Energy Tomorrow Blog
Posted January 15, 2016
Federal officials followed President Obama’s State of the Union pledge to change Washington’s management of fossil fuel resources by announcing the government will stop issuing new coal leases on federal lands. The president’s keep-it-in-the-ground energy strategy, first voiced when he rejected the Keystone XL pipeline last fall, continues unfolding.
Unfortunately, the president doesn’t seem aware that his administration could blow a generational opportunity for America, one that’s being provided by the ongoing revolution in domestic oil and natural gas production. That he doesn’t see it helps explain the disconnect in his connecting of these thoughts during the State of the Union:
“… we’ve cut our imports of foreign oil by nearly 60 percent, and cut carbon pollution more than any other country on Earth. Gas under two bucks a gallon ain’t bad, either. Now we’ve got to accelerate the transition away from old, dirtier energy sources.”
Respectfully, Mr. President, falling oil imports, reduced U.S. carbon emissions and $2 gasoline are reasons to sustain and grow America’s energy revolution – not reasons to kneecap it.
Posted January 12, 2016
During his last State of the Union address, President Obama could declare victory – an energy victory that has seen surging domestic production, lower consumer costs, economic growth and environmental progress, all happening together, on his watch. The president can say this U.S. model is winning the day, because it is. He should say this model is exportable to the world, because it is.
Fact: The U.S. is the world’s No. 1 producer of oil and natural gas. The domestic revolution in the production of oil and gas has reduced net oil imports and positioned the U.S. to claim its place as a major player in global energy markets. At the same time, the U.S. is leading the world in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Fact: Affordable natural gas – the average price at the national benchmark Henry Hub in 2015 was the lowest since 1999 – is largely the reason wholesale electricity prices at major trading hubs (on a monthly average for on-peak hours) were down 27 percent to 37 percent across the U.S. last year compared to 2014. That’s a real benefit for consumers.
Fact: Natural gas is winning in the marketplace. This is reflected in data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration showing the change in annual U.S. energy consumption by fuel source over the past decade.
These are all characteristics of the U.S. model, a market-driven model for energy growth, consumer benefits and climate progress. The president can own it. We wouldn’t mind a bit.
Posted November 10, 2015
It’s too bad that when President Obama finally announced his decision on the Keystone XL pipeline, he turned his back on American jobs, economic growth and increased energy security – each of them compelling, “national interest” reasons for building the pipeline. Also unfortunate is that the president also turned his back on science and fact.
Read the State Department’s final word on Keystone XL, and you see that State, as it said in its previous environmental reviews, acknowledges that the pipeline would have little to no climate impact.
The Keystone XL rejection was about perceptions and appearances – perceptions the president and his administration created, detached from science and fact set forth in State’s analysis, to help cultivate the appearances of climate change leadership.
Throughout Keystone XL’s tortuous, seven-year slog at the White House, the pipeline – this pipeline – was a symbol, a foil the administration used to help keep the professional activist class activated and the world climate community applauding.
Posted November 6, 2015
With President Obama’s unfortunate decision to reject the Keystone XL pipeline, look for a number of reports and analyses advancing the notion that the president’s decision is a “stunning defeat” for our industry, Canada and members of Congress who support the project. We disagree.
Canadian oil sands development that Keystone XL would have helped facilitate will continue. As an IHS study detailed earlier this year, oil sands production is critically important to North American supply and U.S. security, and it will go on – as will efforts to get Keystone XL off the drawing board, built and operating – creating jobs and increasing energy security.
The real defeat in the president’s decision has been inflicted on the American people. It’s their present and future that have been dealt a severe blow by a White House that ultimately valued out-of-the-mainstream political interests over the national interest.
Posted October 19, 2015
The question Americans should be asking right now: Why is the Obama administration actively working to clear the way for Iran to resume trading its crude oil on the global market while it opposes legislation that would do the same for U.S. oil?
It’s a great question for which the administration can offer no good answer, because there isn’t one.
Yet, that’s the policy disconnect that is unfolding before Americans’ very eyes, with the weekend news that the administration approved conditional sanctions waivers for Iran that at some point will let the Iranians resume exporting their oil to the world – within days of the White House threatening to veto bipartisan legislation in Congress that would end the 1970s-era ban on U.S. oil exports.
Posted August 28, 2015
When President Obama arrives in Alaska on Monday, he is expected to spend much of his time talking about climate. From a White House explainer on the president’s visit:
… President Obama will travel to Alaska and shine a spotlight on what Alaskans in particular have come to know: Climate change is one of the biggest threats we face, it is being driven by human activity, and it is disrupting Americans’ lives right now.
What the president should hear is that the people of Alaska, one of the most energy resource-rich states in the Union, embrace both energy development and climate and environmental goals. They’ve lived that embrace and depend on it. They’re wary of Washington disrupting the relationship. While the Obama administration has approved Shell’s exploratory drilling in the waters off the state’s northern coast, it also has moved to exclude energy development in other state areas.
Posted August 25, 2015
Earlier this year at the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) annual conference in Washington, ClearView Energy Partners’ Christine Tezak described the Obama administration’s energy policy as “give a little, take a little,” further characterizing it as “transitioning from scarcity to adequacy.”
It’s accurate. Handed a generational opportunity by America’s energy revolution to advance U.S. economic and security interests, the administration has responded by alternately embracing oil and natural gas development (in limited ways) and working to corral it. Given the chance to build a comprehensive, long-term energy strategy to carry the United States safely into mid-century, the administration has played “small ball” on the energy development side while unleashing a flood of unnecessary, self-limiting proposals largely untethered to scientific and economic analysis.
Posted July 28, 2015
As a pending energy issue whose lack of resolution is penalizing U.S. consumers and U.S. energy security, the Keystone XL pipeline may be unsurpassed in its importance.
It’s a $5.4 billion piece of strategic energy infrastructure that unfortunately has become a political football during nearly seven years of White House delay. It’s delay not based on Keystone XL’s energy and economic merits or its climate impacts – all exhaustively analyzed by five U.S. State Department reviews (latest one here). Rather, the project has been delayed because of an extreme, off-oil agenda whose proponents made a privately financed infrastructure project that this country needs into a political symbol.
Posted July 10, 2015
Here’s one takeaway from IHS’ new research report on Canadian oil sands: Thank goodness for Canada and its oil sands.
Along with our own domestic energy renaissance, oil sands imports from our northern neighbor and ally are growing America’s energy security. Oil sands crude is critically important now and will be into the future, IHS says – which is why we here in the United States should be ever so grateful for our energy partnership with Canada and attentive to ways that relationship can be strengthened.
Yes, that’s a reference to the long-languishing Keystone XL pipeline. If we’re serious about oil sands development – and IHS’ report strongly suggests Americans should be – then we should quit politicking to death the single biggest infrastructure project at hand that would facilitate oil sands transportation to the U.S.
Posted June 23, 2015
Fuelfix.com – President Barack Obama “understands” the argument for exporting U.S. crude, a leading Democratic advocate said Monday.
“He understands,” Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., said on CNBC’s “Squawk Box.” “He is in that category of understanding. I think his State Department understands how significant this could be to soft power. I think his Energy Department understands that this is bad economics and bad for the resource.”
Heitkamp stressed that she couldn’t speak for the administration, but added that “at the highest level, they understand this policy is not a good policy.”
Still, when it comes to the politically treacherous subject of widely exporting U.S. oil — which has been under heavy restrictions since the 1970s — “everybody wants to get together and . . . make a bipartisan decision to do this,” Heitkamp added.