It has been ten years since Congress passed the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), which mandates the use of biofuels such as ethanol. Rep. Billy Long of Missouri has an excellent op-ed examining the ways this legislation failed to live up to expectations:
Despite their pure intentions, 2007 policymakers’ economic predictions have proven inaccurate and the overall program has fallen short. Concerns over gasoline usage decline have taken priority over those of inflated fuel demands, and innovations of new cellulosic biofuels has come more sluggishly than hoped. The Environmental Protection Agency has continuously adjusted the mandated fuel additive volumes downward in light of lower demands.
So while dependence on foreign oil sources declined as hoped, RFS cannot claim credit. Also, experts like those from the National Academy of Sciences, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the Congressional Budget Office cannot conclude that renewable fuels have delivered on lessened greenhouse gases.
As Rep. Long points out, the RFS has not worked as predicted. In fact, its ethanol mandate could cause significant problems for consumers.
It is good to see growing bipartisan support in Congress to address these issues. One bill, HR 5180, would cap the amount of ethanol that must be blended into our fuel. This legislation is a good start to begin fixing this flawed mandate. Have you asked your member of Congress to support it?
HB 1277 would promote the use of E15 or fuels with even higher levels of ethanol. This kind of misguided plan ignores the reams of evidence that show that too much ethanol is potentially bad for family budgets, the economy, and it could harm the engines of millions of cars on the road today – including yours.
Indiana Energy Citizens helped stop last year’s legislation by speaking out to lawmakers in Indianapolis, telling them to stand up against a similar bill. We need to do the same thing now.
It’s getting more and more difficult for anti-energy activists to claim that fracking harms water quality. A recent study from Ohio looks at the link between fracking and water contamination and it found no evidence to blame fracking for methane in water there:
A three-year study by the University of Cincinnati has determined that natural gas drilling has had no effect on the quality of water coming from wells in Carroll County.
The study looked at water quality in five counties – Carroll, Columbiana, Stark, Harrison and Belmont – with a focus on Carroll County, which has been the epicenter of the Utica Shale boom in eastern Ohio…
“The good news is that our study did not document that fracking was directly linked to water contamination,” said Dr. Amy Townsend-Small of the University of Cincinatti, who presented the findings at a meeting of Carroll Concerned Citizens.
While methane was found in the water, researchers confirmed that it was from underground coal seams, not natural gas drilling.
These findings should come as no surprise. Abundant evidence indicates that fracking is not a threat to groundwater quality.
It would be nice to think that this study (and the others which demonstrate fracking’s safety) will persuade opponents of this process to change their minds. Unfortunately, this is unlikely to happen. However, this study is important because it can help convince policymakers not to give into the misinformation that anti-fracking extremists so often peddle.
Happy New Year! We’re excited about the opportunities in 2017 for Energy Citizens to support job creation, strengthen our nation’s security, and keep energy affordable.
All eyes are now on Washington, but the fact is that we must prepare for challenges across the states. As part of a larger effort to shut down American oil and natural gas, anti-energy activist plan to battle critical pipeline projects and pro-energy policies at the local level.
“The opposition is going to be much more local, much more focused.” — Anti-Energy Leader Jane Kleeb
But communicating to government alone will not win the day. We also need to reach out to members of our communities… to friends, family, neighbors, co-workers, and our social networks. It’s important that we talk about why energy is important to us and why we need policies and leadership that support American energy development.
Ryan Rowden, executive director of the Missouri Petroleum Council, recently ran down a laundry list of problems with the Renewable Fuel Standard ethanol mandate (RFS) in his June 21 Kansas City Star guest editorial, EPA pushing outdated, costly ethanol fuel.
Some of the highlights:
E15 gasoline contains 15 percent ethanol. It could be costly. About 90 percent of vehicles on the road today were not designed to use E15. Extensive testing shows that E15 can cause damage to engines and fuel systems not covered by warranty.
Continuing to increase ethanol volumes could drive up prices at the pump — by 26 cents per gallon, according to the Congressional Budget Office.
The flawed policy is already affecting food costs, prompting anti-hunger organizations, grocers, restaurant associations and producers of poultry, pork and beef to speak out. By diverting nearly 40 percent of the U.S. corn crop from food to fuel, the ethanol mandate has contributed to a 25 percent increase in the consumer price index for food since 2005.
Rowden also quoted one restaurant owner whose business has been dramatically impacted by the RFS:
A Wendy’s franchise owner in Virginia stated: “The corn ethanol mandate, or RFS, is costing my small company up to $34,000 more in higher food costs per restaurant, each and every year. For our family business, that’s approximately $374,000 a year in additional costs.”
Truthfully, it’s getting harder and harder to find anyone who supports the RFS ethanol mandate. Congress needs to step up and do away with this outdated plan before it inflicts any more damage. Take a minute to email your U.S. senator and House member to tell them so.
The impact of the shale revolution is profound because the economic growth it continues to produce is not confined to any single region of the U.S. Cheap natural gas is strengthening energy security across the country and is fueling a resurgence in manufacturing – particularly the most energy-intensive industrial products, such as iron and steel, bulk chemicals, petrochemicals, plastics, cement, petroleum refining, glass, paper and food products.
Why is shale gas production so important to manufacturing? It’s because manufacturing is very energy-intensive. With more shale gas being produced here, it has lowered the cost of energy for American manufacturers:
Adjusted for inflation, the cost of electricity to industrial users in the U.S. is lower this year than almost any year in history. Compared to 2008 in the early days of the shale revolution, industrial electricity prices are 17 percent lower today. That’s because virtually every new power plant constructed in recent years has been fueled with natural gas. Gas plants are relatively inexpensive to build, and gas prices are projected to remain low for many decades.
During the election year we heard a lot about creating more American jobs. Let’s make sure to ask the candidates where they stand on natural gas production and the use of natural gas in power generation. If they don’t advocate for pro-energy policies or for allowing markets, not government mandates or incentives to dictate our power generation mix, it’s hard to see how they can be serious about job growth in the U.S. For our economy to continue to grow, we need to make sure that candidates running this year support oil and gas production and the market-driven use of more natural gas to generate electricity.
Pipelines have been in the news a lot lately. While activists trying to shut down new pipeline projects make wild claims about their safety, the scientific facts prove the opposite.
To prevent leaks, a state-of-the-art technology similar to a doctor’s ultrasound machine or MRI is used on the inside of the pipe to scan the walls for any potential problems. In 2012 alone, $2.1 billion was spent by liquid pipeline operators to evaluate, inspect and maintain their pipelines.
Liquid pipeline incidents are down 50% since 1999.
Corrosion as a cause of pipeline incidents is down 76% since 1999.
Lawmakers and regulators should not be misled by false claims about pipelines. The industry’s commitment to safety through best practices and with the use of modern technology allows companies to ensure that pipelines deliver energy products safely 99.99% of the time. They are also needed to ensure that consumers have access to clean, affordable energy in the years to come. In the debate over expanding our energy infrastructure and greater natural gas use, it’s vital that we keep politics aside and instead focus on the long-term benefits for our country that take the form of lower energy prices, greater job creation, and environmental benefits.
If we don’t understand how oil and natural gas get from the wellhead to the consumers or commercial users, we don’t understand energy. Energy infrastructure – pipelines, roads, bridges, rail lines, processing plants, storage facilities, etc. – enables us to maintain and even grow the lifestyle that we have today. Today, we need to devote just as much time to learning about – and advocating for – energy infrastructure as we do to fracking, offshore resource access, or any of the other major issues that surround U.S. energy security.
To most of us, pipelines are the first thing we imagine when we hear about energy infrastructure. They are critically important to moving both domestically produced and imported fuels that we use every day, and they are essential to transporting the oil and gas by-products that feed the U.S. manufacturing industry. In fact, our country has a robust network of energy pipelines that moves 14 billion barrels of crude oil, among other oil and gas-related products .
But don’t forget that rail cars move oil and liquefied natural gas too. So do trucks. And the processing facilities that prepare natural gas to be used and storage tanks that hold it in reserve for those winter days when we need more energy are all critical oil and gas infrastructure components as well.
Energy infrastructure is a big issue and an important one. This factsheet – Energy Infrastructure 101 – is a good place to start finding out about infrastructure and understanding why it is so important to our nation.
The holidays are an expensive time for many American families. It’s also a time when the temperature drops, and more energy is needed to heat our homes and business. This could add even more costs at a time when higher utility bills could stand in the way of our holiday cheer. Would you rather spend money on paying off the bills or use it to bring the joy to your loved ones? Keeping our energy infrastructure up-to-date and capable of delivering the oil and gas products that support us year-round helps to keep utility costs low.
Energy infrastructure encompasses everything from pipelines to railroads to storage facilities. Without it, we would struggle to keep the lights on, our cars moving, and our homes warm. And we would have to pay more to afford these basic essentials.
One of the major components that deliver energy safely to consumers is pipelines. Natural gas produced in the U.S. and more than 14 billion barrels of crude oil travel by pipelines and reach their destination 99.99% of the time. Our state-of-the-art technology and committed staff who monitors pipelines 24/7 keep pipelines efficient and safe.
The energy resurgence has created jobs, cut fuel imports and delivered tangible benefits to American families and businesses – with average savings of $1,300 per year per household.
Without the pipelines and other energy infrastructure necessary to transport, refine, store, and deliver U.S.-made oil and natural gas, those savings would be lost. Especially during the holidays, energy infrastructure is something we can all be thankful for.
The EPA is under heavy pressure to politicize a report concluding that fracking isn’t harming groundwater. We have to push back against this pressure. If it gives in to these activists, the EPA could do real damage to American oil and gas production.