Thrilled To The Kulluk's Saga, Now See Those Responsible Live, In Concert Person

[The Message in brief:  Go to this hearing just to see the key folks involved in drilling oil in the Alaskan Arctic.  Go see that these are just human beings and look them in the eye.  The more people who actually go and see them, the more people who will listen when they are back in the news saying, "No problem, just a minor mishap that isn't unexpected in situations like this."  Besides, other meetings I've been to on oil issues have usually had a high percentage of oil related employees.  There needs to be some balance.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013, Library Room 307, 10-12

UAA faculty?  Get your students to go see this.  Go yourself.  There are lots of classes that have a connection to Arctic oil drilling.   And your students know how to park on campus.]



I try to keep the an open, if skeptical, mind in this blog, but Shell Oil's attempts to look transparent while saying as little as they could get away with concerning the Kulluk and Noble Explorer oil rigs makes it hard.

I got an email last week from Senator Begich's office that started with:

"Alaska Field Hearing on Increased Arctic Maritime Activity Representatives from Shell Oil, Department of Interior, and Coast Guard to Attend"
It then went on:
"U.S. Sen. Mark Begich, chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries and Coast Guard, announced that he will hold a hearing in Alaska on Arctic shipping safety and reviewing the lessons learned from the 2012 offshore drilling season. The hearing will be on March 27, 2013 from 10:00 a.m.—12:00 p.m. at the University of Alaska Anchorage (UAA) Consortium Library in Room 307."
You ever try to find a parking place - even if you have the top of the line UAA parking sticker - near the library at 10 am?   Who's off work from 10am-noon on a weekday?  I bet there will be some oil company employees in the audience. 
“Reviewing Shell’s maritime activities and the government’s oversight of these operations is the next logical step in responsible development and preparation for increased Arctic activities,” said Sen. Begich.  “There are always lessons to be learned and as Chairman of the Oceans subcommittee, I will continue to do everything I can to make sure that the U.S. is ready to fully take advantage of opportunities – from increased shipping to development and revenue sharing -  in an evolving Arctic.”
How much are they going to say?  Who's going to be asking the questions?  Sounds like this is aimed at saying, "Kulluk and Noble Explorer?  No problem.  You learn through your mistakes.  Oil drilling, full speed ahead."  And that idea is corroborated further in the press release: 
Sen. Begich has been a vocal supporter of Arctic development, including OCS drilling, the need for infrastructure development to support increased Arctic drilling, and a strengthened Coast Guard presence in the Arctic. He has repeatedly pressed the Obama administration to expedite the permitting process and as a result, Shell Oil became the first producer in 20 years to initiate drilling operations in the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas off Alaska’s northern coast.
So, why am I posting this then?  Because it's a chance to see the crew who has been responsible for the never-ending mishaps that seem to have gotten Shell North American VP fired recently:
"The executive in charge of Shell’s troubled Arctic drilling program is stepping down.
David Lawrence was Shell’s vice president for North American exploration. He’s been with the company for almost 30 years. Now, a spokesman says he’s leaving “by mutual consent.”
Shell won’t say whether Lawrence’s departure has anything to do with the 2012 drilling season. But it’s only been a week since the Department of the Interior released its review of Shell’s Arctic program. Interior’s investigators said Shell wasn’t fully prepared for the logistical challenges it faced in the Arctic.
Lawrence made headlines a year ago when he told a Dow Jones reporter that drilling in the Beaufort and Chukchi seas would be “relatively easy.” He said the oil Shell is pursuing in the Alaskan Arctic is located in shallow, low-pressure areas that were simpler to access than other deposits." (from KTOO)
So who will be there?  The list is below.  Most will be there in the flesh, though a few will visit via video-conferencing.  Nothing wrong with that, but you can't mingle and talk to them during the breaks.  
Department of Interior (DOI) representatives will participate in the meeting and will provide an overview of DOI’s high-level review of Shell’s 2012 offshore drilling program in the Arctic Ocean.  Shell executives and representatives from the U.S. Coast Guard will testify as well.

Witness List:

The Honorable Tommy P. Beaudreau, Acting Assistant Secretary - Land and Minerals Management, US Department of the Interior (via video teleconference)

Rear Admiral Thomas P. Ostebo, Commander, Seventeenth District, U.S. Coast Guard

Mr. Pete E. Slaiby, Vice President, Exploration and Production, Shell Alaska

Ms. Helen Brohl, Executive Director, US Committee on the Marine Transportation System* (via video teleconference)

Mr. Ed Page, Executive Director, Marine Exchange of Alaska**

Ms. Eleanor Huffines, Manager, U.S. Arctic Campaign***, Pew Charitable Trusts

Mr. Matt Ganley, Vice President, Bering Straits Native Corp.
               

* What's the Committee on the Marine Trasporportation Systems you ask.  From the CMTS website:

The CMTS is a Federal Cabinet-level, inter-departmental committee chaired by the Secretary of Transportation.
The purpose of the CMTS is to create a partnership of Federal departments and agencies with responsibility for the Marine Transportation System (MTS). The job of the CMTS is to ensure the development and implementation of national MTS policies that are consistent with national needs and to report to the President its views and recommendations for improving the MTS.
The MTS is essential to the American economy; it supports millions of American jobs, facilitates trade, moves people and goods, and provides a safe, secure, cost-effective, and energy-efficient transportation alternative. But because much of the system’s infrastructure is aging and constrained by capacity limitations, the CMTS is working to ensure that the MTS continues to meet the present and future needs of our nation... keep reading »
** Or the Marine Exchange of Alaska?
The Marine Exchange of Alaska (MXAK) provides services that aid safe, secure, efficient and environmentally responsible maritime operations.
Marine Exchange of Alaska
1000 Harbor Way
Suite 204
Juneau, AK 99801
907-463-2607 tel
***I can find a Pew Trust Arctic Program, but not campaign.

So folks, GO!  Check out this meeting.  Get a sense of the people involved.  Don't worry about parking - take a bus - 2, 3, 11, 45, and a bunch of others go by there. Here's a link to the People Mover's tools for finding the right bus.  There's a bus stop right near the library.  [The meeting is free too.]

Just Go, get a sense of the players.  I'll be listening online from LA.  When I get the online link, I'll post it here. 

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