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Energy Tomorrow Blog

U.S. Energy – For Jobs, Government Revenue, More Trade

american energy  Economy  jobs  trade  manufacturing  exports  policy  ethanol  rfs34  keystone xl pipeline  fracking 

Mary Leshper

Mary Schaper
Posted February 3, 2015

NPR: As the economy continues to recover, economists are seeing stark differences between people with high school and college degrees. Four-year college graduates are nearly twice as likely to have a job compared to Americans who just graduated high school and stopped there. But economists say that doesn't mean everybody needs a four-year degree. In fact, millions of good-paying jobs are opening up in the trades. And some pay better than what the average college graduate makes.

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Yes, Keystone XL is in the National Interest

keystone xl pipeline  economic benefits  jobs creation  president obama  canadian oil sands  bakken shale  trade  infrastructure  senate  congress 

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted January 31, 2015

The long trail of “process” excuses for not approving the Keystone XL pipeline is coming to an end.

Five U.S. State Department reviews – all of them basically saying Keystone XL won’t significantly affect the environment – done.

Public hearings – done.

A new pipeline route through Nebraska – done.

By Monday, federal agencies must weigh in on whether Keystone XL is in the national interest. It is, as we’ll get into below.

The point is, after more than six years of process and review by the White House, we’ve come to the end of the processing and the reviewing. The administration stretched to 76 months a pipeline approval process that typically takes 18 to 24 months. It turned Keystone XL into a political football, punted here and there for reasons that clearly weren’t in the national interest.

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Rhetoric vs. Action – Exports Edition

crude oil production  exports  trade  economic benefits  gasoline prices  president obama  congress 

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted January 23, 2015

Earlier this month, then-White House advisor John Podesta said the Obama administration is unlikely to do more on the U.S. crude oil export ban beyond the Commerce Department’s recent effort to clarify the rules for exporting ultra-light crude known as condensates. Podesta told Reuters:

“At this stage, I think that what the Commerce Department did in December sort of resolves the debate. We felt comfortable with where they went. If you look at what's going on in the market and actions that the Department took, I think that ... there's not a lot of pressure to do more.”

It’s a strange conclusion given the weight of scholarship that says America’s 1970s ban on crude exports should be lifted – to spur domestic production, create jobs and put downward pressure on U.S. gasoline prices. It also would solve a growing mismatch between supplies of light sweet domestic crude and a refinery sector that’s largely configured to handle heavier crudes. ConocoPhillips Chairman and CEO Ryan Lance, speaking recently at the Center for Strategic and International Studies:

“(The condensates decision is) a help. … I question whether we’ll ever grow to a million barrels a day of condensate production, so it helps, but it doesn’t solve the problem. It doesn’t answer the issue that we’re going to have coming at us as a nation … crude that our refineries cannot refine. So it’s a help, but by no stretch does it solve the problem. We have to address the bigger issue.”  

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Keystone XL and Trade

keystone xl pipeline  economic growth  canadian oil sands  trade  exports  imports  infrastructure  president obama  state department 

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted January 22, 2015

During his State of the Union speech President Obama talked about expanding trade and building up the middle class. Both good objectives. And, while a president’s annual message to Congress usually is full of goals that are mostly aspirational, both of these are attainable – through energy.

First, the president could work to end the ban on the export of domestic crude oil, a relic of the 1970s and an era of U.S. energy scarcity. A supply of light sweet crude, mismatched for a refinery sector largely configured to handle heavier crudes, would be able to reach overseas markets. This would help support domestic production and jobs – many of them well-paying middle-class jobs – while benefitting our trade balance.

Likewise, the administration could stop slow-walking approvals for planned U.S. liquefied natural gas (LNG) facilities to export LNG to non-free trade agreement nations – again, spurring domestic production and jobs and improving America’s trade bottom line.

Both would increase the U.S. presence in global energy markets – expanding world supply, helping allies and strengthening American foreign policy – all consistent with our country’s status as an energy superpower.

Second and more specifically, the president could approve the Keystone XL pipeline. It’s needed energy infrastructure that would bring more than 800,000 barrels of oil a day from Canada and the U.S. Midwest, support tens of thousands of U.S. jobs – good middle-class jobs – and help strengthen the U.S. energy/trading relationship with Canada, our No. 1 source of imported oil.

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The Possibilities of Resilient American Energy

us energy  gasoline prices  crude oil  exports  trade  economic benefits  oil and natural gas production  keystone xl pipeline  fracking  regulation 

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted January 16, 2015

Bloomberg: Ending restrictions on U.S. crude exports could cut gasoline prices as much as 12 cents a gallon, a Columbia University study co-written by a former adviser to President Barack Obama has concluded.

Without the partial ban, domestic production might increase as much as 1.2 million barrels a day by 2025, making the U.S. more resilient to global supply disruptions, according to the study.

“Easing energy export restrictions does not raise gasoline prices for consumers,” Jason Bordoff, a former energy and climate adviser to Obama who is now director of the Center on Global Energy Policy at Columbia University, said in a telephone interview.

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The Science of Keystone XL

keystone xl pipeline  job creation  economic growth  oil sands  trade  congress  president obama  canada  refineries 

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted January 15, 2015

Facts and science over politics. That’s the way energy policy should be made. Too many policy matters in the energy space are being hijacked by politics. The Keystone XL pipeline is one example, as are some of the regulatory initiatives the administration is pushing right now. That’s not the way to craft good energy policy.

Keystone XL has been stuck on the drawing board more than six years because it was turned into a political football by the White House. Cross-border pipelines like Keystone XL historically have gained approval in 18 to 24 months. We’re at 76 months and counting for political reasons, not because of compelling scientific and economic analysis – as advanced in the five reviews conducted by the U.S. State Department.

Keystone XL finally has reached the debate stage in the Senate, but the White House is threatening to veto legislation that would advance the project. More politics, more delay, more missed opportunity for American workers and U.S. energy security.

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No More Excuses on Keystone XL, and More

keystone xl pipeline  oil sands  Economy  Energy Security  Environment  jobs  trade  lng exports 

Mary Leshper

Mary Schaper
Posted January 9, 2015

The Hill: The Nebraska Supreme Court on Friday struck down a lower court's challenge to the controversial Keystone XL pipeline, handing a key victory to proponents of the project. The decision overturns a lower court's ruling that had sided with landowners challenging Keystone's path through Nebraska. The lower court said a 2012 law that allowed Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman (R) to greenlight the route was against the state's constitution.

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The (Good) Economics of America’s Energy Boom

Economy  jobs  trade  fracking  keystone xl pipeline  affordable energy 

Mary Leshper

Mary Schaper
Posted January 8, 2015

Wall Street Journal: Justin Friend ’s parents have doctoral degrees and have worked as university lecturers and researchers. So Mr. Friend might have been expected to head for a university after graduating from high school in Bryan, Texas, five years ago. Instead, he attended Texas State Technical College in Waco, and received a two-year degree in welding. In 2013, his first full year as a welder, his income was about $130,000, more than triple the average annual wages for welders in the U.S. In 2014, Mr. Friend’s income rose to about $140,000.

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New Year Brings Energy Policies into Focus

energy policy  Energy 101  trade  Economy  imports  lng exports  keystone xl pipeline  soae 

Mary Leshper

Mary Schaper
Posted January 7, 2015

Wall Street Journal: The U.S. trade gap narrowed in November to its lowest level in nearly a year, reflecting gyrations in the oil market that mask strong underlying domestic demand for foreign goods. The trade deficit fell 7.7% to a seasonally adjusted $39 billion in November from the prior month’s deficit of $42.25 billion, the Commerce Department said Wednesday. The reading marks the smallest deficit since December 2013. October’s deficit was revised from an initially reported $43.43 billion. The narrower trade gap could support fourth-quarter economic growth. Barclays lifted it forecast fourth-quarter gross domestic product forecast to a 3.5% gain from a 2.7% advance following the trade report. Credit Suisse moved its estimate to a 3.2% advance from 2.9%.

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The President and Keystone XL: No Laughing Matter

keystone xl pipeline  president obama  job creation  economic growth  canadian oil sands  trade  infrastructure 

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted December 11, 2014

Near the end of his appearance on the “Colbert Report” earlier this week, President Obama tells host Stephen Colbert that getting things done is the real satisfaction he takes from his job:

“I love the job, and it’s an incredible privilege. But when you’re in it you’re not thinking about it in terms of titles. You’re thinking about how do you deliver for the American people?”

Ironically, the remark about delivering for the American people comes just a few minutes after the president offers up familiar excuses for failing to deliver for the American people on the Keystone XL pipeline. With Americans backing the pipeline by more than 3 to 1, it looks like President Obama isn’t listening to the people he’s supposed to serve – or is simply ignoring them.

The president’s Keystone XL rhetoric remains starkly at odds with the facts – including those proffered by his own State Department. State has completed five separate environmental reviews on Keystone XL over more than six years, all of which cleared by the pipeline. Whether President Obama is talking to business executives or cutting up with Colbert, he’s startlingly disconnected with fact on Keystone XL.

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