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?

Let’s Talk Energy Infrastructure

Categorized in: Infrastructure, New England

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 New England. 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.

Energy costs in New England are too high. New energy infrastructure can change this. Expanding pipelines and investing in other infrastructure projects could create jobs and provide New England’s families with clean, affordable energy. Failing to do this could cost 167,600 jobs and lead New England households to pay $5.4 billion in higher energy bills.

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 New England and our nation.

The far-reaching impacts of saying no to energy infrastructure projects

Categorized in: Infrastructure, New England

The president of one of America’s largest labor organizations – the North America’s Building Trades Unions (NABTU), which represents 3 million members of 16 different U.S. and Canadian unions – is worried about opposition to energy infrastructure projects. Sean McGarvey fears that halting construction of critical pipeline and other infrastructure would not only slow our drive to energy independence, but also stymie economic growth.

In an interview given to Daily Energy Insider, related in the article – North America’s Building Trades Unions: Pipeline project delays hurt economic growth – McGarvey says:

When projects are postponed or canceled or don’t get approval to go forward, that has a huge ripple effect on the suppliers, manufacturers and construction workers. And it adds to the local population’s cost of energy because they don’t have that free flow that creates competition and brings energy costs down for local homeowners.

This is a problem wherever protests against pipeline and other infrastructure construction surface, but is especially dangerous in New England, where states lost the Northeast Energy Direct pipeline project earlier this year following intense political opposition.

A recent study released by the New England Coalition for Affordable Energy found that New England is at a greater risk of higher energy costs and price volatility than it was a year ago because of insufficient investment in energy infrastructure. They also believe the region could experience greater adverse economic consequences through 2020 than previously expected due to recent cancellations and delays of energy projects.

There’s no question that investing in pipelines and other energy infrastructure is good for our economy, creates jobs, and makes our energy supplies more reliable and more secure. The American Petroleum Institute estimates that building, maintaining, and updating oil and natural gas transportation and storage facilities over 20 years could support as many as 1.15 million jobs on an average annual basis, while contributing $120 billion to the U.S. economy per year and generating $27.5 billion in yearly government revenues.

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

Categorized in: New England, 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 New England 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 New England’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, New England Energy Citizens can make a difference.

What the experts say about LNG exports

Categorized in: Colorado, Florida, Illinois, LNG, Michigan, National, New England, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, Wisconsin

Energy Citizens has been a big supporter of increasing U.S. exports of liquefied natural gas (LNG) for some time now.  We think the potential economic and geopolitical benefits of selling more of our abundance of domestically produced natural gas abroad are huge.

We are far from alone in that belief.  Here are a few examples of policymakers, economic studies, and think tanks discussing the benefits of LNG exports:

“We welcome the prospect of U.S. LNG exports in the future since additional global supplies will benefit Europe and other strategic partners.”President Barack Obama, in a joint statement with European leaders

“An increase in U.S. exports of natural gas, and the resulting price changes, would have a number of mostly beneficial effects on natural gas producers, employment, U.S. geopolitical security, and the environment.”White House Council of Economic Advisers

“The U.S. will be a reliable, market-based supplier to global markets, and that’s not only good for our energy security, it’s good for the energy security of our partners and allies around the world.”Robin Dunnigan, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Energy Diplomacy, U.S. State Department

“The president has full and unquestioned authority to approve energy exports by executive action without Congress.  The Natural Gas Act says the Department of Energy makes the decision on export permit approvals, and the law presumes exports are in the public interest.  The administration can and should move faster on approving export permits.”Former Secretaries of Energy Bill Richardson and Spencer Abraham

“…the U.S. was projected to gain net economic benefits from allowing LNG exports. Moreover, for every one of the market scenarios examined, net economic benefits increased as the level of LNG exports increased.”Department of Energy-commissioned study, 2012

“The overall macroeconomic impacts of higher LNG exports are marginally positive, a result that is robust to alternative assumptions for the U.S. natural gas market.”Department of Energy-commissioned study, 2015

“Natural gas-producing states could see employment gains as high as 60,000 to 155,000 jobs; and large manufacturing states, such as California and Ohio, will see employment gains upwards of 30,000 to 38,000 jobs in 2035.”ICF International

“Expanded demand for U.S. natural gas internationally will be a net positive, resulting in greater U.S. natural gas production, increased investment, enhanced GDP growth, rising incomes, and more jobs.”Small Business Entrepreneurship Council

“For the United States, LNG exports offer an opportunity to produce and sell more gas without paying more at home.  Growth of US LNG exports will benefits the US economy and are unlikely to affect the price of natural gas in the United States.”Atlantic Council

This is a great opportunity for U.S. economic growth, and an important issue for Energy Citizens to mention in their contacts with elected officials, who can push through approval of LNG export projects.


New Hampshire infrastructure fix a good model for all of New England

Categorized in: Infrastructure, New England

The need for investment in new energy infrastructure in New Hampshire – specifically natural gas pipelines – was recently highlighted by an op-ed in the Union Leader. In his op-ed, American Council of Engineering Companies of New Hampshire director Alex Koutroubas’ call for politicians to let the “smart, hard-working, experienced employees of the energy sector go to work for you” could apply to any state in our region.

Take a minute to look over this editorial; Infrastructure investments would bring NH cheaper, safer, cleaner power. Koutroubas makes some excellent points, among them the safety of pipelines, their power to create high-paying union jobs, and the environmental benefits we receive when pipelines are available to supply consumers and power generators with clean burning natural gas.

New England’s energy infrastructure deficiencies can be solved. As Koutroubas writes, “We have the best minds in the business ready to fix this problem. We have energy sector workers with an impeccable record for safety ready to fix this problem.”

New England Energy Citizens need to make sure our elected officials know we want policies that will allow private sector companies to invest in the infrastructure updates that will benefit us all.


Catching up with the competition on LNG exports

Categorized in: Colorado, Florida, Illinois, LNG, Michigan, National, New England, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, Wisconsin

America’s wealth of natural gas, produced by hydraulic fracturing and other high-tech oil and gas industry innovations, presents us with a tremendous global export opportunity in the liquefied natural gas (LNG) market. But as this recent Forbes article – U.S. Liquefied Natural Gas Exports Reach A New Market And Continue To Climb In 2016 – points out, our success in this lucrative economic sector is anything but assured.

Yes, the just completed Panama Canal expansion could help more easily transport U.S. LNG to foreign markets. But we still have to overcome political challenges here at home that hold back crucial approvals of pending export terminal projects. As Forbes puts it:

Yet, our LNG exporters, and those policymakers that critically want to support them, can never relax. The global LNG race is intensifying every day, with market growth booming post-2017, right when our projects are primed to take off. As we have entire groups of Americans ill-advisedly celebrating blocked U.S. LNG export projects (here), more shady suppliers [such as Iran or Russia] are also celebrating the decreased competition from such an attractive supplier like the U.S.

Increasing exports of American-made LNG could create as many as 450,000 new jobs by 2035, according to an ICF International study.  Energy Citizens need to make it clear to our political leaders that we want timely approval on a process that will make those exports – and those jobs – a reality.

Make the Renewable Fuel Standard a campaign talking point

Categorized in: Florida, Illinois, Michigan, National, New England, Ohio, Pennsylvania, RFS, Texas, Virginia, Wisconsin

The Houston Chronicle recently ran an editorial that urges the next administration and Congress to take a hard look at what the newspaper calls the “ethanol happy hour.” In Blended fuels: The fuel standard has created unintended consequences and is ripe for overhaul Chronicle editors write that one thing has gone unnoticed – the blend wall:

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.


Why the U.S. Needs Expanded LNG Exports

Categorized in: Colorado, Illinois, LNG, Michigan, National, New England, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, Wisconsin

Thanks to hydraulic fracturing, the U.S. is the world leader in natural gas production. If we want to maintain this title, however, we need the right federal energy policies. One of the most important things that Congress could do is overhaul our outdated laws governing liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports.

If U.S. natural gas had easier access to international markets, it could be a huge boost to production here. That increased production means more jobs and greater economic growth. An ICF International report on LNG exports concluded that “the net effects on U.S. employment from LNG exports are projected to be positive with average net job growth of 73,100 to 452,300 between 2016 and 2035, including all economic multiplier effects.” That report went on to say, “The net effect on annual U.S. GDP of LNG exports is expected to be positive at about $15.6 to $73.6 billion annually between 2016 and 2035.”

Members of Congress recognize this problem. Both the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate are considering provisions to streamline LNG exports. However, legislation needs to be finalized before Congress adjourns for the year. Energy Citizens need to contact our members of Congress and tell them that we don’t want them to forget about LNG reform.

If Congress fails to act, it could stifle our energy industry and hurt working families across the U.S. We can’t afford to let this happen.

What Congress must do this fall.

Categorized in: Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, National, New England, Ohio, Pennsylvania, RFS, Texas, Virginia, Wisconsin

Members of Congress are back to work – let’s make sure they work to fix the ethanol mandate.

Tell Congress to pass H.R. 5180!
Why is it so important to pass H.R. 5180?

  • 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.

Send a quick e-mail today in support of H.R. 5180!