Recent news indicates that more Americans are being put to work after years of sluggish job growth. Writing in the Investor’s Business Daily, Stephen Moore and Kathleen Hartnett White discuss how American energy production should get much of the credit for this job growth:
“The shale oil and gas revolution is behind the fall in gasoline and electricity prices, which in turn is unleashing a comeback in many industries. Consider the U.S. manufacturing boom, which can be seen in the revival of factories selling everything from plastics, cars and chemicals to potato and micro chips.
“The turnaround has little to do with government programs or subsidies. A major springboard is the lowest-in-the-world energy prices found here in America.
Fracking has unleashed an energy bounty in the United States. That has helped consumers, workers, and businesses throughout the nation. It’s vital that Energy Citizens continue fighting for policies that ensure the shale revolution continues going strong.
The U.S. is the world’s largest producer of natural gas and Michigan is an important contributor. We can provide natural gas to meet our own heating and energy needs—and we now have sufficient supply to export liquefied natural gas (LNG). Exporting natural gas will not only help Michigan’s economy and create jobs; it will also benefit our allies and bolster global energy security.
So, what’s holding us back? Simply put, the federal process for approving energy exports is broken. Outdated rules, red tape, and layers of bureaucracy slow and limit LNG exports. To spur further job and economic growth as a result of developing natural gas in Michigan’s Antrim Shale region, we’ll need Washington to reform export rules and policies.
LNG exports would do more for Michigan than create new energy sector jobs. Michigan also has a strong manufacturing sector that produces drilling equipment and key materials used in energy development across the nation. As a result of LNG exports, these supplier companies would see increased demand, leading to job creation and business growth.
Exporting LNG will help Michigan’s and America’s economy. It will also benefit our allies and bolster global energy security. Currently, much of Western Europe relies heavily on natural gas from hostile or politically unstable suppliers—such as Russia. By exporting LNG, we can minimize the influence of these international energy bullies and neutralize their threats to cut off natural gas to other countries. Exporting natural gas would also reduce the U.S. trade deficit, and improve our position in trade talks with other nations.
Federal action is essential to advance LNG exports. It’s also important to recognize that state and local government support is needed to expand energy infrastructure, such as pipelines, which is essential for transporting, processing, and eventually exporting natural gas. We’ll keep you informed and enlist your support when policymakers take up this issue.
Don’t Let the Anti-Fracking Movement Gain Momentum in Michigan
The 2014 election is only two months in the past, and already anti-fracking activists are looking to target Michigan’s 2016 ballot. Michigan Energy Citizens need to start having conversations with friends, neighbors, and co-workers to share the facts about fracking’s safety and the benefits of domestic energy production. Let’s not let anti-energy activists gain a stronger foothold in our state.
Sharing the Facts
Too often, discussions of energy are influenced by misinformation, rumors, and scare tactics. Fortunately, we have the facts on our side.
Hydraulic fracturing—or fracking—is safe and it produces oil and clean-burning natural gas. The growing production and use of American natural gas has helped lower our nation’s greenhouse gas emissions back to levels not seen since the 1990s.
So, when you hear someone say, “Fracking is a new, dangerous process that damages our environment and must be stopped,” please share these facts, courtesy of Michigan’s own Department of Environmental Quality:
Fracking is not new. It has been used in Michigan for about 50 years, primarily in the northern section of the Lower Peninsula.
Fracking, in the words of Michigan’s DEQ, “has never jeopardized the environment or public health.”
Fracking does not threaten local water supplies.
Bottom line: “[T]he DEQ does not support halting an activity that has been regularly used without serious incident.”
Anti-Fracking Activists Target Michigan
In 2013, anti-fracking activists made their first serious attempt to ban fracking across the state. They drafted a legislative initiative that sought to amend state law to ban fracking. While the measure failed to qualify for consideration by the legislature or make it to the ballot, it did receive more than 70,000 signatures. Now activists have vowed to try again for the 2016 ballot. Let’s plan on working together to reject this misguided proposal.
One idea currently floating around Harrisburg is a proposal to impose a severance tax on Pennsylvania’s shale gas development. Energy Citizen Chad A. McCutcheon explains in a letter to the Pittsburgh Tribune why a severance tax would “discourage new investment in this growing state industry.”
McCutcheon explains just how damaging this tax would be:
“This proposal supposedly is designed to emulate West Virginia’s severance tax. According to energyfactspa.com, West Virginia has seen a 20 percent increase in drilling activity over the last 10 years. But here in Pennsylvania — with no severance tax — our drilling starts have increased 400 percent in that time.
“Since 2009, West Virginia has added two new drilling rigs; Pennsylvania has added 56, energyfactspa.com states.”
McCutcheon is right – a severance tax would hurt Pennsylvania’s energy output and its economy. Let’s hope that legislators listen to him and all the other Pennsylvanians who oppose this misguided tax plan.
Thanks to increased production, the U.S. is set to become the world’s leading oil producer. Unfortunately, our energy policy is stuck in another era. The crude oil export ban was enacted in the 1970s, at a time when the U.S. was in the middle of an energy crisis. Lifting this export ban makes sense in our new era of energy production. If it were lifted, a newstudy shows the big economic benefits that Florida would see.
What are these benefits? By 2020, crude oil exports could:
Support over 10,700 Florida jobs
Produce $1.23 billion in new state income
Additionally, another analysis conducted by IHS showed that an increased crude oil supply would lead to lower gasoline prices by an annual average of 8 cents per gallon. With those savings, the combined savings for U.S. motorists from 2016-2030 would translate to $265 billion.
The export ban is a relic of a bygone era. We need our energy laws to reflect the oil and natural gas production surge that’s happening today. As this new study shows, getting rid of the export ban is good for Florida and good for America. It’s time to free America to become a global energy superpower!
A spot on editorial by Algernon Cash of the North Carolina Energy Forum was published in the Raleigh News and Observer on June 14. Written in response to the June 5 news article, “N.C. now open to fracking” it starts off with a great quote:
“When opportunity knocks, all some people can do is complain about the noise,” Bill Maher said. I applaud Gov. Pat McCrory and our state legislators who weren’t distracted by the noise. Opportunity knocked, and they answered.
As Cash goes on to point out, the decision to expedite fracking in North Carolina was not made hastily. It took more than five years of study to come up with a suitable plan and controls that ensure public and environmental safety. North Carolina’s regulations on fracking will be some of the strictest in the nation.
As Gov. McCrory said, North Carolina has been “sitting on the sidelines” in the business of producing energy. The new fracking rules will give us a chance to finally get in the game.
Recently, some Pennsylvania legislators got an earful from Energy Citizens about just how important oil and gas production is to the state. One topic dominated their discussions: the harm a severance tax would do to Pennsylvania’s Marcellus Shale production.
Energy Citizens met with the following lawmakers to express their opposition to a severance tax:
Sen. Chuck McIlhinney
Rep. Margeruite Quinn
Rep. Sam Smith, Speaker of the House
Rep. Dave Reed
Rep. Matt Baker
Rep. William Duncan
Rep. Scott Petri
Many legislators recognized the damage a severance tax would do. Others, however, remained steadfast in their support of it.
That’s why it’s so important for all Pennsylvania Energy Citizens to get active on this issue. Legislators who oppose a severance tax need your support to hold off the strong pressure to impose this damaging policy. On the other hand, severance tax supporters in Harrisburg need to hear from you why this tax will hurt Pennsylvania’s economy and destroy jobs.
If you’d like to meet with your local legislators on this issue, let us know. We’ll be happy to help you set up a meeting.
All over the United States, people are continuing to express anger over Vladimir Putin’s aggressive moves in Ukraine. Senator Rob Portman has been involved in standing up against Russia’s actions in that region, most recently as an observer during the most recent Ukrainian elections. Now he is supporting legislation to help this beleaguered country. A key part of that legislation is freeing Ukraine (and other European nations) from their reliance on Russian natural gas.
Sen. Portman explains the energy portion of his bill in the Cleveland Plain Dealer: “The bill authorizes exports of U.S. natural gas to all World Trade Organization members, including vulnerable countries in Europe such as Ukraine that depend on Russian natural gas exports.”
Due to the shale gas revolution, which Ohio is experiencing because of the Utica Shale, the U.S. has abundant natural gas resources to help Ukraine and other countries. For Ohio, this is a win-win situation. Natural gas exports would reduce the power of Vladimir Putin to threaten his neighbors. It would also spur more investment in the Utica Shale, creating jobs throughout our state.
Sen. Portman deserves credit for recognizing the importance of using American energy on the world stage. Let’s get American natural gas flowing to Europe and put Ohioans to work!
Kersey, population 1,500, is getting a hotel. About 15 miles away, Eaton, population 5000, is getting a new hotel, too.
“We haven’t had a hotel at all in decades,” said Eaton Town Manager Gary Carsten.
For Kersey, the hotel is just one new addition. Other businesses are opening or expanding, and developers have submitted a proposal for a new 10,000-foot mixed-use office and retail building.
What drives all of this growth? Nearby energy development.
Oil and natural gas companies want to provide lodging to visiting contractors and employees with convenient access to drilling sites. And so the hotels are going up—providing jobs for construction and later for operations.
Other businesses are prospering as well, including restaurants and an Eaton industrial clothing supplier. On top of supporting new local economic activity, oil and gas companies are paying severance and property taxes, public lease fees, and public royalties. In 2012, in total across the state, the energy industry contributed about $1.6 billion in public revenues. These funds are finding their way into communities—providing support for parks, road improvements, and other services.
Anti-energy activists—many located far from energy development—are often entirely disconnected from the communities that are directly benefiting from energy development. A small new hotel might not matter to you if you live in Boulder or Ft. Collins, but in places like Eaton or Kersey, it can anchor optimism and opportunity in your community.
When we consider and talk with others about anti-energy ballot measures, let’s remember Colorado towns that are seeing better days because of energy development. We wouldn’t want to turn back the clock for communities that have finally turned the corner on difficult times.
Anti-energy activists have set their sights on a new target: seismic surveys. The federal government is considering approving these surveys to determine how much oil and natural gas exists off our Atlantic coast. Activists know that stopping the surveys could end any chance of expanding offshore oil and gas exploration.
As part of the campaign to stop seismic surveys, there is a lot of misinformation about this process being spread. Energy Citizens should check out a letter by Chip Gill, president of the International Association of Geophysical Contractors, in theSt. Augustine Record.
As Gill points out, seismic surveys aren’t harmful:
“The federal government acknowledges seismic surveys pose minimal risks of danger, stating ‘To date, there is no evidence that serious injury, death or stranding by marine mammals can occur from exposure to air gun pulses, even in the case of large airgun arrays’… For 40 years, the industry has consistently demonstrated its ability to conduct seismic exploration in an environmentally responsible manner. There’s no scientific evidence demonstrating biologically significant negative impacts on marine mammal populations.”
Gill ends his letter pointing out that seismic surveys are essential for making an informed decision about offshore drilling:
“New seismic surveys will provide more accurate images of the subsurface, allowing policymakers to better evaluate the potential resource base. Seismic surveys are necessary in determining where oil and gas are underlying the Atlantic and for siting offshore renewable projects.”
This letter is a great reminder for Floridians about the facts of seismic surveys. Instead of relying on fear mongering, policymakers need to rely on the type of information that Chip Gill lays out.