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Energy Tomorrow Blog

EPA is Late, Late, Late

renewable fuel standard  rfs34  ethanol  refineries  e15  engine safety 

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted November 5, 2014

A couple of quick observations on issues related to the flawed Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).

First, the ethanol use requirements for 2014 now are 11 months late. The requirements from EPA were supposed to be issued by Nov. 30 of last year, so that refiners could plan this year’s operations to comply with the RFS’ ethanol mandates. Instead, they’ve been forced to try to divine what EPA might require. Now, with roughly 330 of the year’s 365 days passed, the guessing game turned absurd long ago.

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The Holistic Approach to Rail Safety

regulation  energy safety  infrastructure  crude oil 

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted November 3, 2014

About a month ago, API President and CEO Jack Gerard stressed the importance of taking a comprehensive approach to develop new federal rules to govern the shipment of crude oil by rail – the soundest way to improve the North American rail network’s already strong 99.998 percent success rate:

“API supports a rule that ultimately improves the safety of rail transportation in North America through a holistic approach while allowing for the continued growth of the energy renaissance that has created and supported millions of jobs across the U.S. and Canada.”

The goal is realizing actual safety improvement. Industry is highly motivated in the quest for safety. Hess Corporation’s Lee Johnson, rail logistics advisor:

“My view has always been that I think the oil industry is maniacally focused on safety because of the consequences of failure in anything. … Everybody is very safety conscious, safety trained and well-equipped.”

With those stakes, developing the best safety rules possible is the objective. Industry believes improving safety is a multi-faceted endeavor – requiring enhanced prevention, mitigation and response measures – and it should be science-based.

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Safe Fracking Benefits America

fracking  hydraulic fracturing  safety standards  economic benefits  greenhouse gas emissions 

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted September 3, 2014

Following up on last week’s rebuttal of a truth-challenged attack on hydraulic fracturing in a USA Today op-ed, in which we detail how federal and state regulation, combined with industry standards are protecting the environment, water supplies and communities.

The op-ed by the Natural Resources Defense Council’s Amy Mall opens by posing a false choice for Americans: economic and energy security from development using fracking or safety. It continues:

… a controversial new extraction technology known as "fracking" — combined with unprecedented exemptions for the industry from bedrock federal environmental and public health laws — has fueled a recent explosion in domestic oil and gas development. And safeguards have not kept pace.

Fracking isn’t new. Earlier this year the U.S. marked the 65th anniversary of the first commercial use of hydraulic fracturing. Fracking pre-dates McDonald’s, diet soft drinks, credit cards and more – even Barbie. It’s a fact, and saying otherwise is dishonest.

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Comparing Apples to Corn – NASCAR and E15

e15  ethanol  engine safety  consumers 

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted July 29, 2014

We posted a couple of times on a Chicago proposal to require city service stations to carry E15 (here and here). The good news is that this bad-news idea looks like it’s stuck in first gear. Local reports say a City Council committee took no action Monday after a marathon hearing ran out of gas (their pun, not mine).  

The discussion included an E15 claim that’s worth another dose of debunking – that NASCAR’s use of E15 proves its suitability for your car or truck. Michael Lynch, NASCAR’s VP for green innovation, spoke at the hearing:

“We’ve been running now for six million miles, Sunoco Green E15 – which is exactly the kind of street fuel that is being proposed here – with great performance, and no issues whatsoever.”

Sigh. The what’s-good-for-NASCAR-is-good-for-the-family-car line, seemingly impermeable to fact, is a special favorite of the ethanol crowd (that’s Sen. Al Franken joy-riding the ethanol wagon, here). Previous posts debunking the NASCAR comparison herehere and here, but with racing’s 6 million-mile milestone approaching, we’ll take another shot.

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Chicago Speaks Out Against E15 Mandate

e15  renewable fuel standard  ethanol lobby  engine safety 

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted July 28, 2014

Chicago’s two largest daily newspapers both are editorializing against a proposed ordinance that would require the city’s gasoline stations to offer E15 fuel – a bad idea we debunked last week.

The Chicago Sun-Times and Chicago Tribune cite a number of similar reasons for opposing the E15 mandate: research showing vehicle engines could be damaged from using a fuel for which they weren’t designed or warranted; significant cost impacts on small business owners who would have to retrofit filling stations to accommodate mandated E15; and skepticism for E15’s promised benefits.

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A Commitment to Offshore Safety

oil and natural gas development  offshore safety operations  oil spill prevention  oil spill response  spill cleanup technology 

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted July 21, 2014

The recent International Oil Spill Conference (IOSC) in Savannah, Ga., underscored the oil and natural gas industry’s continuing commitment to safe energy development – using new technologies and deployed expertise to quickly and appropriately respond in the event of an accidental spill.

Below, check out a new video featuring conference attendees, talking about IOSC’s valuable role in bringing together experts, service providers and government officials in the broad effort to keep improving the safety of offshore oil and natural gas development.

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Keystone XL – Still a Good Idea

keystone xl pipeline  Environment  Economy  Energy Security  jobs  policy  pipeline safety 

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted June 25, 2014

A year ago President Obama clarified his position on the Keystone XL pipeline, saying that for him to approve the project it would need to meet two tests – that KXL would be in the national interest and would not “significantly exacerbate the problem of carbon pollution.”

The second point first. The environmental test has been passed – five times, in fact. The U.S. State Department’s fifth environmental assessment – which examined the Keystone XL’s construction, operation and the impact of increased oil sands development as a result of the pipeline – concluded that the project would have no effect on oil sands production and no significant effect on the environment.

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Advancing Industry’s Safety Culture

center for offshore safety  safety standards  offshore development  oil and natural gas 

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted May 16, 2014

Industry’s commitment to enhancing the safety to offshore energy development in the four years since the Macondo incident was reflected in a half-day program on prevention and response sponsored by the Center for Offshore Safety(COS) at last week’s Offshore Technology Conference (OTC) in Houston.

The COS hosted two panel discussions – one focused on developing effective safety systems, and a second that centered on the actions, processes and leadership needed to build strong safety cultures.

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Continually Raising the Bar on Safety

economic growth  oil spill prevention and response  Safety  Spill Prevention  spill response  dispersants  infrastructure 

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted May 8, 2014

Highlights from API President and CEO Jack Gerard’s remarks at the 2014 International Oil Spill Conference (IOSC) in Savannah, Ga.:

  • The United States’ rise to energy superpower status, built on surging oil and natural gas production, will demand increased energy infrastructure.
  • Greater demand for energy will spotlight the oil and natural gas industry’s ability to develop reserves, but also how well industry transports and stores the energy it produces.
  • Continuing to add to and improve industry’s ability to prevent and prepare for spills, as well as its response if incidents occur, will be key to sustaining America’s oil and natural gas renaissance.

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