Here is one of many reasons Florida depends on affordable American energy: Our families save an average of $1,300 on energy costs every year.
But now politicians in Tallahassee are under pressure from anti-energy groups to ban hydraulic fracturing in our state. This would set a terrible precedent that could impact the availability of affordable oil and natural gas for all Florida families and businesses.
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?
There are many Floridians who do not like the Renewable Fuel Standard. They know the ethanol mandate can be detrimental to consumers, drivers, and the environment. That is why it’s good to see a bipartisan group in Congress supporting legislation that would fix some of the problems with this misguided law.
HR 5180, Food and Fuel Consumer Protection Act, would cap the amount of ethanol that must be blended into our fuel. This will prevent the forced introduction of E15, or gasoline that contains 15% ethanol. There is no consumer demand for E15, since it could cause significant problems with many motors.
There are three members of the Florida congressional delegation who have cosponsored this bill: Rep. Bill Posey, Rep. Gus Bilirakis, and Rep. Lois Frankel. Florida’s members of Congress need to hear from you that you support fixing the ethanol mandate. Have you called your representative yet?
Clay County officials attended a groundbreaking ceremony Wednesday morning to celebrate the upcoming installation of a pipeline that will provide natural gas to businesses and residents in Green Cove Springs as well as surrounding areas.
TECO Peoples Gas invested $10.5 million in the project, and partnered with SeaCoast Gas Transmission to bring natural gas distribution to the communities.
Expanding energy infrastructure in this way is good news for the residents of these areas. As Green Cove Springs Mayor Pam Lewis said, “having natural gas here is going to be an enhancement to all of the people we hope to attract in the manufacturing community.” Wider access to natural gas means wider access to a low-cost and environmentally friendly source of energy that is made in America.
With American oil and gas production thriving, it’s vital to have the infrastructure that transports and stores this energy. Without this infrastructure, consumers cannot benefit from the American energy revolution.
Energy supports virtually all aspects of our daily lives; don’t you think we owe it an appreciation?
From pipelines to trucks to tankers, energy infrastructure connects oil and natural gas from the ground where it is produced to where we live so we can use it in our homes, our automobiles, and throughout our daily lives. Without this infrastructure, the abundant energy being produced in the U.S. would not be used to its full purposes, like heating and cooling our homes, providing energy to our hospitals and emergency responders, starting our cars, or simple things like switching the light in the morning. We may not think about it much, if at all, but energy infrastructure is a vital part of our lives every day.
Energy Citizens has been a big supporter of increasing U.S. exports of liquefied natural gas (LNG) for some time now. We think the potential economic and geopolitical benefits of selling more of our abundance of domestically produced natural gas abroad are huge.
We are far from alone in that belief. Here are a few examples of policymakers, economic studies, and think tanks discussing the benefits of LNG exports:
“We welcome the prospect of U.S. LNG exports in the future since additional global supplies will benefit Europe and other strategic partners.” – President Barack Obama, in a joint statement with European leaders
“An increase in U.S. exports of natural gas, and the resulting price changes, would have a number of mostly beneficial effects on natural gas producers, employment, U.S. geopolitical security, and the environment.” – White House Council of Economic Advisers
“The president has full and unquestioned authority to approve energy exports by executive action without Congress. The Natural Gas Act says the Department of Energy makes the decision on export permit approvals, and the law presumes exports are in the public interest. The administration can and should move faster on approving export permits.” – Former Secretaries of Energy Bill Richardson and Spencer Abraham
“…the U.S. was projected to gain net economic benefits from allowing LNG exports. Moreover, for every one of the market scenarios examined, net economic benefits increased as the level of LNG exports increased.” – Department of Energy-commissioned study, 2012
“Natural gas-producing states could see employment gains as high as 60,000 to 155,000 jobs; and large manufacturing states, such as California and Ohio, will see employment gains upwards of 30,000 to 38,000 jobs in 2035.” – ICF International
“Expanded demand for U.S. natural gas internationally will be a net positive, resulting in greater U.S. natural gas production, increased investment, enhanced GDP growth, rising incomes, and more jobs.” – Small Business Entrepreneurship Council
“For the United States, LNG exports offer an opportunity to produce and sell more gas without paying more at home. Growth of US LNG exports will benefits the US economy and are unlikely to affect the price of natural gas in the United States.” – Atlantic Council
This is a great opportunity for U.S. economic growth, and an important issue for Energy Citizens to mention in their contacts with elected officials, who can push through approval of LNG export projects.
The U.S. has abundant supplies of natural gas. As Kyle Isakower, vice president for regulatory and economic policy for the American Petroleum Institute, explains in an op-ed for the Orlando Sentinel, that’s good news for Americans:
Greater availability of natural gas has also driven down utility costs for families and businesses. Home heating costs dropped this past winter, and wholesale electricity prices fell 27 percent to 37 percent compared with 2014. Between that and low gasoline prices, EIA data indicate the average American household has saved almost $750 in annual energy costs compared to 2008. For manufacturers, industrial electricity costs are 30 percent to 50 percent lower than those of foreign competitors.
Isakower goes on to explain the other benefits of American natural gas production and the greater use of clean-burning natural gas, such as lower carbon-dioxide emissions. Emissions are lower than they were twenty years ago because of the increased use of natural gas for electricity generation. But, as he points out, market driven growth in clean, reliable, affordable electricity from natural gas can be threatened if politicians at the state and federal level pursue policies that favor more costly, intermittent generation sources such as wind and solar. That’s why it is so important for Energy Citizens to take an active role in the 2016 election. We have to make sure that the candidates running for office know that oil and gas production and use is important to our nation.
As Isakower says, “A diverse blend of energy sources, including oil and natural gas, is the best way to continue environmental progress without risking energy security, economic growth and consumer savings.” Let’s make sure that we get this message across during this Election Season.
America’s wealth of natural gas, produced by hydraulic fracturing and other high-tech oil and gas industry innovations, presents us with a tremendous global export opportunity in the liquefied natural gas (LNG) market. But as this recent Forbes article – U.S. Liquefied Natural Gas Exports Reach A New Market And Continue To Climb In 2016 – points out, our success in this lucrative economic sector is anything but assured.
Yes, the just completed Panama Canal expansion could help more easily transport U.S. LNG to foreign markets. But we still have to overcome political challenges here at home that hold back crucial approvals of pending export terminal projects. As Forbes puts it:
Yet, our LNG exporters, and those policymakers that critically want to support them, can never relax. The global LNG race is intensifying every day, with market growth booming post-2017, right when our projects are primed to take off. As we have entire groups of Americans ill-advisedly celebrating blocked U.S. LNG export projects (here), more shady suppliers [such as Iran or Russia] are also celebrating the decreased competition from such an attractive supplier like the U.S.
Increasing exports of American-made LNG could create as many as 450,000 new jobs by 2035, according to an ICF International study. Energy Citizens need to make it clear to our political leaders that we want timely approval on a process that will make those exports – and those jobs – a reality.
While fracking has been under attack in Florida this year, two new studies suggest that Floridians should embrace this energy-producing process. In the Naples Daily News,George Ahearn explains:
Despite the opinion of our local environmental groups, the city of Bonita Springs, most of the Collier commissioners, the Naples Daily News, and the “home rule” Democrat supporters in Tallahassee, the report concludes that the shale revolution has created a variety of opportunities and benefits for local governments.
These include significant sources of revenue streams from the growth of property taxes, state severance taxes, royalties, and increased sales taxes. Much of the revenue is being used to upgrade roads, infrastructure, water, and wastewater facilities, to support the resulting economic and population growth.
The other headline is the result of a recent statistical analysis by the Daily Caller News Foundation that shows there is absolutely no link between the pro-green energy policies of states and falling CO2 emissions, but a significant link to natural gas generated electricity use. Actually, it showed there was a small correlation in the opposite direction from what environmentalists claim about green energy.
In other words, fracking increases tax revenue and helps lower carbon emissions.
While anti-energy activists make misleading attacks on fracking, the facts prove that their horror stories are false. Energy development is good for Florida, and legislators should embrace it. They should certainly not let a false narrative about fracking carry the day.
That figurative barrier is called the blend wall – the threshold beyond which the U.S. gasoline supply contains more than 10 percent ethanol. Oil industry and small government advocates point to the wall in criticizing the Renewable Fuel Standard, a decade-old law requiring an increasing volume of ethanol and other renewable liquids in the nation’s fuel supply.
Automakers say they can’t guarantee that any but a few of their engines will run properly on mixes of less than 90 percent gasoline, and many fuel suppliers say it’s difficult and expensive to comply with the federal mandate.
Renewable Fuel Standard biofuel mandates could cause a lot of problems, among them potential economic harm. Like the Chronicle, Energy Citizens believes the RFS needs to be fixed.