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.
Working sixty plus hours a week as a security guard close to retirement, our nation’s energy policies are very important to me. Living in West Virginia where our natural resources are our lifeline, I feel it is my civic duty to support our energy security. There is a coal plant near me in danger of being shut down, as many other plants already have been because our energy policies are off track. Groups like Energy Citizens help many people including myself get our voices heard and stay informed about the most recent energy issues. To be frank, the future of our country is in jeopardy if we do not take action to get our energy policies back on track.
With my retirement about six years away, I am more conscientious of how far my dollar can reach. Getting our energy policies back on the right track, bringing down energy costs and creating jobs is what we need our elected officials to support. We must all take our stance to stay informed and speak out about these energy killing and job killing policies that are bringing us backwards. I will continue to march forward with the pro-energy movement and supporting our domestic resources to get our nation and our energy policies where they need to be for America to be the strong independent nation it was intended to be.
I believe in our domestic energy production and I have seen the benefits of fracking around our own community. In fact, it is one of the main things keeping our economy afloat where I live in Wheeling, West Virginia. There are very few opportunities for good-paying jobs, without the fracking crews our economy would be disastrous. Keeping our environment safe while accessing our own domestic energy is how we will regain our energy security in the United States and how we will boost the economy. My husband and I are both retired and on a limited income. We worry about the increased costs for us, our family and everyone else that is struggling to get by. Hearing that the Keystone Pipeline was finally approved by Congress was great news to us. I only hope that our current administration does not stop the progress of this.
Excessive restrictions are holding us back from moving forward with our energy security. I believe in keeping our environment safe and I believe we can do this and access our domestic resources to help bring energy costs down. Being part of the Energy Citizens movement is how I stay informed and active on energy issues. One way I do this is by writing to my elected officials so they know where I stand on legislation regarding our energy issues. I hope that you will stand with me in this movement and raise your voice so that we can get our energy policies back on the right track.
Being a retired music teacher in West Virginia, I have seen our population dwindle little by little. The war against coal is killing our state and our dependence on foreign oil is killing our nation. Standing behind our energy independence and against the EPA’s regulations is the only way to move forward. We need to lower our energy costs and bring jobs back to West Virginia. I would like to see alternative uses for coal explored. The way we move our economy forward is with better energy policies that will help keep jobs that can boost our economy which will then open the doors for our infrastructure to be improved.
Energy Citizens has been a great way to stay informed about energy policies and legislation that may keep us from progressing. I want to see progress that will bring back more opportunities to West Virginia and fill our schools again. When I first moved to the area there were thirty schools in the district I taught in. When I retired in 2013 there were 10. This will number will continue to dwindle if we do not move forward encourage domestic energy production. Energy Citizens has allowed me to take action and let my voice be heard. I will continue to fight the good fight for our energy independence!
The news has been filled with stories over the past few years about the trouble Vladimir Putin is causing his neighbors. Russia’s vast energy resources give the country leverage over other European nations, and Putin is not shy to use this leverage to advance his agenda.
An editorial in the Houston Chronicle contends that America has a way to thwart Putin’s imperialistic ambitions, and that “way” is through American energy. Here’s what the editorial Exporting America has to say:
Exporting oil and gas poses one of the best opportunities to strengthen our allies in NATO and the European Union. The former Soviet Union provides more than 40 percent of Europe’s oil. Russia has nearly exclusive control over natural gas supplies to the Baltic nations, which the United States has a duty to protect under the NATO charter. This level of control leaves our allies vulnerable to price shocks and supply cuts at the whim of an expansionist oligarch. Yet U.S. crude is still restricted by a 1970s-era export ban and the federal government drags its feet on approving liquefied natural gas exports.
However, the wall is beginning to crumble. The House of Representatives and a Senate committee have already passed a bill to speed up the approval of LNG export facilities by the Department of Energy, but it still needs a vote on the Senate floor and President Obama’s signature. The United States is one of the top gas producers in the world, and yet our closest allies rely on a belligerent neighbor to keep from freezing. Hungary, Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Poland are actively lobbying the White House to speed up the export approval process, and we can’t let them down.
As the Chronicle points out, allowing American oil and natural gas to be sold more freely on the world stage will help our allies. It will also sustain the energy revolution here, as well as all the jobs the energy industry has created. It’s a win-win situation for our nation and for world stability. It’s time for Congress and the president to embrace the full potential of American energy production.
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.
The United States Energy Information Administration recently announced that growth in natural gas production from the Marcellus shale formation lying under parts of Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia has “lowered the spot price of natural gas at the TCO Appalachia trading point in recent years.”
“[The growth] coincides with infrastructure improvements in the region, as gathering lines and pipeline capacity expansions have helped flow more gas to market.” The EIA projects that natural gas production growth will continue, driving prices down early next year… Read more here.
Did you know that natural gas development supports over 2.8 million U.S. jobs? In the middle of an economic slowdown, natural gas production is creating jobs while other industries are shedding them. Thanks to shale gas, the number of jobs supported by this industry is set to grow substantially over the next few decades.
The Shale Gas Boom is Creating Jobs
Over the past five years, U.S. natural gas production has seen huge growth. This is largely due to the extraction of natural gas from shale rock. Using hydraulic fracturing, energy companies have found ways to recover gas that was once thought inaccessible. One result has been phenomenal job growth:
Many of these jobs are directly related to shale gas drilling – working on the rigs, transporting equipment, and monitoring the hydraulic fracturing process. But the employment supported by shale gas drilling goes far beyond these types of jobs.
These jobs depend on sound government policy. Pennsylvania, which welcomes shale gas development, has seen enormous job growth because of it. Its neighbor to the north, New York, has a ban on hydraulic fracturing, something that has caused it to lose out on energy jobs.
Energy Citizens need to encourage their elected officials to support policies that encourage shale gas development. From opposing hydraulic fracturing bans to allowing upgrades to our natural gas infrastructure, the actions in your state capitals and Washington, D.C., will play an important role in keeping the shale gas flowing.
Let your lawmakers know that supporting shale gas means supporting good-paying jobs for Americans!