3 top stories from home and away
By P.M. Fadden
WORLD VIEW – Space Oddity
Elon Musk, engineer as well as founder of SpaceX (and a man prone to ludicrous deadlines), has birthed another: test flights of his Mars spaceship next year. Musk, reports BBC World Service, is the most interesting businessman in Silicon Valley- arguably the world – thanks to his almost single-handed re-ignition of the space race.
After a string of failed rockets – and near bankruptcy – SpaceX wowed the world with its latest flight, Falcon Heavy, in February. The ultimate goal of a Mars mission, of course, is colonization. Such a colony is a pressing matter, in Mr Musk’s eyes, if humanity is to ensure its survival.
NATIONWIDE – Environmental Energy
A new bill making its way through Congress could give endangered U.S. wildlife a reprieve using an innovative source of revenue to save their habitats: oil and gas royalties.
According to USA Today, the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act has gained support, atypically, from both Democratic and Republican lawmakers, a rarity in modern Washington.
There are currently 716 species of animals included upon the U.S. Fish and Wildlife endangered species list. The bill’s goal would be to keep animals off that endangered list by redirecting $1.3 billion a year in oil, gas and minerals royalties to a wildlife conservation fund that would be disbursed to all 50 states, royalties previously applied to the federal treasury.
FRONTIER FOCUS – State of the State
After almost two decades of decline, Alaska has enjoyed two years of increased North Slope oil production with another increase expected this year. Increased production came from multiple fields and means hundreds of millions of dollars in additional state revenue.
State policy positioned Alaska to be more competitive. New and legacy fields on the North Slope and Cook Inlet are providing millions of barrels of new oil. And recent discoveries have been made that could increase Alaska’s current production by hundreds of thousands of barrels if brought online, reports Alaska Dispatch News.
From a Secretarial Order authorizing a new National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska management plan, the reopening of the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, and the new draft proposal for offshore leasing, all signal a federal administration that is serious about Alaska’s role in achieving “energy dominance.”