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?
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 New England. 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.
Energy costs in New England are too high. New energy infrastructure can change this. Expanding pipelines and investing in other infrastructure projects could create jobs and provide New England’s families with clean, affordable energy. Failing to do this could cost 167,600 jobs and lead New England households to pay $5.4 billion in higher energy bills.
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 New England and our nation.
The president of one of America’s largest labor organizations – the North America’s Building Trades Unions (NABTU), which represents 3 million members of 16 different U.S. and Canadian unions – is worried about opposition to energy infrastructure projects. Sean McGarvey fears that halting construction of critical pipeline and other infrastructure would not only slow our drive to energy independence, but also stymie economic growth.
When projects are postponed or canceled or don’t get approval to go forward, that has a huge ripple effect on the suppliers, manufacturers and construction workers. And it adds to the local population’s cost of energy because they don’t have that free flow that creates competition and brings energy costs down for local homeowners.
This is a problem wherever protests against pipeline and other infrastructure construction surface, but is especially dangerous in New England, where states lost the Northeast Energy Direct pipeline project earlier this year following intense political opposition.
There’s no question that investing in pipelines and other energy infrastructure is good for our economy, creates jobs, and makes our energy supplies more reliable and more secure. The American Petroleum Institute estimates that building, maintaining, and updating oil and natural gas transportation and storage facilities over 20 years could support as many as 1.15 million jobs on an average annual basis, while contributing $120 billion to the U.S. economy per year and generating $27.5 billion in yearly government revenues.
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 New England 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 production of oil and natural gas resources located here in the U.S.
Increased energy infrastructure.
These are all issues that are critical to New England’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, New England Energy Citizens can make a difference.
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 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
“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.
The need for investment in new energy infrastructure in New Hampshire – specifically natural gas pipelines – was recently highlighted by an op-ed in the Union Leader. In his op-ed, American Council of Engineering Companies of New Hampshire director Alex Koutroubas’ call for politicians to let the “smart, hard-working, experienced employees of the energy sector go to work for you” could apply to any state in our region.
Take a minute to look over this editorial; Infrastructure investments would bring NH cheaper, safer, cleaner power. Koutroubas makes some excellent points, among them the safety of pipelines, their power to create high-paying union jobs, and the environmental benefits we receive when pipelines are available to supply consumers and power generators with clean burning natural gas.
New England’s energy infrastructure deficiencies can be solved. As Koutroubas writes, “We have the best minds in the business ready to fix this problem. We have energy sector workers with an impeccable record for safety ready to fix this problem.”
New England Energy Citizens need to make sure our elected officials know we want policies that will allow private sector companies to invest in the infrastructure updates that will benefit us all.