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.
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.
Despite lacking any fossil fuel resources of its own, New Jersey plays a key role in the nation’s energy infrastructure. First and foremost, New Jersey is a major petroleum refining state—there are roughly a half dozen refineries in the state, mainly centered around Philadelphia and New York City. New Jersey refineries have an atmospheric crude oil distillation capacity of more than 500,000 barrels a day.
New Jersey also serves as a petroleum product distribution center for the Northeast, and houses part of New York Harbor, which has a bulk terminal storage of over 75 million barrels. New York Harbor also serves as a distribution hub for ethanol. Ethanol is required as an ingredient in gasoline sold in New Jersey.
Given the important role of energy in the state, it is unsurprising how many New Jersey businesses and workers have direct or indirect ties to energy industries. In fact, nearly a million workers and more than 50,000 establishments in New Jersey are heavily affected by oil and natural gas policies.
More than half of the state’s electricity is nuclear-based. And other alternative resources are emerging, such as A 350-megawatt offshore wind farm that has been approved and will consist of 96 wind turbines arranged in a rectangular grid 16 to 20 miles off the coast of Cape May and Atlantic counties
Given its energy demands and key roles in petroleum storage, refining, and distribution, New Jersey will continue to be a major player in regional and national energy issues for the foreseeable future.
People in New Jersey spend a lot of time on the road-energy needs to be accessible, affordable, and reliable for the state’s businesses and residents.
A lot of us here in New Jersey spend a good bit of time on the road commuting to New York City and Philadelphia. To us, energy costs and security are not an abstract issue-but an everyday challenge.
In tough times like these-and in better times too-we need to have access to reliable sources of affordable gasoline to get to work and run our businesses. But lawmakers in Washington and Trenton don’t seem to get it.
Instead of coming up with laws to increase domestic production and lower costs, federal and state lawmakers seem to spend what little time they dedicate to energy issues on making it harder and more expensive to locate, refine, sell, and use oil and natural gas.
We all know that we face a complex energy future that will include various energy sources. But to act as if oil and gas won’t be part of this mix-and the primary part of this mix for the foreseeable future-is to deny reality.
New Jersey residents, and folks around the country, need energy solutions both now and in the future. Policymakers need to take a hard look at what day-to-day life is like for regular people and decide what energy solutions they think are right. To the rest of us, the answers seem clear.