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, 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.
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.
Energy Citizens should take a minute to check out the blog over at the Chamber of Commerce’s Institute for 21st Century Energy. There is a great post that discusses the importance of fracking to our everyday lives:
America is at an energy crossroads. The fracking-enabled shale revolution is rapidly transforming the nation’s energy landscape, lowering prices for consumers and dramatically reducing our dependence on foreign oil.
Energy is everywhere, and if you stop for a moment to look around you, chances are you will see countless goods and services that are “Brought To You By Fracking.” We’re not just talking about gasoline for your car and electricity for your house—everything from health care and housing to hamburgers and hula hoops are impacted by the price and availability of energy, and oil and natural gas in particular. As a result, the practical impact if the “keep it in the ground” movement succeeds would hurt every American’s quality of life.
The blog goes on to discuss some of the things that are made possible by fracking – air travel, gasoline, air conditioning, and electricity. We may not realize just how important fracking is to our daily lives, but its influence is enormous.
We can’t let anti-energy activists succeed in their war on fracking. We have to speak out in defense of this safe, time-tested practice. The American energy revolution would not exist without it.
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.
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.
It will cap the amount of ethanol that can be mixed into our fuel.
High ethanol fuel poses a threat to older cars, lawnmowers, chainsaws, and other equipment.
If the ethanol mandate isn’t fixed, it could cost consumers a lot in higher food and fuel prices.
While it may seem like no one works across party lines these days, H.R. 5180 has strong bipartisan support. There are many organizations that want to see an end to the problems caused by the Renewable Fuel Standard, and this legislation is the way to accomplish that.
Congress does not have a lot of time to finish work before it adjourns for the year. We need to make sure that they know that you want to focus on fixing the ethanol mandate.
This was welcome news for New England Energy Citizens, who know that our region needs access to cost-efficient, clean-burning natural gas.
This issue was the topic of a guest editorial published in the Worcester telegram.com last month. Writer Timothy P. Murray, former mayor of Worcester and former Massachusetts Lieutenant Governor under Deval Patrick, who currently serves as the president of the Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce, talked about the need for natural gas in the Northeast U.S.:
However, despite an abundance of domestic natural gas here in the United States, Massachusetts’ access to this cleaner more affordable fuel is limited because of constrained natural gas pipeline capacity to the region. As a result, especially to meet seasonal winter demand, expanding access to this cleaner fuel is critical in allowing residents, particularly those on fixed incomes, to affordably heat their homes during the winter months. It is also critical for our employer community that provides needed jobs across the state.
In particular, high-energy users, such as manufacturers that are so important to regional economies such as Central Massachusetts, are vulnerable to the ever-increasing energy costs that kill jobs and cause business closings, or result in plant expansions being done elsewhere where energy costs are lower instead of locally. Preserving and growing these jobs must be a priority — they are one of the few remaining sectors of the economy that provide good paying access to the middle class that do not necessarily require a college degree. Manufacturing jobs are a key pillar to the fragile economies of many of our regional Gateway Cities.
Natural gas is a necessity for economic growth and affordable heating bills in New England. Energy Citizens applauds the Massachusetts legislature for taking this stand.