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.
New evidence shows that fracking has played a big role in creating new jobs over the past decade:
A boom in oil and gas drilling fueled by hydraulic-fracturing technology added about 725,000 jobs in the U.S. between 2005 and 2012, blunting the impact of the financial crisis, according to a study released on Friday.
Researchers conducting the National Bureau of Economic Research study analyzed data from more than 3,000 counties and determined that within 100 miles of new production, $1 million of extracted oil and gas generated $243,000 in wages, $117,000 in royalties and 2.49 jobs.
The latest fight over hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, at the federal level involves the Environmental Protection Agency’s Science Advisory Board (SAB). This board is reviewing the EPA’s draft report, “Assessment of Potential Impacts of Hydraulic Fracturing for Oil and Gas on Drinking Water Resources,” that concluded what every Energy Citizen knows – fracking is safe. There is an effort to discredit the solid science behind this report, and it’s vital that Energy Citizens take action to counter these activities.
The effects of the surge in American oil and gas development are not limited to the areas surrounding new production. The shale revolution is supporting jobs throughout the nation. The economic effects from fracking are huge. Let’s make sure that policies at the federal, state, and local levels do not hinder American energy production and the jobs it is creating.
Just consider how crude oil exports could boost our national security. Two experts in this field— a former Secretary of Defense and CIA Director, Leon Panetta, and a former National Security Advisor, Stephen Hadley—wrote an insightful op-ed for the Wall Street Journal that explains the global implications of lifting the crude oil export ban.
They use the example of Russia to illustrate their point:
Fourteen NATO countries buy 15% or more of their oil from Russia, with several countries in Eastern and Central Europe exceeding 50%. Russia is the sole or predominant source of natural gas for several European countries including Finland, Slovakia, Bulgaria, and the Baltic states. Europe as a whole relies on Russia for more than a quarter of its natural gas. This situation leaves Europe vulnerable to Kremlin coercion.
What’s their solution? “The U.S. can provide friends and allies with a stable alternative to threats of supply disruption. This is a strategic imperative as well as a matter of economic self-interest.”
Read the rest of their op-ed to get an even better picture of how our global leadership will be enhanced by eliminating the oil export ban. It’s time for Congress to lift the ban.
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.
South Carolina Rep. Jeff Duncan made it clear to his fellow members of the House Natural Resources Committee that he supports seismic testing to assess offshore energy reserves, as well as the jobs and economic stimulus offshore oil and natural gas production would send our way. He referenced studies that estimate offshore drilling would create 7,000 new South Carolina jobs and have an economic impact in excess of $2 billion.
In a telephone interview, Rep. Duncan said:
I support moving forward with seismic testing. You’ve got to do the seismic work out there to see what kind of recoverable resources may or may not be there. The data they have shows there are recoverable resources, but it was done with 30-year-old technology 30 years ago. Now, we have 21st century 3D and 4D technology that can actually pinpoint and show volume and other things. So, I support (seismic testing off the coast ).
Another South Carolinian also urged the committee to endorse seismic testing. James Knapp, a professor from the University of South Carolina’s Department of Earth and Ocean Sciences, told House members that new, more accurate seismic technology will show us that current oil and natural gas estimates are too low. He likened seismic studies to medical x-rays and scans, calling them the, “the single most important tool for investigating the oil and gas potential of the subsurface.”
The Obama administration will begin developing a new offshore leasing plan for 2017-2022. Their current plan does not allow offshore production in the Atlantic OCS. Energy experts believe seismic testing is essential to future oil development in the region .
Do not let ethanol special interests force us to put more ethanol in our fuel supply than our vehicles can stand!
This is a pivotal moment in the fight against the RFS. Agri-business and Ethanol special interest groups are pulling out all the stops to make the EPA reverse their proposed ethanol reductions.
We must tell the EPA that there is another side to this story – American drivers, consumers, workers, and businesses do not want harmful amounts of ethanol forced into our fuel supply! If RFS mandates continue we could see:
• U.S. GDP decrease by $770 billion • American workers lose $580 billion in take home • Damage to our vehicles and small engines