Too much ethanol is a bad thing for Illinois’s fuel supply

Categorized in: E15, Illinois

Another really good commentary piece by Timothy Benson of The Heartland Institute in Arlington Heights surfaced recently, this one in Investor’s Business Daily. Roundheads Against King Corn: Why the Renewable Fuel Standard Deserves to Die details how too much ethanol in our fuel supply – like the E15 blend – could hurt everyone from drivers to farmers.

It’s common knowledge that too much ethanol in gasoline could be bad for car and truck engines, and motor-driven tools and devices. But it could also be a drain on our economy. Benson lists some of the impacts of high-ethanol blends on Illinois, found in a study conducted by the Center for Regulatory Solutions:

For example, in The Heartland Institute’s home state of Illinois, CRS argues the RFS has led to unnecessarily high fuel costs totaling $5 billion through 2014, and CRS says the RFS will cost Illinois residents another $17 billion through 2024. These higher fuel costs will depress labor income by roughly $7 billion by 2024, spiking more than 7,000 potential new jobs per year and causing more than $12.1 billion in lost GDP.
The RFS has also increased demand for corn used for ethanol production. Diverting corn to ethanol production means livestock farmers have had to spend more on feed for their livestock. In 2012 alone, Illinois livestock farmers spent $164 million more on feed than they would have without RFS in place.

Illinois drivers have reasons to be concerned about ethanol mandates. Cars could not only get poorer mileage but could also experience engine damage, damage that warranties may not cover because of the ethanol-laden fuel government policies force filling stations to carry.

Energy Citizens will stay on top of developing legislation that could put too much ethanol in the Illinois fuel supply. Keep checking your inbox and we will let you know when drivers need to speak out on potentially harmful policies.


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.


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.


Illinois Energy Citizens Working Hard to Fix the RFS

Categorized in: Illinois, RFS

Fixing the Renewable Fuel Standard – convincing Congress to step up and force the EPA to lower harmful ethanol mandates – has been a major focus for Illinois Energy Citizens lately. We want to thank you for posting about the RFS on social media, writing letters to the editor, and directly reaching out to House members through dozens of emails and phone calls.

Legislation has been introduced in the U.S. House – H.R. 5180, the Food and Fuel Consumer Protection Act – that would limit the amount of ethanol the EPA can force into our fuel supply to protect our vehicles. Making sure our representatives in Congress are voting in favor of H.R. 5180 is really important.

Read more about the RFS and H.R. 5180 in the American Spectator:

It is time to get back to allowing the free market — not Congress, not unelected bureaucrats, not mandates, not artificially spurred growth in a chosen industry — to determine our fuel choices. Because ethanol is an effective octane-boosting additive, it will always have market demand. Farmers who’ve invested in it will not be driven out of business. The Food and Fuel Consumer Protection Act, while not repealing the RFS outright (which would be tough to pass), offers a reasonable fix to well-intended, but flawed legislation.

Well put. Make sure you are in contact with your representative in the House, expressing your support for this bill.


Let’s Talk Energy Infrastructure

Categorized in: Illinois, Infrastructure

How does oil and natural gas get from the ground to consumers? Pipelines, tankers, trains, and compressor stations – this network makes up the energy infrastructure that provides consumers like you and me with affordable energy every day. Without them, the American energy renaissance would come to a halt.

That’s why Energy Citizens is launching a campaign to highlight the importance of energy infrastructure to Illinois. We need to band together to expand the energy infrastructure system. With the growth in American oil and natural gas production over the past decade, it’s critical that we build new infrastructure to meet our nation’s needs.

Illinois relies heavily on pipelines and other infrastructure to deliver the energy we need. Failing to expand this infrastructure could harm consumers in our state. It could also cost us jobs that can be created when companies invest in pipeline projects here.

With the right policies, we could see energy infrastructure investments of $120 billion every year for the U.S. That will support 1.15 million jobs and contribute $27 billion in new revenue for our schools and communities.

By updating and building new energy infrastructure, we’ll be supporting the energy renaissance that has done so much to support working families, grow our economy, and strengthen Illinois and our nation.

Exporting LNG holds huge economic benefits for Illinois

Categorized in: Illinois, LNG

Illinois Energy Citizens should take a moment to tell our members of Congress that we support increased exports of American-made natural gas. Legislation that would affect liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports is coming up, and expanding our overseas sales could create hundreds of thousands of jobs while increasing U.S. GDP by as much as $73 billion over 20 years.

The impressive benefits to be gained from exporting LNG could have a big positive impact on the Illinois economy and our job market. We could be in the top 10 states to gain from future LNG exports, with an anticipated employment increase of 17,341 new jobs by 2035. Illinois workers could earn an additional $2.6 billion in income.

Those numbers could be diminished if we don’t fix the approval process for new LNG export terminals. Under the current system, they can remain on hold for far too long as our foreign competition increases their market share at our expense. Here are some good facts on LNG exports, take a look and you’ll see why we need to get on Congress to make this a top issue.

Election Day is just a few weeks away – have you contacted your candidates yet?

Categorized in: Illinois, Vote4Energy

We’re down to the wire. Election Day is just around the corner and our candidates need to know that if they fail to support American energy development, they will lose our votes.

It’s up to us to make energy part of the debate during this historic election year. We cannot continue to elect lawmakers who want to hold us back with overreaching regulations, higher taxes, and bans on energy. Instead, we need leaders in office who know how important oil and natural gas development is to our economy, our communities, our environment, and our energy security.

If you haven’t already, make sure you contact your candidates today to let them know how important energy is to Illinois and to our nation.

Energy is not a partisan issue. In fact, a recent poll showed that a majority of voters from both political parties support:

  • A national energy policy  that ensures a secure supply of abundant, affordable, and available energy for the American people in an environmentally responsible manner.
  • Increased population of oil and natural gas resources located here in the U.S.
  • Increased energy infrastructure.

These are all issues that are critical to Illinois’s energy future. It’s time to push past the fear and anti-energy rhetoric of the vocal minority. These opposition groups keep pushing for job-killing, economy-destroying measures. And too many candidates are attacking oil and natural gas, yet offering zero solutions for our nation’s energy future.

Tell candidates you want to hear their plans for supporting American energy! And make sure you show up to vote on November 8.

Together, Illinois Energy Citizens can make a difference.

What the experts say about LNG exports

Categorized in: Colorado, Florida, Illinois, LNG, Michigan, National, New England, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, Wisconsin

Energy Citizens has been a big supporter of increasing U.S. exports of liquefied natural gas (LNG) for some time now.  We think the potential economic and geopolitical benefits of selling more of our abundance of domestically produced natural gas abroad are huge.

We are far from alone in that belief.  Here are a few examples of policymakers, economic studies, and think tanks discussing the benefits of LNG exports:

“We welcome the prospect of U.S. LNG exports in the future since additional global supplies will benefit Europe and other strategic partners.”President Barack Obama, in a joint statement with European leaders

“An increase in U.S. exports of natural gas, and the resulting price changes, would have a number of mostly beneficial effects on natural gas producers, employment, U.S. geopolitical security, and the environment.”White House Council of Economic Advisers

“The U.S. will be a reliable, market-based supplier to global markets, and that’s not only good for our energy security, it’s good for the energy security of our partners and allies around the world.”Robin Dunnigan, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Energy Diplomacy, U.S. State Department

“The president has full and unquestioned authority to approve energy exports by executive action without Congress.  The Natural Gas Act says the Department of Energy makes the decision on export permit approvals, and the law presumes exports are in the public interest.  The administration can and should move faster on approving export permits.”Former Secretaries of Energy Bill Richardson and Spencer Abraham

“…the U.S. was projected to gain net economic benefits from allowing LNG exports. Moreover, for every one of the market scenarios examined, net economic benefits increased as the level of LNG exports increased.”Department of Energy-commissioned study, 2012

“The overall macroeconomic impacts of higher LNG exports are marginally positive, a result that is robust to alternative assumptions for the U.S. natural gas market.”Department of Energy-commissioned study, 2015

“Natural gas-producing states could see employment gains as high as 60,000 to 155,000 jobs; and large manufacturing states, such as California and Ohio, will see employment gains upwards of 30,000 to 38,000 jobs in 2035.”ICF International

“Expanded demand for U.S. natural gas internationally will be a net positive, resulting in greater U.S. natural gas production, increased investment, enhanced GDP growth, rising incomes, and more jobs.”Small Business Entrepreneurship Council

“For the United States, LNG exports offer an opportunity to produce and sell more gas without paying more at home.  Growth of US LNG exports will benefits the US economy and are unlikely to affect the price of natural gas in the United States.”Atlantic Council

This is a great opportunity for U.S. economic growth, and an important issue for Energy Citizens to mention in their contacts with elected officials, who can push through approval of LNG export projects.


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Strict regulations not helping Illinois energy development

Categorized in: Hydraulic Fracturing, Illinois

In a recent article in the Southern Illinoisan, Illinois Oil and Gas Association Executive Vice President Brad Richards says that the state’s tight hydraulic fracturing regulations have prompted some companies to focus their operations in Indiana, although there is still interest here:

There’s some optimism here, but there is also the reality of what these delays have done in terms of perhaps (Illinois officials) missing the boat.

(In addition to lower oil prices) The other factor, undoubtedly, at play here (is) we developed a regulatory scheme here in Illinois that has been touted as the most comprehensive in the country, but it is also the most onerous in terms of the economics, how it impacts the economics of the development.

So those two things combined have created a situation where we are waiting.

Illinois Energy Citizens should pass this information on to their state elected officials. Maybe if enough of us speak out we can build support for a regulatory framework that will encourage energy development and all the benefits that is brings to our state like job creation, economic growth, and increased tax revenues.


Catching up with the competition on LNG exports

Categorized in: Colorado, Florida, Illinois, LNG, Michigan, National, New England, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, Wisconsin

America’s wealth of natural gas, produced by hydraulic fracturing and other high-tech oil and gas industry innovations, presents us with a tremendous global export opportunity in the liquefied natural gas (LNG) market. But as this recent Forbes article – U.S. Liquefied Natural Gas Exports Reach A New Market And Continue To Climb In 2016 – points out, our success in this lucrative economic sector is anything but assured.

Yes, the just completed Panama Canal expansion could help more easily transport U.S. LNG to foreign markets. But we still have to overcome political challenges here at home that hold back crucial approvals of pending export terminal projects. As Forbes puts it:

Yet, our LNG exporters, and those policymakers that critically want to support them, can never relax. The global LNG race is intensifying every day, with market growth booming post-2017, right when our projects are primed to take off. As we have entire groups of Americans ill-advisedly celebrating blocked U.S. LNG export projects (here), more shady suppliers [such as Iran or Russia] are also celebrating the decreased competition from such an attractive supplier like the U.S.

Increasing exports of American-made LNG could create as many as 450,000 new jobs by 2035, according to an ICF International study.  Energy Citizens need to make it clear to our political leaders that we want timely approval on a process that will make those exports – and those jobs – a reality.