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North Dakota now produces more oil than Louisiana

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Categorized in: Domestic Oil, Louisiana

The Wall Street Journal recently reported that North Dakota has passed Oklahoma and Louisiana to become the 4th-largest oil producer in America. While people in other states watch their unemployment benefits run out and face foreclosure, North Dakota employers are begging for workers and homebuilders can’t keep up with the demand.

The success of North Dakota’s oil industry is a textbook example of domestic energy producers using modern technologies to meet demand and grow our economy.

The figures on North Dakota’s oil boom are impressive: 

  • Oil production doubled in three years, to 80 million barrels in 2009.
  • North Dakota added 21,300 jobs between 2005 and 2010-while the nation lost 4.51 million jobs.
  • The state’s unemployment rate was 4.3% in December 2009, five points below the national average.
  • State government projects a budget surplus for 2010.

This boom has been made possible by private-sector companies investing in America and using innovative technologies to tap domestic energy reserves. Drilling here isn’t cheap – a North Dakota well costs about $1 million more than the national average – but U.S. companies are willing to invest their capital to increase production and return value to their shareholders.

This is what the U.S. energy industry is about: Private companies using their investors’ money to fuel our nation and grow our economy. People who want to inhibit domestic energy production – like those calling for a moratorium on offshore drilling or higher industry taxes – aren’t seeing the big picture.

North Dakota energy companies have an excellent safety record and are very respectful of the environment. Handcuffing these companies with anti-competitive regulations or excessive tax burdens simply doesn’t make sense. We should all become Energy Citizens – learning about energy issues, participating in energy discussions, and letting those in Congress know how important energy production is to our families.


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New York Harbor is one of the largest petroleum hubs

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Categorized in: Domestic Oil, New York

With total state energy consumption among the highest in the nation, the New York economy needs reliable, affordable energy to fuel jobs and economic growth. 

If Wall Street is the beating heart of American finance, New York Harbor-with a petroleum bulk terminal storage capacity of over 75 million barrels-is a major hub in the nation’s energy circulatory system.  And for this system to keep our nation healthy and functioning, it needs reliable, affordable energy sources.

Even though New Yorkers use less than many others in terms of per capita energy consumption, as a whole, the state uses more than most.  It takes a lot of energy to fuel such a large and dynamic economy.

And this is an issue that affects more than just New Yorkers.  While every state’s economy is important, some state economies-like New York’s-have a larger regional or national impact.

A successful New York economy has a direct and significant impact on Connecticut and New Jersey, as well as the Northeast as a whole.  And, with the financial capital of the nation (and the world) located in New York City, the Empire State’s financial fortunes can affect the entire country and beyond.

Like everywhere else, these financial fortunes depend on oil and natural gas, and the New York Harbor is central to that.  Just how much do New Yorkers depend on oil and natural gas to fuel their economy?  A lot.  About a fifth of businesses (20%) and employees (22%) in New York are heavily affected by oil and natural gas policies.

If we really want to get the economy moving again, we need policies that keep the New York Harbor busy fueling our region.


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North Carolinians Still Favor Offshore Drilling

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Categorized in: Domestic Oil, North Carolina

Offshore oil and natural gas drilling in North Carolina is still popular, even though some policymakers are expressing concern. 

Earlier this year, President Obama announced that the areas of the Atlantic off North Carolina’s coast would be opened to offshore oil and natural gas drilling. Many politicians and much of the North Carolina public support offshore oil drilling. Even though support declined after the Deepwater Horizon incident, more North Carolinians desire drilling than oppose it.

Some North Carolina politicians aren’t in line with public sentiment, though.  Rep. Mike McIntyre, for instance, said that although he supported offshore drilling in the past, he now favors waiting to introduce drilling off North Carolina’s coast.

The policymakers and public who support drilling realize the immense benefits North Carolina could reap from the presence of the oil and natural gas industry. The high-paying jobs from oil and natural gas exploration would be a huge boost to the state’s economy. With legislators grappling with billion dollars in budget deficits, the state could certainly use the revenue drilling would bring.

The Deepwater Horizon spill has been tragic for the Gulf of Mexico and has rightly raised concerns about safety.  But while accidents will happen again, it would be misguided to think of that type of incident as anything other than a freak occurrence.   And since it is likely that natural gas, not oil, would be found off North Carolina’s coast, there would be no potential for an oil spill to affect the state.

The politicians need to listen to the people, but perhaps we need to have a more powerful voice. Being involved with Energy Citizens will give you a platform to take action in support of offshore drilling.


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Hydraulic Fracturing Vital to New Mexico’s Energy Supply

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Categorized in: Natural Gas, New Mexico

Getting to New Mexico’s rich supply of natural gas isn’t always easy-but opponents of hydraulic fracturing want to make it even harder.

Underneath New Mexico’s vast desert landscape lie some of the largest fields of natural gas in the country. But getting to that gas isn’t always easy-and now new technology for harnessing those resources is being delayed by Washington politics.

In 1967, an Atomic Energy Commission program called Operation “Gasbuggy” used an underground nuclear bomb to try to stimulate the release of natural gas in New Mexico. The blast was termed a “bust,” fracturing the rock much less than they had hoped.

Today’s methods are more efficient, much safer, and free up much more energy. Hydraulic fracturing long ago replaced explosive stimulation of natural gas wells, and now plays a critical role in New Mexico’s energy supply.

Hydraulic fracturing uses water pressure to create fissures in deep underground shale formations that allow oil and natural gas to flow. Recent innovations have unlocked abundant new supplies of natural gas and are changing the face of New Mexico’s energy future.

But even though the Environmental Protection Agency determined hydraulic fracturing safe in 2004, Politicians in Congress have ordered the Agency to revisit the issue, suggesting that conflicts of interest and politics associated with the previous administration may have compromised the results.

Bob Gallagher of the New Mexico Oil and Gas Association told the Sante Fe New Mexican that there hasn’t been one case of contamination of drinking water supplies from oil and gas production and none proven from hydraulic fracturing.

The EPA is holding public information meetings to discuss the issue and is seeking public comment at

Now is the time for Energy Citizens to speak out in support of proven methods of unlocking New Mexico’s natural gas.


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Long Commutes = Need for Affordable/Reliable Energy

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Categorized in: New Jersey, Taxes

People in New Jersey spend a lot of time on the road-energy needs to be accessible, affordable, and reliable for the state’s businesses and residents. 

A lot of us here in New Jersey spend a good bit of time on the road commuting to New York City and Philadelphia.  To us, energy costs and security are not an abstract issue-but an everyday challenge.

In tough times like these-and in better times too-we need to have access to reliable sources of affordable gasoline to get to work and run our businesses.  But lawmakers in Washington and Trenton don’t seem to get it.

Instead of coming up with laws to increase domestic production and lower costs, federal and state lawmakers seem to spend what little time they dedicate to energy issues on making it harder and more expensive to locate, refine, sell, and use oil and natural gas.

We all know that we face a complex energy future that will include various energy sources.  But to act as if oil and gas won’t be part of this mix-and the primary part of this mix for the foreseeable future-is to deny reality.

New Jersey residents, and folks around the country, need energy solutions both now and in the future.  Policymakers need to take a hard look at what day-to-day life is like for regular people and decide what energy solutions they think are right.  To the rest of us, the answers seem clear. 


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Imports Fuel Nevada's Transportation Needs

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Categorized in: Domestic Oil, Nevada

Nevada is dependent on imported petroleum products-but demand for transportation fuels in the state is expected to increase by 25% in the next five years.

Transportation fuels-like gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel-account for 33% of Nevada’s energy consumption. But most of these transportation fuels are made with petroleum derivatives, and with no petroleum resources, the state must rely on imports to keep things moving.

Why does Nevada need so much transportation fuel?

  • With an annual growth rate of 4.4%, Nevada is the fastest growing state in the country. Simply put, more people need more fuel.
  • Nevada’s two military air installations use high amounts of jet fuel.
  • In this vast desert state, it takes more fuel to get from here to there. It’s a proven fact that states with smaller populations and long driving distances have a higher-than-average per capita consumption of gasoline.
  • In 2008 alone, the state had 39.1 million tourists, placing a high demand on its airports, and using large amounts of ground transportation fuel.

Where does Nevada’s transportation fuel come from?

Nevada relies on California refineries for its petroleum products. But only 37% of the crude oil refined in California is produced there. The rest comes from places like Alaska, Saudi Arabia, Ecuador, Iraq, and Mexico. With production in Alaska down, Nevada will by default be much more reliant on foreign oil.

The growing debate over domestic energy policies seems far removed from Nevada-but the decisions made will have a lasting impact on the state’s transportation sector. Energy Citizens must speak out. Strong and stable domestic energy policies are good for Nevada’s transportation needs.


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Mississippians Still Believe in Offshore Drilling

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Categorized in: Domestic Oil, Mississippi, Oil Sands

The offshore drilling moratorium would hinder Mississippi’s economy, discourage energy production, and bring more hardships to an area still reeling from the Gulf Coast disaster. 

Like our neighbor, Louisiana, Mississippi has been hit hard by the recent oil spill in the Gulf, affecting industries from transportation to manufacturing to tourism.   With recent investments in oil and natural gas development both on and offshore of the Gulf Coast, however, now is not the not time to further limit our energy opportunities.

The Gulf oil spill has warranted a powerful response from federal, state, and local agencies-as well it should.  However, we cannot afford to overreact with an extended moratorium on offshore drilling, which would completely shut down exploration and investment in energy development that produce much-needed jobs for Mississippi.   What we need is to continue expanding our oil and gas production capabilities to boost our economy and meet our high energy demand, both in the state and across the country.

Mississippians understand the importance of offshore and deepwater drilling in securing our economic and energy future.  In fact, the vast majority of residents in the Magnolia State still support such energy investment.  Washington is just too far removed to understand the energy needs and issues facing our state.

With substantial progress being made in terms of surface oil cleanup of the Gulf spill, we should be looking forward to the future of energy production and utilizing all available resource to meet our state’s-and the nation’s-energy needs. 

As Energy Citizens, we can help ensure continued development of all our energy resources-and the continued recovery and growth of our state.


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Arizona's First Refinery Brings Clean Fuels and Independence

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Categorized in: Arizona, Domestic Oil

Arizona is building its first oil refinery-which is the first new U.S. refinery in 30 years , and is also the first U.S. refinery specifically designed to produce clean petroleum fuels.

There’s great news coming out of Yuma County!

Arizona’s first oil refinery has been approved to be built there-the first new U.S. refinery in over 30 years. When it becomes operational, it will be the first U.S. refinery specifically designed to produce clean petroleum fuels.

This is positive news for Arizona’s families on many fronts.

First, the refinery will free Arizona from total dependence on other states for its transportation fuels. It will produce approximately 6 million gallons per day of gasoline, diesel fuel, and jet fuel-fuel refined at home that will provide a steady supply of petroleum products.

The refinery will also give a big boost to the local economy.

It is expected that more than 3,000 people will be hired to construct the refinery, and more than 600 jobs will be created to operate it. Just as exciting is the ripple effect that will be seen throughout the region, as new businesses are created and tax dollars flow in. The refinery alone is expected to pay tens of millions of dollars annually in taxes.

The refinery has met its share of challenges. Setbacks in the form of a land transfer dispute, the rezoning process, and a location change have delayed the original target date, but it is anticipated that the refinery will be in full operation by late 2013.

Energy Citizens can help make the refinery a reality. Lend your support at public meetings and hearings-and spread the word. A local refinery is great for Arizona!


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Which Way are the Winds Really Blowing for Massachusetts?

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Categorized in: Massachusetts, Taxes

This summer, Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley negotiated a better deal for wind energy from the Cape Wind offshore wind power project. But will ratepayers really see lower costs, as promised?

The answer to this question is nearly a decade in the making. In 2001, Cape Wind began to seek permits to build a 130-turbine offshore wind farm on Horseshoe Shoal in Nantucket Sound. Ground has not been broken, but the current plan is to produce 240 megawatts of renewable wind energy.

Even better, Cape Wind projected that its wind farm could save ratepayers $25 million a year.

But the math quickly grew fuzzy. The cost of the project could run as high as $2 billion, and Cape Wind will sell the power to National Grid  and possibly other major utilities at a significantly higher rate than power produced by traditional sources, including coal- and natural gas-fired plants. In turn, Massachusetts will buy this power from National Grid.

Massachusetts economists David G. Tuerck and Jonathan Haughton, writing in the Boston Globe, estimate that ratepayers could pay an extra $86 million annually. Even with the new deal cut by Attorney General Coakley, ratepayers will pay more.

Consumers and businesses may be willing to pay more for wind power, but we need hard facts and realistic forecasts to make decisions. That’s part of the goal of Energy Citizens: helping all of us, including policymakers, to be realistic when we talk the dollars and cents of energy.

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High Oil and Natural Gas Prices Hurt Marylanders

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Categorized in: Maryland, Taxes

Transportation is too important to Maryland’s economy to risk a tax increase on oil. 

A diverse group, Marylanders make their living in many ways. Poultry farmers, watermen, government employees, small business owners and their employees – all make up the Maryland workforce.  Every one of them will be affected if oil and natural gas prices go up due to legislation being considered in Congress.

In more rural and suburban areas of the state, some people have to drive long distances to work. While those who drive to DC or Baltimore for work may not drive as far, they spend a lot of time in their cars. Farmers and watermen depend on affordable petroleum to power their tractors, combines, and boats. So do the tourists who flock to Ocean City in the summer.  How will raising taxes on oil affect these people and the fragile economic recovery?

Even those Marylanders who don’t drive regularly, such as the many who commute to DC or Baltimore by public transportation, are affected by higher energy prices. The electricity that powers the DC Metro, the Baltimore light rail, the MARC train, and other public transportation sources comes, in part, from facilities that generate energy from petroleum or natural gas. If the price for these fuels goes up, so do the tickets to ride public transportation. How many of these families could easily absorb this new cost?

Raising taxes on domestic energy producers will also have a direct effect on Maryland businesses and workers. There is a small but important natural gas industry in western Maryland which provides much-needed jobs in the region. Penalizing domestic energy production could put the men and women of this industry out of work.  That’s why being part of Energy Citizens is so important.


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