Energy Tomorrow Blog
Posted January 5, 2021
As we begin the new year, it’s worth recognizing that the challenges facing our lawmakers are immense. But with consensus-driven approaches, we believe the public and private sectors can partner to deliver post-pandemic recovery and long-term economic growth for America.
Of course, rebuilding the nation’s economy will require realistic and workable energy solutions – ones that prioritize resource development and infrastructure expansion. Here’s why investing in modern energy infrastructure can build pathways for economic and environmental progress.
Posted November 24, 2020
The world changed on 9-11, mine and yours. ...
You’re probably like me. The vivid memories of that day make it hard to believe it happened two whole decades ago. We know now what we may have only sensed then – that 9-11 was an historic pivot point for the United States in terms of our economy, security and the way we approach life.
As president and CEO of the nation’s largest trade association representing the natural gas and oil industry, I’m reminded that 9-11 really helped galvanize our country’s focus on the security of our nation’s infrastructure to harden it against any future acts of terrorism, from our airlines to our supply chains to our energy grid. Natural gas and oil keep America running. After 9-11 we innovated and developed technologies to dramatically increase domestic production and become less dependent on foreign oil. We haven’t looked back; today, the U.S. is the world’s leading producer of the world’s more important energy sources.
9-11 is a big part of the reason that our industry’s approach to assessing risk shifted to a higher gear, to protect our facilities and networks against threats of terrorism – adding risk assessment to API’s body of work on standards that govern the way we operate.
Posted November 13, 2020
Some initial thoughts on energy policy as we look ahead to a new administration and Congress.
First, as API President and CEO Mike Sommers said over the weekend, natural gas and oil will continue to play an important role in the United States’ continued economic recovery – recognizing that, as the leading energy sources for the U.S. economy, the two are essential for growth. ...
Our country needs Washington focused on economic recovery and forward-thinking about energy and climate change, factoring in how much energy will be needed when the U.S. and global economies ramp up (see API Chief Economist Dean Foreman’s post, here), while building on reductions in emissions to date and fostering innovation that will enable a safe, secure and cleaner future. To that point, our industry supports continued development and wider deployment of carbon capture, utilization and storage as a tool to further reduce emissions, which the president-elect also supports.
Posted September 25, 2020
A call for environmental justice (EJ) is featured in U.S. House climate legislation being debated in Congress. While the EJ section of House Democrats’ climate plan focuses on environmental goals, one part calls for an energy justice and democracy program at the U.S. Energy Department to reduce energy poverty and to ensure communities have equitable access to energy efficiency and renewable energy.
Building or expanding America’s natural gas pipeline network is key to reducing energy poverty in the U.S. – seeing that Americans, no matter where they live, can get affordable natural gas for home heating, cooking and other uses. Thanks to abundant, affordable natural gas, U.S. power sector emissions of carbon dioxide are at their lowest levels in a generation. Increasing infrastructure capacity, increasing natural gas use, supports this beneficial trend.
Unfortunately, this kind of energy fairness isn’t a reality everywhere in the U.S. Some Americans have no choice but to use wood-burning fireplaces or stoves to heat their homes, due to the lack of safe, reliable pipelines and other infrastructure to get energy where consumers want and need it.
Posted August 26, 2020
As officials at the National Hurricane Center monitor the projected path of Laura (below, as of Wednesday evening), here are a few things to know about the U.S. natural gas and oil industry’s preparations:
1.We’re focused on the safety of workers, communities and infrastructure
2. U.S. energy leadership, lower demand mean inventories of refined products are strong
3. America’s energy infrastructure network is modern and diverse
Posted August 7, 2020
Modern, resilient natural gas and oil infrastructure is vital to maintaining U.S. energy affordability and economic competitiveness. As the industry undergoes rapid digitalization, reliability remains fundamental to energy operations, particularly as cybersecurity risks present emerging challenges.
The U.S. has been subject to an increasing volume of malicious cyberattacks from China, Russia and other foreign adversaries, posing a persistent threat to our national security and grid reliability. Within the next two years, 2.5 billion industrial devices will be brought online in the energy industry, meaning the need to protect our critical infrastructure assets has never been more urgent.
Posted August 6, 2020
There are two new developments with the federal Nationwide Permit 12 program (NWP 12), which is critically important for key infrastructure projects of all kinds. Both point to the need for a clear, efficient, common-sense permitting program that balances environmental protection with streamlining projects that have limited environmental impacts.
Achieving this is occurring on two tracks. U.S. senators have introduced legislation that would cut red tape and in the short term help reestablish regulatory order and allow infrastructure projects to proceed if they’re following certain species protection rules already in the NWP 12. Meanwhile the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has a proposal that includes renewing more than 50 Nationwide Permits for the next five years. This is important because the permits would expire in March 2022 otherwise.
Posted July 29, 2020
A metric that bears watching as we gauge energy markets, trade, manufacturing and supply chains – all of which contribute to global economic growth and prosperity – is FDI, foreign direct investment, especially for energy projects in the U.S. and other nations.
Recent data indicate that FDI has dropped by half since its peak in 2015, and experts believe that various factors, including the pandemic and escalated trade tensions, could continue or accelerate this decrease. This is potentially significant for the construction of new infrastructure, plants, processing facilities and other projects that have a direct bearing on better serving U.S. consumers and harnessing American energy.
Indeed, recent FDI trends signal a potential turning point.
Posted July 16, 2020
Improvements to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) – the first modernization proposed in nearly half a century – should help clear red tape that can bog down critical infrastructure projects for years and in the process block job creation and affect environmental protection.
The administration’s priority on updating NEPA to streamline infrastructure projects was clear in that President Trump made the announcement. The Council on Environmental Quality estimates that due to NEPA red tape, the average review takes nearly six years, and the average cost to complete a review is $4.2 million.
Modernization of NEPA is long overdue. NEPA review is a chief reason that building infrastructure has become so challenging in this country. A long menu of infrastructure projects has been impacted by protracted NEPA review, not just natural gas and oil projects (see previous posts here and here). These include airports, traffic improvements, wind farms and more.
Posted July 14, 2020
U.S. energy infrastructure is at an inflection point, with a number of important natural gas and oil pipelines sidetracked by red tape and court decisions within the past few weeks. Most outrageously, the Dakota Access crude oil pipeline, which has been operating safely for three years, was ordered shut down and drained by a federal judge. More on Dakota Access below.
The inflection point is this: Will we build the safe, modern energy infrastructure that broadly serves the public interest, creates thousands of jobs and harnesses abundant domestic natural gas and oil, or will narrow, often extreme interests continue to block the public good?