Energy Today - March 4, 2011
Posted March 4, 2011
USA Today: Natural gas jobs fuel Wyoming's population growth: Newcomers flooded into Wyoming in the past decade, chasing jobs in the natural gas industry. The energy boom raised the population of the country's least populous state by 14.1% to 563,626, according to Census Bureau figures released Thursday. "This is a completely employment-driven population change," said Wenlin Liu, senior economist for the state's Economic Analysis Division. The growth came in counties, largely rural, where natural gas exploration has taken off, said Robert Godby, a macroeconomic and regional economic policy specialist at the University of Wyoming. Sublette County led the pack. It grew 73% to 10,247 people. Every city has gained population since 2000. Gillette grew the most: 48% to 29,087. Sublette is home to Jonah Field, a substantial natural gas site. Gillette also is near a natural gas site. The flourishing energy industry has meant a healthy economy in Wyoming. The unemployment rate was 6.4% in December, compared with 9.4% for the country as a whole, according to the Labor Department. Fuelfix: Houston congressman to feds: Give drillers certainty (and permits): Scores of lawmakers -- led by Houston Democrat Gene Green -- today called on the Obama administration to streamline the way it reviews offshore drilling proposals and give oil and gas companies more guidance on how they can secure necessary permits for the work. The plea came in the form of a congressional resolution sponsored by Green, Rep. Charles Boustany, R-La., and more than 70 other lawmakers that asserts that "the nation's economy and security depends upon full and immediate restoration of shallow- and deep-water drilling operations in the Gulf of Mexico." The measure also insists that "responsible development" of oil and gas in Arctic waters near Alaska is essential to that state's economic health. The list of 78 co-sponsors includes lawmakers from the Gulf Coast, including these Texans: Republicans Michael Burgess, Kevin Brady, Blake Farenthold, Bill Flores, McCaul, Ron Paul, Ted Poe and Lamar Smith; and Democrats Henry Cuellar, Charlie Gonzalez, Sheila Jackson Lee and Eddie Bernice Johnson. The resolution -- essentially identical to one introduced by Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, last month -- would not be binding on the government even if it were passed by the House. But it is another way for drilling advocates in Congress to register their frustration with the Obama administration's handling of offshore oil and gas development since the blowout last year at BP's Macondo well in the Gulf of Mexico.
Bloomberg: Republicans Introduce Bill to Block EPA Greenhouse Gas Rule: Legislation to bar the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency from regulating greenhouse gases was introduced today by Republicans, who also lined up support from several Democrats in Congress. Matching bills by House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton of Michigan and Senator James Inhofe of Oklahoma, both Republicans, would bar the EPA from mandating emission limits from factories and power plants, while allowing a previous agreement the Obama administration reached with automakers to cut vehicle tailpipe emissions. EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, whose agency began on Jan. 2 to regulate gases blamed for contributing to climate change, has said President Barack Obama would veto any attempt to stop the rules. Upton said the regulations would increase energy prices that are already rising. "The very last thing the federal government should do is make matters worse by intentionally driving up the cost of energy," Upton said in an e-mailed statement.
The Washington Times: Alaska's Parnell seeks tax cuts for oil, gas firms: Alaska's energy production is declining, and Gov. Sean Parnell is hoping to help revive it by cutting taxes on oil and gas production, modifying a tax structure implemented by then-Gov. Sarah Palin. House Bill 110 passed the House Resources Committee earlier this week by a 7-2 margin, a vote the governor applauded as necessary to strengthen an industry that provides 80 percent of Alaska's revenue and thousands of jobs in the state. "The state may still provide one-sixth of the domestic oil supply, but the volume from existing wells is dropping steadily," said the governor when thanking the committee for passing the bill and sending it to the Finance Committee. "Our state needs to increase our competitiveness and grow our economy. I look forward to the swift passage of this bill."