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.
There’s no shortage of energy resources available to New Mexico. In fact, almost every imaginable resource is in play—which also means every decision in Washington affects what happens here. Traditionally, New Mexico is a leading U.S. producer of oil and natural gas:
New Mexico typically produces enough oil in a day to fuel 2 million cars and heat 1 million homes. The state has 3 oil refineries and several pipelines connecting the refineries to in-state and regional markets.
New Mexico’s natural gas comes from some of the largest natural gas fields in the nation, which provide close to 10% of U.S. natural gas production. In recent years, natural gas output has increased with improved technology and the ability to access coalbed methane, unconventional natural gas from coal seams.
The oil and natural gas industry fuels New Mexico’s economy, as the industry provides more than $2.5 billion in funding each year for New Mexico schools, public facilities, and roads. It is also the largest civilian employer—23,000 New Mexicans work in jobs related to oil and natural gas.
But New Mexico also produces substantial amounts of coal, and its coal-fired power plants supply over 80% of the state’s generated electricity. And New Mexico also has potential for several renewable energy resources:
New Mexico’s deserts have great potential to provide solar energy, and a proposed solar thermal power plant is scheduled to be completed by the summer of 2011. The state produces a small amount of energy from wind resources. And New Mexico’s mountain regions hold ample geothermal power potential.
New Mexico’s rich natural resources provide vital domestic energy that is critical for the state’s economy and the nation’s energy security. Because of this abundance of resources, it is critical that Energy Citizens stay engaged with issues related to energy policy, as most energy discussions are relevant to New Mexico in some way.
On September 8, Energy Citizens at the New Mexico RALLY FOR JOBS made it clear to Washington: “Now is not the time to lose any more jobs-and we’re not going to take it anymore!”
That passion echoed throughout the McGee Park Convention Center as hundreds of fervent energy advocates united in Farmington to oppose unreasonable government regulations and tax increases on the energy industry.
It was clear that no one in the building was going to take it anymore. The importance of energy to the lifestyle and economy of New Mexico is simply too great. State Representative Tom Taylor, whose district has unemployment figures approaching ten percent, reminded policymakers that “the economic base of San Juan County is energy. We have to figure out a way to revitalize that energy and maintain the economic base of our community.”
If observers doubted the crowd’s intensity, Representative James Strickler shared some startling numbers about New Mexico’s energy industry that should resonate with skeptics. As an energy worker himself, he explained that the local industry has lost 4,900 jobs. New Mexico simply can’t afford setbacks like that, especially if they are triggered by extreme government policies.
Energy issues are critical to New Mexico citizens from Farmington to Las Cruces and Albuquerque to Santa Fe-and in ways we might overlook, as Dr. James Henderson explained: “People think only of the obvious uses of oil and gas. But take the by-products of oil away and our world would come to a sudden and catastrophic halt.” Given the importance of oil and natural gas to every industry, every job, every family in New Mexico, our patience is wearing thin.
The rally in New Mexico may be over, but the RALLY FOR JOBS isn’t finished yet. Be sure to participate in the National Virtual Rally for Jobs on September 22. Join your fellow Energy Citizens online to tell Congress that you won’t take it anymore, either.
Energy Citizens once again rallied for jobs in Illinois and New Mexico on September 8. The rallies were separated by more than 1,000 miles, but supporters stood together on jobs and energy.
All told, more than 1,500 people in the two states cheered loudly for speakers who called for government action that supports job growth and energy production.
In New Mexico, speaker Marita Noon of the Citizens Alliance for Responsible Energy (CARE) told hundreds of energy advocates that any candidate who supports regulations that increase energy costs “does not deserve our vote.” New Mexico advocates also signed a joint letter calling on their Congress members to “Vote for jobs, not taxes!” (see photo)
In Illinois, speakers voiced similar sentiments. Channahon Mayor Joe Cook noted that every one energy job produces another 2.5 jobs in the community. “Now is not the time for job-killing new taxes. Now is not the time for job-killing new regulations,” said Cook.
The Illinois RALLY FOR JOBS wrapped up with an impassioned speech from legendary NFL player and coach Mike Ditka, who called working men and women “the staple of America.” Ditka said that America’s challenges must be addressed with “common sense” and “give and take.”
To be sure, this spirit of reason is essential to developing positive energy policies. But we should also remember the words of speaker Bill Hite who told the Illinois audience, “Your politicians — every one of them — need a push!”
All Energy Citizens will have a chance to give our Members of Congress a push during the VIRTUAL RALLY FOR JOBS. We will kick off our online “march on Washington” next week, culminating in a day of nationwide action in support of American energy and jobs on September 22. Stay tuned for more information, coming soon…
Energy advocates at the New Mexico RALLY FOR JOBS told Washington: “Now is not the time to lose any more jobs — and we’re not going to take it anymore!”
Hundreds of energy advocates gathered in Farmington to oppose government regulations on the energy industry.
Speakers emphasized the importance of energy to the lifestyle and economy of New Mexico. State Representative Tom Taylor said, “The economic base of San Juan County is energy. We have to figure out a way to revitalize that energy and maintain the economic base of our community.”
Representative James Strickler shared some startling numbers about New Mexico’s energy industry. As an energy worker himself, he explained that the local industry has lost 4,900 jobs. “The problem that we’re having is over-regulation, and the pit rule is a good example,” he said. “Hopefully we’ll elect new policy-makers that will look at these rules … maybe make them better and get the jobs going again.”
Dr. James Henderson underscored the importance of oil and natural gas to the American way of life. He said, “People think only of the obvious uses of oil and gas. But take the by-products of oil away and our world would come to a sudden and catastrophic halt.“
The message of energy workers is spreading across the nation — and you can be part of it. Be sure to mark your calendars for the Virtual RALLY FOR JOBS on September 22. It’s a chance for all of us to virtually “gather together” to send a very clear message to Congress: We are all Energy Citizens and energy is what makes America great!
SHARE YOUR STORY! At the rally, visit the Action Center to share your story. Learn more.
Dynamic guest speakers
Giveaways and prizes
Free food for all!
We’re building a movement.
In July, 12,000 people rallied for jobs at the Louisiana Rally for Economic Survival. Let’s build on their success! In September, join Energy Citizens in Texas, Ohio, Illinois, Colorado, and New Mexico.
Getting to New Mexico’s rich supply of natural gas isn’t always easy-but opponents of hydraulic fracturing want to make it even harder.
Underneath New Mexico’s vast desert landscape lie some of the largest fields of natural gas in the country. But getting to that gas isn’t always easy-and now new technology for harnessing those resources is being delayed by Washington politics.
In 1967, an Atomic Energy Commission program called Operation “Gasbuggy” used an underground nuclear bomb to try to stimulate the release of natural gas in New Mexico. The blast was termed a “bust,” fracturing the rock much less than they had hoped.
Today’s methods are more efficient, much safer, and free up much more energy. Hydraulic fracturing long ago replaced explosive stimulation of natural gas wells, and now plays a critical role in New Mexico’s energy supply.
Hydraulic fracturing uses water pressure to create fissures in deep underground shale formations that allow oil and natural gas to flow. Recent innovations have unlocked abundant new supplies of natural gas and are changing the face of New Mexico’s energy future.
Bob Gallagher of the New Mexico Oil and Gas Association told the Sante Fe New Mexican that there hasn’t been one case of contamination of drinking water supplies from oil and gas production and none proven from hydraulic fracturing.