With anti-pipeline protests much in the news lately, Robert Bryce, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, recently published a guest op-ed that points out how self-proclaimed environmentalists who oppose oil and gas pipelines as part of their “keep it in the ground” strategy may very well be doing more ecological harm than good.
“The Anti-Pipeline Anti-Environmentalists” explains how plans to completely switch to so-called “clean energy” instead of oil and natural gas could wreak land use havoc:
Climate activists are now hoping to block oil and gas pipeline projects across the country due to their claim that we must keep all hydrocarbons in the ground to avert catastrophic climate change. Those same activists repeatedly claim we don’t need fossil fuels because we can rely solely onwind and solar energy.
But while they obsess over our carbon footprint, climate activists don’t give a fig about the land-use footprint of renewables. Indeed, the dirty truth about “clean” energy is that it requires shocking amounts of land. In a recent report for the Manhattan Institute, I show that using wind and solar energy to reduce domestic carbon dioxide emissions by 80% by 2050 (80 by 50) will require covering about 287,700 square miles of territory — an area about the size of Texas and West Virginia combined.
Energy Citizens have been making similar points for years. Selectively choosing one energy resource over another never works. Our lifestyles depend on a commonsense mix of all forms of energy, the “all of the above” energy strategy that should be the goal of U.S. energy policies.
It’s up to us to keep reminding decision-makers in state and federal government to support energy policies – such as the reasonable use of pipelines – that will supply us with the energy we need.
Pipelines have been in the news a lot lately. While activists trying to shut down new pipeline projects make wild claims about their safety, the scientific facts prove the opposite.
To prevent leaks, state-of-the-art technology similar to a doctor’s ultrasound machine or MRI is used on the inside of the pipe to scan the walls for any potential problems. In 2012 alone, $2.1 billion was spent by liquid pipeline operators to evaluate, inspect and maintain their pipelines.
Liquid pipeline incidents are down 50% since 1999.
Corrosion as a cause of pipeline incidents is down 76% since 1999.
Lawmakers and regulators should not be misled by false claims about pipelines. The industry’s commitment to safety through best practices and with the use of modern technology allows companies to ensure that pipelines deliver energy products safely 99.99% of the time. They are also needed to ensure that consumers have access to clean, affordable energy in the years to come. In the debate over expanding our energy infrastructure and greater natural gas use, it’s vital that we keep politics aside and instead focus on the long-term benefits for our country that take the form of lower energy prices, greater job creation, and environmental benefits.
That figurative barrier is called the blend wall – the threshold beyond which the U.S. gasoline supply contains more than 10 percent ethanol. Oil industry and small government advocates point to the wall in criticizing the Renewable Fuel Standard, a decade-old law requiring an increasing volume of ethanol and other renewable liquids in the nation’s fuel supply.
Automakers say they can’t guarantee that any but a few of their engines will run properly on mixes of less than 90 percent gasoline, and many fuel suppliers say it’s difficult and expensive to comply with the federal mandate.
Renewable Fuel Standard biofuel mandates could cause a lot of problems, among them potential economic harm. Like the Chronicle, Energy Citizens believes the RFS needs to be fixed.
Energy Citizens should take a minute to check out the blog over at the Chamber of Commerce’s Institute for 21st Century Energy. There is a great post that discusses the importance of fracking to our everyday lives:
America is at an energy crossroads. The fracking-enabled shale revolution is rapidly transforming the nation’s energy landscape, lowering prices for consumers and dramatically reducing our dependence on foreign oil.
Energy is everywhere, and if you stop for a moment to look around you, chances are you will see countless goods and services that are “Brought To You By Fracking.” We’re not just talking about gasoline for your car and electricity for your house—everything from health care and housing to hamburgers and hula hoops are impacted by the price and availability of energy, and oil and natural gas in particular. As a result, the practical impact if the “keep it in the ground” movement succeeds would hurt every American’s quality of life.
The blog goes on to discuss some of the things that are made possible by fracking – air travel, gasoline, air conditioning, and electricity. We may not realize just how important fracking is to our daily lives, but its influence is enormous.
We can’t let anti-energy activists succeed in their war on fracking. We have to speak out in defense of this safe, time-tested practice. The American energy revolution would not exist without it.
If we don’t understand how oil and natural gas get from the wellhead to the consumers or commercial users, we don’t understand energy. Energy infrastructure – pipelines, roads, bridges, rail lines, processing plants, storage facilities, etc. – enables us to maintain and even grow the lifestyle that we have today. Today, we need to devote just as much time to learning about – and advocating for – energy infrastructure as we do to fracking, offshore resource access, or any of the other major issues that surround U.S. energy security.
To most of us, pipelines are the first thing we imagine when we hear about energy infrastructure. They are critically important to moving both domestically produced and imported fuels that we use every day, and they are essential to transporting the oil and gas by-products that feed the U.S. manufacturing industry. In fact, our country has a robust network of energy pipelines that moves 14 billion barrels of crude oil, among other oil and gas-related products.
But don’t forget that rail cars move oil and liquefied natural gas too. So do trucks. And the processing facilities that prepare natural gas to be used and storage tanks that hold it in reserve for those winter days when we need more energy are all critical oil and gas infrastructure components as well.
Energy infrastructure is a big issue and an important one. This factsheet – Energy Infrastructure 101 – is a good place to start finding out about infrastructure and understanding why it is so important to our nation.
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?
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.
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.