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.


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.


A Manufacturing Resurgence Thanks to Shale

Categorized in: Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, National, Natural Gas, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, South Carolina, West Virginia

U. S. manufacturing is starting to thrive once again. As University of Michigan economist Mark Perry explains, American shale gas production deserves much of the credit for this great news:

The impact of the shale revolution is profound because the economic growth it continues to produce is not confined to any single region of the U.S. Cheap natural gas is strengthening energy security across the country and is fueling a resurgence in manufacturing – particularly the most energy-intensive industrial products, such as iron and steel, bulk chemicals, petrochemicals, plastics, cement, petroleum refining, glass, paper and food products.

Why is shale gas production so important to manufacturing? It’s because manufacturing is very energy-intensive. With more shale gas being produced here, it has lowered the cost of energy for American manufacturers:

Adjusted for inflation, the cost of electricity to industrial users in the U.S. is lower this year than almost any year in history. Compared to 2008 in the early days of the shale revolution, industrial electricity prices are 17 percent lower today. That’s because virtually every new power plant constructed in recent years has been fueled with natural gas. Gas plants are relatively inexpensive to build, and gas prices are projected to remain low for many decades.

During the election year we heard a lot about creating more American jobs. Let’s make sure to ask the candidates where they stand on natural gas production and the use of natural gas in power generation. If they don’t advocate for pro-energy policies or for allowing markets, not government mandates or incentives to dictate our power generation mix, it’s hard to see how they can be serious about job growth in the U.S. For our economy to continue to grow, we need to make sure that candidates running this year support oil and gas production and the market-driven use of more natural gas to generate electricity.

Obama strikes offshore leasing before it even begins

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Categorized in: North Carolina, Offshore Drilling

The Obama Administration recently bowed to anti-energy activists and yanked access to potential Mid-Atlantic oil and natural gas resources from the 2017-2022 offshore leasing plan.

While radical environmentalists celebrate, the rest of us can only think of what could have been. Offshore oil and gas development has the potential to support more than 50,000 new jobs in North Carolina by 2035 and expand our gross state product by over $4 billion.

The Raleigh News & Observer, in their article on the announcement, quoted N.C. Petroleum Council chief David McGowan, who characterized critics of the Atlantic OCS leasing plan as “a vocal minority.” He said:

I don’t think the president ever intended to open the Atlantic Ocean for development,” McGowan said in a phone interview. “He’s using this to harm economic development, and energy security and national security for our country.”

Whether or not this was always the President’s plan, there is little question that the decision has done serious damage to the future of our economy and national energy security. It’s all the more reason for Energy Citizens to pay strict attention to the energy policies supported by candidates for office – all offices – in the upcoming election.


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Repeal the Ethanol Mandate

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Categorized in: Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, National, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, RFS, Virginia, Wisconsin

At the end of 2015, the Environmental Protection Agency established the volume of ethanol that must be blended into our fuel. The ethanol mandate, created by the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), is a flawed federal initiative that is opposed by a wide variety of critics.

There will be a push this year to repeal the RFS, and the Chicago Tribune’s editorial board explains what is at stake in this fight:

The Environmental Protection Agency recently set the marker for how much ethanol will have to be blended in your car’s gasoline next year.

Why does that matter to you? It means that the fuel mix in your car or truck will remain about 10 percent ethanol. If the mandate had been set substantially higher, there would have been more pressure to flood your fuel with 15 percent ethanol. That would be a caustic mix for the engines of a lot of older cars, as well as lawn mowers and other equipment.

You and your engine should be grateful for small favors. But there’s a bigger picture. Ethanol represents nearly 40 percent of the corn crop. That corn would otherwise be consumed, mostly as animal feed. The shift of corn from food to fuel distorts the prices we pay for corn and other food products.

Energy Citizens have been at the forefront of the battle to repeal the RFS. Momentum is growing to make this happen. We echo the words of the Tribune’s editors when they say, “It’s time to end the ethanol mandate, period.”

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Disappointing Decision on Offshore

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Categorized in: Florida, National, North Carolina, Offshore Drilling, Virginia

As you may have heard by now, the Obama Administration has announced its decision to deny access to the Atlantic for future offshore energy development.

This misguided decision appeases anti-energy extremists and runs counter to the strong national support for offshore energy development. A majority of American voters, as well as governors and members of Congress, want to see offshore energy exploration move forward.

The administration’s disappointing decision comes in the face of a strong effort by Energy Citizens to expand offshore access. We want to thank Energy Citizens for everything you’ve done to underscore the importance of developing America’s domestic energy resources.

The President’s restrictive offshore energy policy does not change the fact that oil and natural gas will be critical to our economy, our communities, and household budgets for decades to come. Are candidates—at all levels of government—talking about energy?

Let’s double-down on our effort to make energy part of this year’s election. When candidates talk about alternative energy, do they also acknowledge the critical role played by natural gas in lowering our nation’s carbon emissions? We need to let candidates know that if they’re unwilling to discuss sensible solutions for America’s energy future, then they’ll lose our vote.

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North Carolina Members of Congress speak out on RFS ethanol standards

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Categorized in: E15, North Carolina, RFS

A total of eight North Carolina U.S. House members were among the 185 signers, both Republican and Democrat, of a letter to the EPA asking that 2016 Renewable Fuel Standard ethanol limits be kept below 10 percent.

In a recent editorial focused on the widespread opposition to irresponsible RFS ethanol mandates now being shown by GOP presidential candidates, Marita Noon wrote:

Most vehicles on the road today can withstand E10, a gasoline blend containing up to 10 percent ethanol, but the EPA has granted a “partial waiver” for the sale of 15 percent blends. AAA advises owners of non-flex-fuel vehicles to avoid E15, warning that manufacturers will void their warranties. Although the EPA maintains that 2001 model-year and newer vehicles can safely use E15, studies by the prestigious Coordinating Research Council found that E15 caused engine damage to some of the EPA-approved vehicles, leading to leaks [in engine cylinders] and increased emissions.

Energy Citizens has been working to rein in EPA ethanol and biofuel mandates for quite a while. Check out what API has to say about the RFS and tell President Obama to let the EPA know they need to fix the RFS!


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