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Why Pennsylvania Needs Expanded Energy Infrastructure

Categorized in: Infrastructure, Pennsylvania

Shale gas is doing great things for Pennsylvania, including creating jobs and leading to a resurgence in manufacturing here, but the US energy renaissance can do even more for our commonwealth.

The Cranberry Eagle reports on a recent conference that discussed the shale gas industry’s potential. Jeremy Zeman, Manager Commercial Development at Williams Companies discussed the challenges facing the industry right now:

He said 3,300 miles of shale gas pipeline exists in the state, which is a significant increase since 2010. But more is needed.

“A major amount of supply is coming out of this region…. Today, 25 to 30 percent of Marcellus shale wells have no pipeline connected to them,” Zeman said.

Furthermore, Mr. Zeman pointed out that all of Pennsylvania would benefit from additional infrastructure that moves shale gas from the well to the processing plant and then to the market. Not only will these infrastructure projects spur growth in the shale industry, they will also have direct benefits for workers:

Bob Wilds, director of pipeline operations at the International Union of Operating Engineers, said pipelines for shale gas have been a boon to the heavy equipment operators and mechanics who are members of the union.

It’s time for Pennsylvania to embrace new pipelines and other infrastructure to support development of our energy resources. Energy Citizens should make sure that this is a top priority in Harrisburg for 2017.

Energy and Infrastructure Are Key Building Blocks for Minnesota’s Economy

Categorized in: Infrastructure, Minnesota

Though Minnesota is not among key energy-producing states, the state’s economy and way of life rely heavily on energy supplies for power and as building blocks for essential materials and products.

To grow our economy and maintain our quality of life, we need to ensure that energy supplies can reach us dependably and affordably. That’s why it’s critical that Minnesotans recognize the need to build new and expanded energy infrastructure.

Two-thirds of Minnesotans homes are heated with natural gas. But the largest user of natural gas in the state is our industrial sector, including food, chemical, and building material manufacturers.

Natural gas is also a fundamental component for agriculture. It is a building block for fertilizer manufacturing, and grain drying depends on natural gas. Without access to affordable natural gas, leading Minnesota companies such as Cargill, General Mills, and 3M—not to mention many smaller companies—would face significant challenges.

Minnesota also serves as an important transportation hub—for fuel, people, and products. The St. Paul Park Refinery and the Pine Bend Refinery both produce gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel used in the state and shipped throughout the Midwest. These fuels help keep barges on the Mississippi operating and planes flying to and from MSP. But these refineries and their customers rely on energy infrastructure to keep raw materials and finished fuel products flowing.

The elections, as well as post-election discussions, have brought renewed focus on the need to invest in our nation’s infrastructure. This year, we’re likely to see increased federal support for building and improving roads, bridges, airports, and rail. Pipelines and other energy infrastructure should also be on the table.

Investment in energy infrastructure projects like pipelines will come from the private sector—so no taxpayer dollars will be needed. But for these projects to move forward, we need the support of local, state, and federal officials. The supportive voices of Minnesota Energy Citizens can help make it happen.

The Problems with the Ethanol Mandate

Categorized in: Colorado, Florida, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Minnesota, National, New England, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, RFS, South Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin

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?

Boaters Want the Ethanol Mandate Fixed

Categorized in: RFS, Virginia

Are you ready for more ethanol in our fuel?

Thanks to the EPA’s decision on the Renewable Fuel Standard, we could soon see fuel with ethanol blends over 10%. That could pose a lot of trouble for many consumers. As Bill Cochran reports in the Roanoke Times, boat owners are especially upset over this:

The Boat Owners Association of the United States (BoatUS) has delivered 24,000 comments from recreational boaters to EPA headquarters in Washington urging the agency to stop adding more ethanol to the nation’s gasoline supply. Ten percent ethanol blends are common, and federal officials are considering 15 percent. Most new outboard engines are designed to operate on up to 10 percent ethanol. More than that can damage engines.

While the EPA is no longer taking comments on its ethanol decision, members of Congress have introduced legislation that would fix this problem. HR 5180 is supported by a bipartisan group of lawmakers. This bill would cap the amount of ethanol that must be blended into our fuel. Energy Citizens should make sure that every member of the Virginia congressional delegation supports this much-needed bill.

It would be a cold winter without energy infrastructure

Categorized in: Illinois, Infrastructure

Now that the full weight of winter is upon us, energy infrastructure is our lifeline to heating our homes and workplaces. This same infrastructure also ensures safe and comfortable travels by keeping our roads and highways clear of snow and ice and our airports open for business.

In Illinois, where 80 percent of households depend on natural gas as their main space heating fuel, pipelines keep the energy flowing. During the cold months, our state uses 44 percent more energy per home than the U.S. average.

Investing in pipelines, rail lines, storage facilities and other components of our energy infrastructure will ensure that we have the energy needed to make it through the cold months. And those investments will provide jobs and tax revenues. Pipeline investments needed over the next few years could create over 198,000 new jobs in our region.

We might not be able to influence the temperature in the winter, but we can prepare for it by making sure our energy infrastructure is up to the task of keeping us supplied with fuel. As a new year begins, join Energy Citizens to support the commonsense policies that pave the way for infrastructure investment.


Stop Indiana Ethanol Bill

Categorized in: E15, Indiana, National

Once again, a bill has been introduced in the Indiana legislature that would encourage more ethanol in our fuel supply than is good for most drivers and consumers. We need your help to stop it.

Tell Your Representative to VOTE NO on HB 1277.

HB 1277 would promote the use of E15 or fuels with even higher levels of ethanol. This kind of misguided plan ignores the reams of evidence that show that too much ethanol is potentially bad for family budgets, the economy, and it could harm the engines of millions of cars on the road today – including yours.

Indiana Energy Citizens helped stop last year’s legislation by speaking out to lawmakers in Indianapolis, telling them to stand up against a similar bill. We need to do the same thing now.

Will you send a letter to your representative today?

Boaters worried about ethanol spoiling summer fun

Categorized in: Illinois, RFS

Farm and Dairy published a good article on the potential harmful effects high ethanol content fuel can have on boat engines. High ethanol can cause problems for boaters lists Illinois as one of 23 states where E15 (15 percent ethanol gasoline) is sold.

What’s wrong with E15? Here’s what Farm and Dairy reported, based on information provided by the Boat Owners Association of the United States:

E15 has been proven to damage boat engines and so it is prohibited in marine engines. It is also illegal to use E15 in snowmobiles, motorcycles, small engines like lawn mowers and leaf blowers, as well as any car or light-truck made before 2001.

The Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) is responsible for the rise in E15 fuel, as this shortsighted government mandate continues to force more ethanol into our fuel supply than our vehicles and small engine tools can tolerate.

Legislation has been introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives to fix the RFS. Contact your member of the Illinois congressional delegation and make it clear you want to see HR 5180, the Food and Fuel Consumer Protection Act of 2016, approved.


Fixing the Ethanol Mandate

Categorized in: Florida, RFS

There are many Floridians who do not like the Renewable Fuel Standard. They know the ethanol mandate can be detrimental to consumers, drivers, and the environment. That is why it’s good to see a bipartisan group in Congress supporting legislation that would fix some of the problems with this misguided law.

HR 5180, Food and Fuel Consumer Protection Act, would cap the amount of ethanol that must be blended into our fuel. This will prevent the forced introduction of E15, or gasoline that contains 15% ethanol. There is no consumer demand for E15, since it could cause significant problems with many motors.

There are three members of the Florida congressional delegation who have cosponsored this bill: Rep. Bill Posey, Rep. Gus Bilirakis, and Rep. Lois Frankel. Florida’s members of Congress need to hear from you that you support fixing the ethanol mandate. Have you called your representative yet?

Study Debunks Fracking Fears

Categorized in: Hydraulic Fracturing, National

It’s getting more and more difficult for anti-energy activists to claim that fracking harms water quality. A recent study from Ohio looks at the link between fracking and water contamination and it found no evidence to blame fracking for methane in water there:

A three-year study by the University of Cincinnati has determined that natural gas drilling has had no effect on the quality of water coming from wells in Carroll County. 

The study looked at water quality in five counties – Carroll, Columbiana, Stark, Harrison and Belmont – with a focus on Carroll County, which has been the epicenter of the Utica Shale boom in eastern Ohio…

“The good news is that our study did not document that fracking was directly linked to water contamination,” said Dr. Amy Townsend-Small of the University of Cincinatti, who presented the findings at a meeting of Carroll Concerned Citizens. 

While methane was found in the water, researchers confirmed that it was from underground coal seams, not natural gas drilling.

These findings should come as no surprise. Abundant evidence indicates that fracking is not a threat to groundwater quality.

It would be nice to think that this study (and the others which demonstrate fracking’s safety) will persuade opponents of this process to change their minds. Unfortunately, this is unlikely to happen. However, this study is important because it can help convince policymakers not to give into the misinformation that anti-fracking extremists so often peddle.

Online Book Provides Great Overview of Texas Energy

Categorized in: Hydraulic Fracturing, Texas

Several Texas non-profits and trade associations have united to publish a new valuable online resource, Oil and Natural Gas in Texas.

Texas Energy Citizens should be encouraged to read this publication and share it with friends, family, neighbors, co-workers, and others. It provides in-depth descriptions of:

  • How fracking, drilling and refining work.
  • Who regulates Texas oil and natural gas operations.
  • How air and water are protected.
  • How the energy sector benefits Texas communities.

In recent years, advances in fracking and horizontal drilling have enabled expanded access to oil and natural gas resources in many areas around the state. For the first time, many Texans are seeing energy operations in their communities—and understandably, they may have questions. This publication aims to answer questions and address concerns.

People familiar with Texas’ energy know that operators have a long history of safe operations. Extensive precautions are taken to ensure the safety of communities, energy workers, and the environment. In addition, energy operations are tightly regulated by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) and the Railroad Commission of Texas (RRC). All of this is detailed in the book.

Energy Citizens aims to promote honest, fact-based conversations about American energy—how oil and gas are developed, and how American-made energy benefits our nation. Oil and Natural Gas in Texas is a great tool to help you have these conversations.