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No Need for Federal Fracking Rules

The Department of the Interior is proposing strict new rules for fracking on federal land. As Kathleen Sgamma of the Western Energy Alliance explains, states, not the federal government, are at the forefront of fracking regulation. That’s why there is no need for these new federal rules: 

Colorado has completed multiple rounds of rule-making over more than a decade, with increasing intensity in recent years. Wyoming is in a race to the top with Colorado in claiming the mantle of the state with the most stringent regulations. North Dakota, Texas, and in fact all western states with sizeable oil and natural gas development had updated their rules well before the federal government jumped in. In fact, 99.97 percent of the permits to drill approved last year by the Interior Department were in states with recently updated fracking regulations, with just one well in a state currently updating its rules…

Despite the characterization from the federal government, there is simply no regulatory gap. States have an exemplary safety record, as there is not one example of the fracking process resulting in the contamination of underground drinking water. But don’t take my word for it; all Interior and Energy secretaries and EPA administrators under President Barack Obama have vouched for the safety of fracking.

If these regulations are enacted, it could discourage energy production on federal land. That would hurt our economy and our energy security. The Interior Department should do the right thing and withdraw these rules. It should let the experts – the states – handle fracking regulation.

Lets Thank Shale for New Jobs in America!

Recent news indicates that more Americans are being put to work after years of sluggish job growth. Writing in the Investor’s Business Daily, Stephen Moore and Kathleen Hartnett White discuss how American energy production should get much of the credit for this job growth:

“The shale oil and gas revolution is behind the fall in gasoline and electricity prices, which in turn is unleashing a comeback in many industries. Consider the U.S. manufacturing boom, which can be seen in the revival of factories selling everything from plastics, cars and chemicals to potato and micro chips.

“The turnaround has little to do with government programs or subsidies. A major springboard is the lowest-in-the-world energy prices found here in America.

Fracking has unleashed an energy bounty in the United States. That has helped consumers, workers, and businesses throughout the nation. It’s vital that Energy Citizens continue fighting for policies that ensure the shale revolution continues going strong.

EPA chief McCarthy right on Keystone XL, but doesn't go far enough

You might have seen recent news reports of EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy’s statement that the Keystone XL pipeline would not – as critics have long avowed – be a “disaster for the climate.”

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce agreed with her comments, but didn’t think she went as far as she could have on that line of thought.  They pointed out the evidence that shows that Keystone XL, in addition to having no significant impact on the environment, is the best alternative to transporting North American crude oil.

Their argument makes sense.  As Chamber research shows, pipelines are one of the safest and cleanest ways to transport oil and natural gas.

Energy Citizens appreciates Administrator McCarthy’s statement about Keystone XL.  And, like the Chamber, we hope that President Obama will listen to her, take a hard look at the facts, and give this pipeline the approval it deserves.

Using Energy to Stand Up to Russia

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.

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