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.

Let’s Talk Energy Infrastructure


Categorized in: Infrastructure, Ohio

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 Ohio. 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.

Ohio has a lot to gain from new energy infrastructure. The Utica Shale has the potential to play an important role in the state’s economy for generations. If we can’t move the oil and gas produced here, though, then the game-changing potential of the shale industry goes away.

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 Ohio and our nation.

Ohio Could Benefit from LNG Export Reform


Categorized in: LNG, Ohio

America’s export policies should be designed to benefit Americans. That is why it is so important that Congress complete work on streamlining the export process for liquefied natural gas (LNG). With today’s cumbersome rules and regulations, U.S. natural gas exports are needlessly being slowed down. That hurts American companies and Ohio’s working families. It’s time for this to change.

Congress has already started working toward updating the rules governing LNG exports, and with strong bipartisan support. However, there is a danger that members of Congress could leave town for the year before completing work on this issue. Energy Citizens need to make sure this doesn’t happen.

Given the Utica Shale industry that exists here, Ohio would be one of the top states in the nation to benefit from more LNG exports. One study estimates that by 2035, over 30,000 new jobs could be supported by these exports, with $5.1 billion in income gains here.

While there are many important issues for Congress to consider before adjourning, LNG export reform should be a top priority. Let your members of Congress know that you want them to streamline the rules that are making it so difficult for U.S. companies to compete overseas.

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


Categorized in: Ohio, 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 Ohio 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 population of oil and natural gas resources located here in the U.S.
  • Increased energy infrastructure.

These are all issues that are critical to Ohio’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, Ohio 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.

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Being Real on Energy


Categorized in: Ohio, Vote4Energy

It’s an election year, so we are hearing a lot of policy proposals from candidates running for office. This year, it’s vital that we pay close attention to what they are saying about energy.

In the Youngstown Vindicator, the American Petroleum Institute’s Jack Gerard lays out some facts about America’s energy future. As he points out, any viable energy plan must involve oil and natural gas:

Relying solely on renewables like wind and solar is not realistic. According to the federal Energy Information Administration, oil and natural gas will still supply 60 percent of U.S. energy needs in 2040 even under optimistic scenarios for renewable energy growth.

Attempts to circumvent this reality inevitably involve meddling with the free market – usually a costly and disruptive proposition for consumers.

Energy Citizens need to ask the men and women asking for our votes to have a realistic conversation about energy. They cannot simply give us hollow platitudes that don’t add up in the real world. If they are talking about energy, then they need to be talking about what they will do to support oil and gas development in Ohio and around the nation.

It’s up to us to raise this issue with the candidates. Then we have to vote for energy in November.

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.

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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.