Energy and Infrastructure Are Key Building Blocks for Minnesota’s Economy


Categorized in: Infrastructure, Minnesota

Though Minnesota is not among key energy-producing states, the state’s economy and way of life rely heavily on energy supplies for power and as building blocks for essential materials and products.

To grow our economy and maintain our quality of life, we need to ensure that energy supplies can reach us dependably and affordably. That’s why it’s critical that Minnesotans recognize the need to build new and expanded energy infrastructure.

Two-thirds of Minnesotans homes are heated with natural gas. But the largest user of natural gas in the state is our industrial sector, including food, chemical, and building material manufacturers.

Natural gas is also a fundamental component for agriculture. It is a building block for fertilizer manufacturing, and grain drying depends on natural gas. Without access to affordable natural gas, leading Minnesota companies such as Cargill, General Mills, and 3M—not to mention many smaller companies—would face significant challenges.

Minnesota also serves as an important transportation hub—for fuel, people, and products. The St. Paul Park Refinery and the Pine Bend Refinery both produce gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel used in the state and shipped throughout the Midwest. These fuels help keep barges on the Mississippi operating and planes flying to and from MSP. But these refineries and their customers rely on energy infrastructure to keep raw materials and finished fuel products flowing.

The elections, as well as post-election discussions, have brought renewed focus on the need to invest in our nation’s infrastructure. This year, we’re likely to see increased federal support for building and improving roads, bridges, airports, and rail. Pipelines and other energy infrastructure should also be on the table.

Investment in energy infrastructure projects like pipelines will come from the private sector—so no taxpayer dollars will be needed. But for these projects to move forward, we need the support of local, state, and federal officials. The supportive voices of Minnesota Energy Citizens can help make it happen.

The Problems with the Ethanol Mandate


Categorized in: Colorado, Florida, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Minnesota, National, New England, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, RFS, South Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin

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?

Local Battle Loom in 2017


Categorized in: Colorado, Domestic Oil, Infrastructure, Jobs, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Minnesota, National, New England, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, West Virginia, Wisconsin

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.

As a first step in highlighting the importance of energy to our local communities, it would be great if you would share your story. How is American energy helping your family, community, and state? Share why you’re standing up for American energy.

As we move forward, we’ll be asking you to share your views—and your story—with others so that pro-energy voices can be part of policy discussions.

New Pipelines Are Essential for Minnesota’s Future Prosperity


Categorized in: Infrastructure, Minnesota

Natural gas is an economic and environmental game changer for the United States. Though Minnesota is not an energy producer, we stand to benefit as utilities increasingly generate electricity from natural gas.

But we won’t realize the full benefits of America’s energy renaissance if we don’t expand our state’s pipeline system.

Pipelines are essential for transporting natural gas from wells to processing facilities and on to customers, including utilities, businesses, and households. With our growing population and economy, we need greater pipeline capacity. It’s that simple.

Natural Gas Benefits

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy singled out natural gas for enabling our nation “to really move forward with pollution reductions that have been very hard to get our arms around for decades.”

Natural gas has been the primary driver of U.S. carbon emission reductions. In 2014, U.S. carbon emissions were at their lowest levels in 20 years. In fact, natural gas has enabled the energy sector alone to experience its lowest carbon levels in 25 years. Today, we lead all other industrial nations in carbon emission reductions, primarily because of the increased use of natural gas to generate electricity.

Ample supplies of American natural gas mean we are less dependent on foreign nations to meet our energy needs. The availability of natural gas has also helped control energy and heating costs for American households.

Pipeline Safety

Pipelines are a safe, efficient, and environmentally friendly way to transport natural gas and oil. In addition to having a 99.99% transportation safety record, pipelines are tightly regulated by federal and state governments and are also monitored with cutting-edge technology.

Every cubic foot of natural gas or barrel of petroleum moved by pipeline reduces the need to transport fuel by truck or rail. In other words, pipelines help reduce traffic congestion on our roads and rail lines.

Those opposed to pipelines cannot reasonably defend their position by pointing to safety or environmental concerns. Often, these opponents come from national level organizations that support a national keep-it-in –the-ground agenda that places little thought on how this position would actually impact people living here in Minnesota. A failure to expand our state’s pipeline capacity could increase the environmental impact of fuel transportation and drive up costs. This makes no sense.

In Minnesota, we don’t have to pick. We instead need to take a commonsense approach to meeting our energy needs, supporting our economy, and protecting our environment. It’s time to allow energy infrastructure projects, especially pipelines, to move forward.

Affordable Heat, Power, and Gas Depend on Energy Infrastructure


Categorized in: Infrastructure, Minnesota

Energy infrastructure is the system of fuel processing, storage, and transportation that enables energy to move from where it is produced to where we need to use it. It includes pipelines, processing facilities, storage, rail, and ships. For energy to reach us affordably, we need adequate energy infrastructure.

Today, the average U.S. household saves about $1,300 annually because of American energy production—and because that energy can reach us efficiently. In Minnesota, we benefit from lower-than-average gasoline prices, and we have some of the lowest home heating oil prices in the nation.
But the long-term outlook for affordable energy is hazy at best. Why? Because we’re not moving forward with expanding our energy infrastructure. We cannot continue to rely on an infrastructure that was built to serve a smaller nation. Our population is heading toward 400 million.

For the first time, the Twin Cities metropolitan area recently exceeded 3 million people. The Twin Cities’ population is growing much faster than the population of Chicago, St. Louis, or Cincinnati. While Minnesota and the Twin Cities area are not growing as rapidly as some other parts of the country, we still need to address our growth with expansion of all types of infrastructure, including energy infrastructure.

“The growth is going to put a tremendous amount of burden on things like our energy use,” said Adam Duininck, chair of the Twin Cities’ Metropolitan Council, the area’s main planning agency. He notes that the area needs new and expanded pipelines and powerlines, as well as roads and bridges.

While many Minnesota communities, businesses, and government leaders support energy infrastructure projects, too often proposed projects are delayed by red tape and activist opposition. Furthermore, much of this opposition comes from national level groups who place little to no regard on the impacts that their proposals could have on those of us actually living here in Minnesota. To keep energy affordable, we need to confront these challenges and start breaking ground.

New Pipelines Are Essential for Minnesota’s Future Prosperity


Categorized in: Infrastructure, Minnesota, Natural Gas

Natural gas is an economic and environmental game changer for the United States. Though Minnesota is not an energy producer, we stand to benefit as utilities increasingly generate electricity from natural gas.

But we won’t realize the full benefits of America’s energy renaissance if we don’t expand our state’s pipeline system.

Pipelines are essential for transporting natural gas from wells to processing facilities and on to customers, including utilities, businesses, and households. With our growing population and economy, we need greater pipeline capacity. It’s that simple.

Natural Gas Benefits

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy singled out natural gas for enabling our nation “to really move forward with pollution reductions that have been very hard to get our arms around for decades.”

Natural gas has been the primary driver of U.S. carbon emission reductions. In 2014, U.S. carbon emissions were at their lowest levels in 20 years. In fact, natural gas has enabled the energy sector alone to experience its lowest carbon levels in 25 years. Today, we lead all other industrial nations in carbon emission reductions, primarily because of the increased use of natural gas to generate electricity.

Ample supplies of American natural gas mean we are less dependent on foreign nations to meet our energy needs. The availability of natural gas has also helped control energy and heating costs for American households.

Pipeline Safety

Pipelines are a safe, efficient, and environmentally friendly way to transport natural gas and oil. In addition to having a 99.99% transportation safety record, pipelines are tightly regulated by federal and state governments and are also monitored with cutting-edge technology.

Every cubic foot of natural gas or barrel of petroleum moved by pipeline reduces the need to transport fuel by truck or rail. In other words, pipelines help reduce traffic congestion on our roads and rail lines.

Those opposed to pipelines cannot reasonably defend their position by pointing to safety or environmental concerns. Often, these opponents come from national level organizations that support a national keep-it-in –the-ground agenda that places little thought on how this position would actually impact people living here in Minnesota. A failure to expand our state’s pipeline capacity could increase the environmental impact of fuel transportation and drive up costs. This makes no sense.

In Minnesota, we don’t have to pick. We instead need to take a commonsense approach to meeting our energy needs, supporting our economy, and protecting our environment. It’s time to allow energy infrastructure projects, especially pipelines, to move forward.

Affordable Heat, Power, and Gas Depend on Energy Infrastructure


Categorized in: Infrastructure, Minnesota

Energy infrastructure is the system of fuel processing, storage, and transportation that enables energy to move from where it is produced to where we need to use it. It includes pipelines, processing facilities, storage, rail, and ships. For energy to reach us affordably, we need adequate energy infrastructure.

Today, the average U.S. household saves about $1,300 annually because of American energy production—and because that energy can reach us efficiently. In Minnesota, we benefit from lower-than-average gasoline prices , and we have some of the lowest home heating oil prices in the nation .

But the long-term outlook for affordable energy is hazy at best. Why? Because we’re not moving forward with expanding our energy infrastructure. We cannot continue to rely on an infrastructure that was built to serve a smaller nation. Our population is heading toward 400 million.

For the first time, the Twin Cities metropolitan area recently exceeded 3 million people . The Twin Cities’ population is growing much faster than the population of Chicago, St. Louis, or Cincinnati. While Minnesota and the Twin Cities area are not growing as rapidly as some other parts of the country, we still need to address our growth with the expansion of all types of infrastructure, including energy infrastructure.

“The growth is going to put a tremendous amount of burden on things like our energy use,” said Adam Duininck, chair of the Twin Cities’ Metropolitan Council, the area’s main planning agency. He notes that the area needs new and expanded pipelines and powerlines, as well as roads and bridges.

While many Minnesota communities, businesses, and government leaders support energy infrastructure projects, too often proposed projects are delayed by red tape and activist opposition. Furthermore, much of this opposition comes from national level groups who place little to no regard on the impacts that their proposals could have on those of us actually living here in Minnesota. To keep energy affordable, we need to confront these challenges and start breaking ground.

Election Day is just a few weeks away – have you contacted your candidates yet?


Categorized in: Minnesota, Vote4Energy

We’re down to the wire. Election Day is just around the corner and our candidates need to know that if they fail to support American energy development, they will lose our votes.

It’s up to us to make energy part of the debate during this historic election year. We cannot continue to elect lawmakers who want to hold us back with overreaching regulations, higher taxes, and bans on energy. Instead, we need leaders in office who know how important oil and natural gas development is to our economy, our communities, our environment, and our energy security.

If you haven’t already, make sure you contact your candidates today to let them know how important energy is to Minnesota and to our nation.

Energy is not a partisan issue. In fact, a recent poll showed that a majority of voters from both political parties support:

  • A national energy policy that ensures a secure supply of abundant, affordable, and available energy for the American people in an environmentally responsible manner.
  • Increased production of oil and natural gas resources located here in the U.S.
  • Increased energy infrastructure.

These are all issues that are critical to Minnesota’s energy future. It’s time to push past the fear and anti-energy rhetoric of the vocal minority. These opposition groups keep pushing for job-killing, economy-destroying measures. And too many candidates are attacking oil and natural gas, yet offering zero solutions for our nation’s energy future.

Tell candidates you want to hear their plans for supporting American energy! And make sure you show up to vote on November 8.

Together, Minnesota Energy Citizens can make a difference.

Let’s Talk Energy Infrastructure


Categorized in: Infrastructure, Minnesota

How does oil and natural gas get from the ground to consumers? Pipelines, tankers, trains, and compressor stations – this network makes up the energy infrastructure that provides consumers like you and me with affordable energy every day. Without them, the American energy renaissance would come to a halt.

That’s why Energy Citizens is launching a campaign to highlight the importance of energy infrastructure to Minnesota. We need to band together to expand the energy infrastructure system. With the growth in American oil and natural gas production over the past decade, it’s critical that we build new infrastructure to meet our nation’s needs.

Minnesota relies heavily on pipelines and other infrastructure to deliver the energy we need. Failing to expand this infrastructure could harm consumers in our state. It could also cost us jobs that can be created when companies invest in pipeline projects here.

With the right policies, we could see energy infrastructure investments of $120 billion every year for the U.S. That will support 1.15 million jobs and contribute $27 billion in new revenue for our schools and communities.

By updating and building new energy infrastructure, we’ll be supporting the energy renaissance that has done so much to support working families, grow our economy, and strengthen Minnesota and our nation.

Time to Reform LNG Export Rules


Categorized in: LNG, Minnesota

In Washington, D.C., there isn’t much that Democrats and Republicans agree on. But Energy Citizens know that good energy policy is bipartisan. That is why there is strong support on both sides of the aisle for revamping the rules governing liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports.

Both Democrats and Republicans in Congress realize that we are in a new era of energy abundance. Thanks to the shale revolution, the U.S. is the top natural gas producer in the world. The regulations that once governed LNG exports just don’t make sense today.

Rules that impose onerous restrictions on LNG exports are hampering our nation’s ability to fully emerge as a global energy player. American natural gas is being denied greater opportunities to be sold to willing buyers around the globe.

These restrictions hurt our nation in a few different ways. If it were easier to sell LNG overseas, it could help sustain U.S. production – supporting jobs and creating economic growth right here at home. American LNG can also strengthen our security by providing our allies with a new source of energy to help meet their needs. This weakens unfriendly nations that use their natural gas exports to gain geopolitical leverage.

Both the House of Representatives and the Senate are considering language to streamline the export process. Unfortunately, this much-needed update could die if Congress fails to pass final legislation before it adjourns for the year. Energy Citizens need to let our members of Congress know that we don’t want them to neglect this important issue.