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Energy Citizens Score a Victory on Cove Point

Our nation is now one step closer to becoming a global energy superpower.

In late September, federal regulators decided to allow liquefied natural gas (LNG) to be exported from Maryland’s Cove Point facility. Originally built to import LNG, Cove Point now has the green light to be refurbished and made export-capable. 

Energy Citizens like you played a big role in making this happen. You sent letters and e-mails to decision makers, you testified at hearings, and you attended events in support of Cove Point. By making your voices heard, you helped set the stage for America to open new markets for our energy.

Even though Cove Point’s application was approved, the LNG export approval process in America is still broken. It takes far too long for sites to receive permission to sell our nation’s abundant natural gas to our allies in other nations. Red tape is tying up our energy economy, threatening to slow down American oil and gas production.

While we celebrate the singular victory at Cove Point, we need to continue our efforts to modernize the LNG export process more broadly.

Abandoning Their Post: EPA Shirks RFS Responsibility

The EPA was already almost one-year late delivering its 2014 Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) biofuel mandates. However, last week the EPA announced it wouldn’t be doing its job at all. They’re punting until 2015.

That means there will be no revised directive from the EPA telling refiners how much ethanol and other biofuel content they are required to blend into our fuel supply.

Taking a year off on this issue is inexcusable. The RFS has already been shown to be a failed policy that negatively impacts drivers, the environment, and our food supply. Americans don’t want it. Those who are firmly planted in the Ethanol lobby do.

The jury’s been in on this one for a while now. It’s time for the EPA to stand up to Ethanol interests and admit that the RFS simply does not work. The process of repealing or drastically revising the standards is long overdue.

Here are just a few of the things that have lately been written about the RFS:

“Ethanol production has diverted more than 40 percent of the U.S. corn crop from food to fuel, leading to a 25 percent increase in the consumer price index for food since 2005. Continuing to implement the Renewable Fuel Standard could lead to fuel rationing and supply shortages that could drive up gasoline costs by 30 percent and diesel costs by 300 percent, according to a NERA Economic Consulting study.”
John Griffin, Executive Director, Associated Petroleum Industries of Michigan

“Instead of attempting to reform the renewable standard, Congress should repeal it to protect American consumers from higher fuel and food costs.”
Kenneth A. Schwarz, retired petroleum exploration geologist

“The rule is already a year overdue and the administration has no intention of finalizing this year's requirements before the year ends. It is unacceptable to expect refiners to provide the fuels Americans need with so much regulatory uncertainty. This is an example of government at its worst.

“The Renewable Fuel Standard was flawed from the beginning, horribly mismanaged, and is now broken. The only real solution is for Congress to scrap the program and let consumers, not the federal government, choose the best fuel to put in their tanks. Failure to repeal could put millions of motorists at risk of higher fuel costs, damaged engines, and costly repairs.”
Jack Gerard, President and CEO, American Petroleum Institute

“Today's announcement is further evidence that Congress must reform our badly broken food-to-fuel policies. By failing to reduce the amount of corn ethanol blended into gasoline, the Obama administration today missed an opportunity to immediately reduce greenhouse gas emissions”
Mike Lavender, policy analyst, Environmental Working Group

The EPA should be embarrassed about its delays and inaction. It’s time to repeal this broken law. The list of policy negatives vastly outweighs any potential positives. The EPA and legislators should recognize this and scrap the RFS.

Lift the crude oil export ban for more jobs, smaller trade deficit

Over the last few years the annual U.S. trade deficit has been huge, with America spending as much as $700 billion more on goods and services from foreign countries than on those made here at home. The good news is that U.S. refined petroleum product exports are helping to bring that deficit down. The even better news is that lifting the ban on crude oil exports, specifically, can lower the trade deficit even more.

The United States must maintain a healthy balance of trade. Running up massive trade deficits can make us too dependent on foreign capital and lead to the exodus of American jobs to other countries. Conversely, an optimal trade balance infuses our economy with cash and keeps U.S. industries humming.

Record production levels of high-quality crude oil from U.S. shale formations are testing the limits of our country’s aging energy infrastructure. Our refineries are struggling to hand the volume of American crude oil. If allowed to export, this infrastructure bottleneck can be eased. Lifting the decades-old ban on crude exports will expand our economy, create jobs, and reduce consumer costs as well, all the while decreasing the U.S. trade deficit. Look at the benefits we stand to gain from retiring the crude export ban:

  • Up to 300,000 jobs
  • A $22 billion reduction by 2020 in the U.S. trade deficit
  • A $70 billion increase in investment
  • Up to a $38 billion expansion in U.S. GDP
  • As much as $5.8 billion in reduced fuel costs for consumers

This is not some pipe dream. It is a solid, widely accepted appraisal of what crude oil exports could do for American families, workers, and businesses. It is time to unleash the full power of American energy exports by lifting outdated restrictions on the export of U.S. crude.

The current constraints on U.S. crude oil exports were set in the 1970s. In terms of their relevance to today’s energy supply and demand, it might as well have been the 1870s. We need to move past this archaic, economy-stifling policy. It is time to lift the ban. The results—in American jobs, energy, and economic output—could be spectacular.

American Workers Need the Keystone XL Pipeline

President Obama continues to delay the approval of the Keystone XL Pipeline, even after six long years. As columnist Michael Whately points out, those hurt most by this delay are America’s blue collar workers:

September 19th [marked] the sixth anniversary of when TransCanada first applied for a presidential permit to build the Keystone XL Pipeline. Hurt the most are the people whose job it is to build and operate the pipeline.

The Keystone Pipeline or Keystone XL, as it’s commonly known, would put 9,000 laborers to work and support over 42,100 jobs on a project designed to strengthen America’s energy independence as well as provide a way to move Bakken Shale oil from North Dakota to refineries located on the Gulf Coast.

Opponents of the pipeline contend that these jobs would be temporary. A laborer quoted in the op-ed points out that this is a bogus charge against the pipeline: “I would also like to note that much has been brought up about the temporary jobs...for 28 years, every job I have had has been a temporary job."

Check out the rest of the op-ed for more reasons why building the Keystone XL Pipeline would benefit the working men and women of America. Six years is long enough – it’s time to build!

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