Support Minnesota Line 3


Categorized in: blogrightrails, Infrastructure, Minnesota, National

A pipeline known as Line 3 has been delivering energy safely and efficiently to Minnesota for over 50 years. The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission is currently holding a public comment period to receive feedback on this project. 

It is now time to look toward the future and build a replacement pipeline so Minnesota residents have access to affordable and reliable energy in the years to come. Along with improving our energy infrastructure and safety standards, this project will also support good-paying jobs, provide a boost for local economies, and increase tax revenue for public services.

 

It’s Time to Fix the Renewable Fuel Standard


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

The Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) was supposedly created to help address environmental concerns. However its negative impacts on the American people and its unrealistic mandates produce more damaging effects than benefits.

Damaging Cars: Ethanol blends of more than 10% potentially could damage millions of vehicles and void engine warranties. Many cars, especially ones created before this mandate weren’t designed to accommodate ethanol blends, especially ones over 10%.

Increased Food Cost: The RFS ultimately takes away crops that would normally be used for food. This can cause the price of food and consumer goods to increase.

Hurting Small Business: An ethanol mandate can lead to overhead and delivery cost increases. This would cause a negative chain reaction leaving less money to be reinvested, resulting in small businesses struggling to find the funds to make new hires or even meet payrolls.

The RFS biofuel mandates are causing more harm than good and it needs to be fixed!

The Strong Safety Record of Pipelines


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

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.

Fix the Renewable Fuel Standard


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

The Houston Chronicle ran an editorial that urges the next administration and Congress to take a hard look at what the newspaper calls the “ethanol happy hour.” In Blended fuels: The fuel standard has created unintended consequences and is ripe for overhaul Chronicle editors write that one thing has gone unnoticed – the blend wall:

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.

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Brought to You by Fracking


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

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.

Understanding Infrastructure


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

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.

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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?

Local Battle Loom in 2017


Categorized in: Colorado, Domestic Oil, Infrastructure, Jobs, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Minnesota, National, New England, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, West Virginia, Wisconsin

Happy New Year! We’re excited about the opportunities in 2017 for Energy Citizens to support job creation, strengthen our nation’s security, and keep energy affordable.

All eyes are now on Washington, but the fact is that we must prepare for challenges across the states. As part of a larger effort to shut down American oil and natural gas, anti-energy activist plan to battle critical pipeline projects and pro-energy policies at the local level.

“The opposition is going to be much more local, much more focused.” — Anti-Energy Leader Jane Kleeb

But communicating to government alone will not win the day. We also need to reach out to members of our communities… to friends, family, neighbors, co-workers, and our social networks. It’s important that we talk about why energy is important to us and why we need policies and leadership that support American energy development.

As a first step in highlighting the importance of energy to our local communities, it would be great if you would share your story. How is American energy helping your family, community, and state? Share why you’re standing up for American energy.

As we move forward, we’ll be asking you to share your views—and your story—with others so that pro-energy voices can be part of policy discussions.

New Pipelines Are Essential for Minnesota’s Future Prosperity


Categorized in: Infrastructure, Minnesota

Natural gas is an economic and environmental game changer for the United States. Though Minnesota is not an energy producer, we stand to benefit as utilities increasingly generate electricity from natural gas.

But we won’t realize the full benefits of America’s energy renaissance if we don’t expand our state’s pipeline system.

Pipelines are essential for transporting natural gas from wells to processing facilities and on to customers, including utilities, businesses, and households. With our growing population and economy, we need greater pipeline capacity. It’s that simple.

Natural Gas Benefits

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy singled out natural gas for enabling our nation “to really move forward with pollution reductions that have been very hard to get our arms around for decades.”

Natural gas has been the primary driver of U.S. carbon emission reductions. In 2014, U.S. carbon emissions were at their lowest levels in 20 years. In fact, natural gas has enabled the energy sector alone to experience its lowest carbon levels in 25 years. Today, we lead all other industrial nations in carbon emission reductions, primarily because of the increased use of natural gas to generate electricity.

Ample supplies of American natural gas mean we are less dependent on foreign nations to meet our energy needs. The availability of natural gas has also helped control energy and heating costs for American households.

Pipeline Safety

Pipelines are a safe, efficient, and environmentally friendly way to transport natural gas and oil. In addition to having a 99.99% transportation safety record, pipelines are tightly regulated by federal and state governments and are also monitored with cutting-edge technology.

Every cubic foot of natural gas or barrel of petroleum moved by pipeline reduces the need to transport fuel by truck or rail. In other words, pipelines help reduce traffic congestion on our roads and rail lines.

Those opposed to pipelines cannot reasonably defend their position by pointing to safety or environmental concerns. Often, these opponents come from national level organizations that support a national keep-it-in –the-ground agenda that places little thought on how this position would actually impact people living here in Minnesota. A failure to expand our state’s pipeline capacity could increase the environmental impact of fuel transportation and drive up costs. This makes no sense.

In Minnesota, we don’t have to pick. We instead need to take a commonsense approach to meeting our energy needs, supporting our economy, and protecting our environment. It’s time to allow energy infrastructure projects, especially pipelines, to move forward.