Energy Tomorrow Blog
Posted May 11, 2015
Vice President Joe Biden underscored the administration’s call for infrastructure spending during a Bloomberg Government event that focused on the country’s deteriorating delivery and transportation systems.
Highlights include: The Washington politics of infrastructure spending is challenging. “The idea that there is a debate on the Hill on the need to invest in infrastructure is mind blowing,” Biden said. The world’s energy epicenter is North America, and the U.S. needs major investments in energy infrastructure. “We will face a national security dilemma” if we don’t enhance our energy infrastructure, he said. Companies need to have certainty that they can get their products to market efficiently.
Let’s pause a moment and consider these valid points on infrastructure from the vantage point of this administration’s crowning infrastructure decision (or non-decision): the Keystone XL pipeline.
In the Keystone XL, the administration has had the opportunity – for more than six years – to green light $5.4 billion in private infrastructure spending that would create jobs, boost the economy and transport oil from Canada and the U.S. Bakken region – reliably and safely – to our Gulf Coast refineries, enhancing America’s energy security. All with the simple stroke of the president’s pen.
Posted February 12, 2015
In a democratic republic like ours, the legislative branch is the voice of the people. Throughout the long – too long – debate over the Keystone XL pipeline, the White House has used politics to stymie a conclusion on the matter. But no more.
House approval of a Senate bill advancing the pipeline will require President Obama to finally decide. Bipartisan majorities in both houses of the Congress of the United States have spoken. The American people, through their elected representatives, have spoken. The president should listen.
Unfortunately, the White House has signaled that he won’t, that he will veto the Keystone XL bill. It would make a mockery of post-Election 2014 assurances from the president that he would work with Congress to accomplish substantive things for the American people. Substantive things like: 42,100 jobs that the U.S. State Department says would be supported by the pipeline’s construction, $2 billion in workers’ pockets and $3.4 billion added to U.S. GDP, according to State’s report, and 830,000 barrels of oil from Canada and the U.S. Bakken region – North American oil that would strengthen U.S. energy security
All of the above and more clearly make the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline in the national interest.
Posted January 10, 2015
Throughout the Keystone XL pipeline’s long wait for federal approval, President Obama has used one excuse after another to deflect responsibility for blocking a project that polls in the 70s with the American people, one that would support thousands of U.S. jobs and help move the country closer to North American energy security. All along the way the president could have exercised his authority to say yes to all of the above but deferred instead.
The president said environmental questions needed answers, and they were provided by his own State Department, which cleared Keystone XL in five separate environmental reviews.
The president said the cross-border approval process – required because Keystone XL would cross the U.S.-Canadian border – needed to run its course. It did and then some, stretching now to more than six years when historically, cross-border approvals are granted in 18 to 24 months.
The president said Nebraska needed to work out the pipeline’s route through that state, which it did. Then the president said the state’s Supreme Court would have to settle a legal challenge over the re-routing process.
On Friday, Nebraska’s high court rejected that challenge, confirming the assessment of the state Department of Environmental Quality and the governor’s recommendation to the State Department – leaving the project with only one remaining obstacle: President Obama.
Posted September 18, 2014
Since its inception the U.S. tax code has allowed taxpayers to recover business costs and be taxed only on net income – the idea being that quick recovery of costs would help spur reinvestment and support business expansion. This, in turn, boosts the economy and serves the national interest.
It is working in energy. Because of the cost of drilling wells and the need to invest in a depleting asset, cost recovery and reinvestment is an important part of the reason America has an energy revolution today. Mechanisms like the one for intangible drilling costs (IDC) help support the entrepreneurial risk-taking and investment that keep the revolution going.
Posted August 6, 2014
America’s oil and natural gas industry sends an average of $85 million a day to the federal government in the form of taxes, rents, royalties and bonus payments. Averaged over 2007-2012, the industry’s effective tax rate – income taxes paid to governments, divided by pretax income – was 44.6 percent. That’s well above the averages for other industries over the same time period.
We say all that to say this: Attacks that claim the oil and natural gas industry isn’t paying its fair share and/or that it gets special treatment are ridiculous. Industry is paying its fair share and then some – even as it supports 9.8 million jobs and 8 percent of the U.S. economy.
Posted June 20, 2014
Houston Chronicle: Oil, natural gas and coal have boosted living conditions around the globe, but policies to replace those fossil fuels "with inferior energy sources" could undermine those improvements, a former Texas environmental regulator argues.
In a 36-page paper - "Fossil Fuels: The Moral Case" - Kathleen Hartnett White, former chairman of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, insists that access to oil, natural gas and coal are inextricably linked with prosperity and well-being.
Policies targeting heat-trapping greenhouse gases - including the Environmental Protection Agency's new plan for throttling carbon dioxide emissions from existing power plants - overlook "the inestimable human benefits of fossil fuels," White says.
"Energy-dense, abundant, versatile, reliable, portable, and affordable, fossil fuels provide over 80 percent of the world's energy because they are superior to the current alternatives," White writes.
Posted April 15, 2014
Last month a new study said more than $640 billion in energy infrastructure investments will be needed in the U.S. over the next two decades. Needed are pipelines, pumps and other infrastructure to keep pace with expected increases in domestic oil and natural gas production, the ICF International report said – much of it coming from energy reserves found in shale and other tight-rock formations through advanced hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling. ICF:
“Sufficient infrastructure goes hand in hand with well-functioning markets. Insufficient infrastructure can constrain market growth and strand supplies, potentially leading to increased price volatility and reduced economic activity.”
Posted February 25, 2014
The energy industry is working for America. A new Manhattan Institute report finds that in the slowly recovering U.S. economy the oil and natural gas industry is creating jobs and generating broad economic stimulus. Top findings:
- While overall U.S. employment has yet to return levels predating the 2008 recession, the number of oil and natural gas jobs has grown 40 percent since then.
- The U.S. energy revolution is almost entirely the result of development by more than 20,000 small and midsize businesses. The typical oil and natural gas firm has fewer than 15 employees.
- Industry jobs are geographically dispersed. Sixteen states have more than 150,000 jobs in the oil and natural gas sector.
Posted January 8, 2014
During Tuesday’s State of American Energy address, API President and CEO Jack Gerard sketched out a more secure energy future for the United States – based on increased access to domestic oil and natural gas reserves, industry technology and ingenuity and a business/investment climate that allows development to go forward.
Let’s focus on that last part, which is less a request for government to do something than simply asking it to avoid hindering safe and responsible energy development through misguided policies and overreaching regulation.
Posted September 26, 2013
The promise of American energy is something we have written about a lot on this blog. From the millions of more jobs the industry could support to the economic lift to local economies, energy benefits are real and tangible.
So a blog post from the Progressive Policy Institute’s Diana Carew caught our attention. Carew highlights the U.S. Investment Heroes report, in which eight of the top 25 U.S. Investment Heroes of 2013 were energy companies. Carew:
“…the sheer magnitude of the investments by these companies means the contribution of the energy sector to economic growth should not be ignored or discounted in the larger conversation… our research found that of the three categories, energy companies were by far making the biggest bet on America’s future.”