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Good News for Our Energy Security

Energy independence, here we come!

Fuel Fix blog reports that “the United States produced enough energy to satisfy 84 percent of its needs in 2013, a rapid climb from its historic low in 2005…”

What’s behind this surge in energy production?

“[The Energy Information Administration] attributed the nation’s rising energy security largely to the increased production of oil and natural gas, which has been fueled by the domestic shale boom. The rise of new drilling and production technology, namely hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling, has allowed companies to tap more reservoirs deeply buried in dense rock formations.”

This oil and natural gas production has dramatically reduced our reliance on other nations for the fuel we need. In fact, we are producing so much that we are now able to export oil and natural gas. If the government removes its restrictions on energy exports, we can begin reducing other nations’ reliance on unfriendly energy suppliers like Russia.

The shale revolution has done great things for America. It’s strengthened our energy security. It’s created jobs. Now it’s time to use our resources to do great things for the world.

Ethanol Mandate Hurting Shrimpers, Gulf of Mexico

The problems with the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) are clear: higher food prices, damage to engines, and increased costs to consumers. Now Louisiana shrimpers are finding out just how damaging this policy is for their livelihoods (and the Gulf of Mexico’s ecosystem):

“Louisiana's spring shrimp season is officially open, but what should be a time to celebrate the annual kickoff of a key driver of the coastal economy is now overshadowed by a looming threat to the Gulf of Mexico's fragile ecosystem. The ‘dead zone’ -- a Connecticut-sized area of low oxygen water that kills off marine life -- continues to grow in size due to U.S. ethanol policy and is threatening this year's harvest and the coastal economy.”

Why does the ethanol policy cause this?

“The Renewable Fuel Standard continues to require that increasing amounts of biofuels be blended into the nation's gasoline supply. As more than 80 percent of the mandate continues to be met by corn ethanol, farms across the Midwest have converted an additional 13.5 million acres to grow corn -- a particularly resource-intensive crop. For instance, while corn was planted on 23 percent of U.S. cropland in 2009, it received 40 percent of the fertilizer used across the nation. As the corn crop expands to meet the requirements of the RFS, it demands a greater amount of fertilizer, which then runs off into the Mississippi River and ultimately makes its way into the Gulf of Mexico. The end result is catastrophic.”

Check out the rest of the article to see just how the RFS is harming the Gulf of Mexico’s ecosystem and those who rely on it to make a living. The only solution to this problem is for Congress to repeal the RFS. 

BOEM Takes First Step Toward Offshore Oil and Gas Exploration

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management announced on July 18 that oil and natural gas producers could apply for permits to conduct seismic testing off the south- and mid-Atlantic coast. Meaning the more than 30-year old ban on offshore energy production in those regions could be coming to an end.

The American Petroleum Institute welcomed the decision, but also urged that sound science be used in determining the restrictions that will be placed on the test procedures. API Upstream Director Erik Milito said:

“Offshore energy exploration and production in the Atlantic could bring new jobs and higher revenues to states and local communities, while adding to our country’s capabilities as an energy superpower. Now that the decision to issue permits has been made, we urge the administration to move quickly so that surveying operations can begin next spring.

“We remain concerned by the lack of scientific support for certain requirements the administration wants to impose on seismic surveys in the Atlantic. Operators already take great care to protect wildlife, and the best science and decades of experience prove that there is no danger to marine mammal populations.

“Restrictions that have no scientific basis can easily discourage exploration, private investment and job creation. Regulators should rely only on sound science when setting permit requirements.”

A 2013 study by Quest Offshore found that developing Atlantic OCS oil and natural gas resources could create 280,000 jobs, add $23.5 billion annually to the U.S. economy, and generate $51 billion in cumulative government revenue.

If you would like more information on offshore production and seismic testing, check out API’s website.

Energy Citizens Speak Out: August 2014

Energy Citizens have actively been speaking out about important energy issues across the country. Check out a few of the most recent letters to the editor that have been published in their local papers:

The Times Leader – Don’t Chase Natural Gas Industry Out of PA with Severance Tax

“Our state is lucky to have the energy activity that we have. Let’s not tax it to death.

Legislators need to reject calls to impose a severance tax on the shale gas operators who are creating so many jobs here.

Proponents of this severance tax claim that the tax won’t have any big effect on shale gas drilling here. They seem to think that businesses don’t respond to taxes and regulation. They should look at New York. That state has done everything possible to stop shale gas drilling. Because of the hostile environment, New York hasn’t experienced the type of job creation, economic growth and new government revenue that we’ve seen in Pennsylvania.”

- Maria Gillette, Carbondale, PA

Fredericksburg News

“In Virginia, the vast majority of horizontally drilled wells use only nitrogen for fracturing. Nitrogen is an inert, non-greenhouse gas that comprises 78 percent of the air we breathe. It's the opposite of a ‘toxin.’

Gas formations that aren't well suited for nitrogen-only fracturing use a combination of water, nitrogen, sand and about 2 percent additives. Additives include household and food products like guar gum (a gelling agent used in ice cream), surfactant (a friction reducer found in toothpaste), biocide (a bacteria-control substance used in municipal water treatment), sodium chloride (table salt), isopropanol (a viscosity booster found in deodorant) and citric acid (lemon juice)…”

- Curt Teaster, Stafford, VA

The Cap Times

“The reality is that, thanks to technology that brought us hydraulic fracturing, places right here at home such as North Dakota are able to produce the energy we need to power our nation’s economy. This is a very good thing until you realize that we need to have infrastructure to keep up with rapidly increasing production of resources such as oil and natural gas. That is the reason for the Enbridge expansion project — to increase the pipeline’s capacity to transport all of the new oil coming from the Bakken as well as Canada.

The Enbridge pipeline expansion is a smart strategy that is necessary to keep the American economy growing and recovering. I fully support this project.”

- Richard Tooley, Marshall, WI

Let friends and neighbors know about the energy issues going on in your community. Write a letter to the editor today! Email your Energy Citizens coordinator at renee@energycitizens.org to learn more.

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