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?
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.
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.
Just consider how crude oil exports could boost our national security. Two experts in this field— a former Secretary of Defense and CIA Director, Leon Panetta, and a former National Security Advisor, Stephen Hadley—wrote an insightful op-ed for the Wall Street Journal that explains the global implications of lifting the crude oil export ban.
They use the example of Russia to illustrate their point:
Fourteen NATO countries buy 15% or more of their oil from Russia, with several countries in Eastern and Central Europe exceeding 50%. Russia is the sole or predominant source of natural gas for several European countries including Finland, Slovakia, Bulgaria, and the Baltic states. Europe as a whole relies on Russia for more than a quarter of its natural gas. This situation leaves Europe vulnerable to Kremlin coercion.
What’s their solution? “The U.S. can provide friends and allies with a stable alternative to threats of supply disruption. This is a strategic imperative as well as a matter of economic self-interest.”
Read the rest of their op-ed to get an even better picture of how our global leadership will be enhanced by eliminating the oil export ban. It’s time for Congress to lift the ban.
The Keystone XL Pipeline is the first priority of the new Congress.
We’ve been waiting for this Pipeline for six years now. It’s time our elected officials do the right thing and vote yes! It’s extremely important that all Energy Citizens send their Members of Congress a letter today to tell them:
There is no reason to stand in the way of American energy security.
There is no reason to play politics with Keystone XL.
Newspaper editorial boards from around the country are urging President Obama to approve the Keystone XL pipeline. The country has been waiting more than FIVE YEARS for the President to act. In that time, thousands of pages of environmental assessments have proved Keystone’s environmental and economic merits. Five years and thousands of pages are enough to make the case for Keystone. It’s time for President Obama to build. Here’s just some of what America’s news outlets are saying in support of the Keystone XL Pipeline:
ILLINOIS:“No, the pipeline would not be the environmental horror that the opponents allege. Yes, it would have a significant economic impact. It would create lots of jobs…The Obama administration should promptly approve Keystone XL — and boast about the environmental and economic pluses it will deliver.” – Chicago Tribune, February 12, 2014
LOUISIANA: “It’s time to build the Keystone XL pipeline. … The much-anticipated State Department environmental impact statement should be the green light for the long-delayed construction of Keystone XL pipeline. There may be lots of excuses opponents can come up with for continuing to delay it. But there are no longer any good reasons.” – Opelousas Daily World, February 8, 2014
TEXAS: “President Barack Obama should have applauded the State Department’s recent finding that the Keystone XL pipeline from Canada to the Gulf Coast would not produce a significant net increase in carbon emissions, a major cause of global climate change…This pipeline has been studied and studied during the past five years, and most research concludes that its economic and national security benefits outweigh any environmental risks…The president should get off the fence, pull out his signing pen and approve this project.” – Dallas Morning News, February 7, 2014
WISCONSIN: “The nation’s best interest is served in permitting the Keystone XL pipeline to be built. As this report makes clear, opposition among committed environmental activists may be strong, but it is symbolic.” – Manitowoc Herald Times Reporter, February 6, 2014
PENNSYLVANIA:“The administration owes everybody a decision…We think that the right decision, although admittedly a tough one, is to approve the pipeline. The nation’s interests would be served by further reducing America’s dependence on Middle East oil and by the creation of 1,950 construction jobs that will build the project over two years.” – Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, February 6, 2014
MONTANA: “…the Obama administration should get off the fence, and finally approve this project, now that it has some cover with the State Department’s findings. While there are different estimates about how many jobs will be created, it is a $7 billion project that will create jobs, and any and all jobs should be welcome in this country.” Kalispell Daily Inter Lake, February 5, 2104
FLORIDA: “Now that the State Department has studied the proposed Keystone XL oil pipeline and found no major problems, President Obama should give the go-ahead to this long-delayed, long-debated project… Let the job creation begin.” – Northwest Florida Daily News, February 5, 2014
KANSAS: “If President Obama believes in his own ‘all-of-the-above energy strategy,’ he will stop stalling and let the Keystone XL pipeline proceed… Obama suggested last year that he would approve Keystone if it “does not significantly exacerbate the problem of carbon pollution.” With his own State Department having concluded that it doesn’t, he should set politics aside and get out of its way.” – Wichita Eagle, February 3, 2014
OHIO: “After three years of review, the State Department found no significant environmental risk to Keystone. Nonetheless, the original route was changed to assuage concerns regarding the Ogallala Aquifer. Obama withheld approval through the 2012 election. To this day he has issued no decision.” – Columbus Dispatch, January 26,2014
VIRGINIA: “The pipeline would have a significant impact on such emissions — for the better. That’s because shipping the fuel through the Keystone pipeline would produce fewer emissions than shipping it by other means, such as rail. It also would reduce the likelihood of tanker spillsIf President Obama rejects the pipeline now, it will be for purely ideological reasons. The facts all line up in favor of approval.” – Richmond Times-Dispatch, February 12, 2014
Louisiana has an abundance of petroleum and natural gas, and these natural resources have an enormous impact on the state’s economy. The oil industry directly employs about 58,000 people, and another 260,000 jobs are tied to the oil and natural gas industry. Together, these jobs represent approximately 17% of Louisiana employment.
The area off Louisiana’s coast—the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) of the Gulf of Mexico—is the largest oil-producing area in the United States. In addition, the Haynesville Shale area in northwest Louisiana and East Texas is the fourth largest natural gas field in the world—and the largest in the lower 48 states.
Oil production has been part of Louisiana’s history for more than a century. The famous Spindletop Gusher, also known, as the Lucas Gusher, began producing in 1901 in Beaumont, Texas. Oil production soon spread throughout the region, including in Louisiana. The ability to drill for oil over water was first put into practice in Louisiana, when oil was drilled below Caddo Lake in 1911.
Because of our nation’s growing energy needs and the abundance of energy resources in Louisiana, the Bayou State will be an important contributor to our nation’s energy security for decades to come.
Senator Mary Landrieu is taking a dramatic stand against the continued offshore drilling moratorium and its disastrous consequences for Gulf Coast jobs and America’s economy.
She has decided to take the fight to save the Gulf Coast energy economy to the Senate. She blocked a vote in the Senate yesterday afternoon to confirm the President’s nominee for Budget Director, Jacob Lew, until the moratorium is lifted or “significantly modified.”
This is the second vote she has pledged to block this week: “No energy bill is going to pass,” says the Senator, promising that she will not vote for any bill that would produce more energy or save it “without taking care of the coast that’s producing most of it now.”
The Wall Street Journal recently reported that North Dakota has passed Oklahoma and Louisiana to become the 4th-largest oil producer in America. While people in other states watch their unemployment benefits run out and face foreclosure, North Dakota employers are begging for workers and homebuilders can’t keep up with the demand.
The success of North Dakota’s oil industry is a textbook example of domestic energy producers using modern technologies to meet demand and grow our economy.
Oil production doubled in three years, to 80 million barrels in 2009.
North Dakota added 21,300 jobs between 2005 and 2010-while the nation lost 4.51 million jobs.
The state’s unemployment rate was 4.3% in December 2009, five points below the national average.
State government projects a budget surplus for 2010.
This boom has been made possible by private-sector companies investing in America and using innovative technologies to tap domestic energy reserves. Drilling here isn’t cheap – a North Dakota well costs about $1 million more than the national average – but U.S. companies are willing to invest their capital to increase production and return value to their shareholders.
This is what the U.S. energy industry is about: Private companies using their investors’ money to fuel our nation and grow our economy. People who want to inhibit domestic energy production – like those calling for a moratorium on offshore drilling or higher industry taxes – aren’t seeing the big picture.
North Dakota energy companies have an excellent safety record and are very respectful of the environment. Handcuffing these companies with anti-competitive regulations or excessive tax burdens simply doesn’t make sense. We should all become Energy Citizens – learning about energy issues, participating in energy discussions, and letting those in Congress know how important energy production is to our families.