Was Sarah Palin right all along when she said “Drill Baby Drill?” There’s a great piece by Rob Port at SayAnythingBlog.com. Plus, folks in the Flathead Valley of Montana are concerned that a decline in Canadian energy production will harm the tourism industry in Montana. (Look at that…domestic energy development also contributes to the strength of our tourism economy in Montana) And, a new poll shows that a majority of Americans oppose the President’s threatened veto of legislation approving the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline. This, as The Hill reports that a “grueling” fight over Keystone is headed to the US Senate.
Those stories, and more, are below:
SayAnythingBlog.com- Drill Baby Drill: What If Sarah Palin Was Right All Along?
Remember when Democrats mocked Sarah Palin and her “drill, baby, drill” mantra? When the idea that raising domestic oil production could ever push gas down to $2 per gallon prices again was mocked and ridiculed by no less than President Barack Obama himself?
Here in North Dakota Democrats are faced with a similar dilemma. They opposed reforms to the state’s oil tax structure which would have eliminated two triggers which could cost the state billions in revenues, creating budget chaos and derailing a push for eliminating the income tax. The idea was that the triggers would never trigger, so it wasn’t worth the reduction in overall tax rates the oil industry wanted in exchange.
Now, with oil prices plunging and North Dakota hovering on the brink of that trigger, Democrats are stuck in the same boat as their national colleagues who were so busy smirking about “drill baby drill.”
Washington Examiner- Poll: 53% oppose Keystone XL veto, GOP starts ‘Build It’ petition
Armed with a new poll that shows most Americans support building the Keystone XL pipeline and also oppose a White House veto of the project, the Republican Party Tuesday kicked off a citizen petition to force President Obama’s hand.
The poll from Paragon Insights found that 53 percent of registered voters believe Obama should not veto the pipeline. Some 62 percent support building it.
Senators are bracing for a debate over legislation on the Keystone XL pipeline that could take weeks to conclude, setting up an early test of GOP leader Mitch McConnell’s pledge to allow “regular order” in the upper chamber.
McConnell (R-Ky.) on Tuesday threatened a midnight vote before senators agreed to move forward on the pipeline bill, and could soon turn to late nights and weekend work to muscle through a stack of amendments.
Politico’s Morning Energy: MEANWHILE, ON THE HILL – SENATE DEMS SEEK TO FILL KEYSTONE WITH CLIMATE VOTES
Senate Democrats are trying to try force Republicans into an awkward vote on climate change before the GOP can push through a bill to approve Keystone XL. The Senate is expected to debate amendments next week, and Democrats hope to pin down Republicans from swing states who face reelection in 2016, such as Sens. Kelly Ayotte and Mark Kirk, on whether they believe that burning fossil fuels plays a role in climate change. Elana Schor rounds things up: http://politico.pro/1z91E6g
Wait a minute…you mean to tell us that energy development in Canada also helps tourism in Montana? (Note- Eastern Montana also saw increases in tourism after the increase in Bakken oil and gas drilling)
Here’s the first in at least a three-part series from The Flathead Beacon: Plunging Oil Puts Alberta on Edge; Montana’s northern neighbor prepares for big cuts that could impact the Flathead Valley
Scan the parking lot at Whitefish Mountain Resort on any given weekend in January and you’ll see red and white license plates with “Alberta – Wild Rose Country” just about everywhere.
Albertans have been coming to the Flathead Valley for years and for good reason, said Donna Townley, an economist at the University of Lethbridge and part-time Flathead Valley resident. For many years, when the Canadian dollar was strong, the Flathead was an inexpensive getaway for Albertans. According to the Whitefish Convention and Visitors Bureau, 18 percent of visitors to Whitefish in the first nine months of 2014 came from Alberta.
But now oil prices are dropping and Alberta is facing “the most serious fiscal circumstances we’ve seen in a generation,” according to Alberta Premier Jim Prentice. The question now is will Canadians be flocking to the Flathead as they have in the past?
Forecasting the state’s budget and revenues for the next two years can be a tricky process, especially when the finances are dependent on dynamic markets, like that of crude oil.
Crude oil is currently priced under $50 per barrel, a situation the state hasn’t seen often in the last 15 years. These prices are an important piece of Montana’s revenue puzzle, because the state collects royalties and taxes levied on oil and gas production throughout the state.
Gas prices have dropped below $2 a gallon in Montana for the first time in nearly six years, which is expected to spark a production drop in the Bakken, resulting in job losses and reduced tax revenue for the state, said Montana Petroleum Association executive director Dave Galt.
Galt noted that the price of Williston Basin Sweet, about $33 a barrel, is even lower than the $46 a barrel of West Texas Intermediate, the benchmark for crude oil, according to the Rocky Mountain Oil Journal.
“We’re looking at West Texas prices right now, which isn’t good,” he said, noting that production will drop exponentially. “North Dakota has 180 drilling rigs on the Bakken and Montana has 10 rigs, and we can expect to see a 50 percent reduction on both sides of the border. It’s going to be a trail down fast.”
Also of note…
Saudi Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi met U.S. Deputy Energy Secretary Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall on Tuesday in Riyadh where they discussed oil markets, the official Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported.
U.S. crude hit a near six-year low of $44.20 on Tuesday.
Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro is in Algeria on a diplomatic push to persuade reluctant fellow members of OPEC to prop up a sinking market by cutting output. Saudi Arabia, OPEC’s dominant member state and the world’s biggest oil exporter, has repeatedly said the group will not cut production.