Energy Tomorrow Blog
Posted January 13, 2015
As the Keystone XL pipeline debate in Congress continues, working Americans are pushing back against those – including President Obama – who dismiss as “temporary” the jobs the project would support.
North America’s Building Trades Unions (NABTU) published an open letter to members of Congress that asks a simple question: “When did our careers and livelihoods become fodder for disdain and ridicule?”
Great question, because disparaging the more than 42,000 jobs Keystone XL would support during its construction – according to the U.S. State Department – has become a standard line of attack from Keystone XL opponents, from the president on down.
The union ad makes clear that those who work in the construction trades have had it with politicians who are double-tongued about the need to put Americans back to work and the need for infrastructure investment – while brushing off the way Keystone XL could help with both.
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 January 8, 2015
With legislation to advance the long-delayed Keystone XL pipeline moving ahead in the Senate, potentially attracting a misguided veto from President Obama, some important numbers:
76 – The number of months Keystone XL has been blocked by the Obama administration. Historically, approvals for cross-border pipeline projects take 18 to 24 months. Keystone XL’s history is something quite different – the story of how a shovel-ready infrastructure project was needlessly hijacked by politics.
830,000 – The number of barrels of North American oil per day that would flow through Keystone XL to U.S. refineries on the Gulf Coast, the vast majority of which would be turned into valuable fuel products.
42,100 – The number of U.S. jobs that would be supported during Keystone XL’s construction. That’s not industry’s number. That’s the number coming from President Obama’s own State Department. When he and others dismiss the project’s jobs impact, it reveals a serious lack of understanding of the way large infrastructure construction creates a positive ripple across the economy in terms of direct jobs, indirect jobs and induced jobs – all of which the White House fully appreciated when it was making the case for its federal stimulus package in 2009.
5 – The number of Keystone XL environmental reviews conducted by President Obama’s own Department of State.
5 – The number of State Department environmental reviews that have concluded Keystone XL would have no significant climate impact.
2 – The number of Pinocchios just awarded by the Washington Post’s Fact Checker to claims that Keystone XL will negatively impact the environment and that it would only be only a conduit for oil to be shipped overseas. (This follows the Three Pinocchios given to President Obama last fall for saying oil transported by Keystone XL would go “everywhere else” but the U.S. Bottom line, that’s a lot of Pinocchios.)
Posted January 7, 2015
The White House’s newly issued Statement of Administration Policy, announcing that President Obama would veto current, bipartisan congressional legislation to authorize construction of the Keystone XL pipeline does a couple of things.
First, it announces that the new era of cooperation between the president and the new Congress on issues that have consensus support – supposedly the mandate from voters in last fall’s elections – might be over before it starts.
Second, and no less serious, it shows that President Obama doesn’t listen – doesn’t listen to the American people, who broadly support the multi-billion-dollar, privately financed infrastructure that the president’s own State Department says would support more than 42,000 U.S. jobs during construction, generate $2 billion in workers’ earnings and add $3.4 billion to the economy.
Wrangling inside the Beltway isn’t new; Americans are used to that. But a president who stubbornly dismisses broad public opinion, as Mr. Obama is doing on Keystone XL, is concerning on a different level.
Posted January 6, 2015
The U.S. energy revolution is fundamentally empowering. There’s no better word for it. Because of resurgent American energy, our country has choices where the horizon once was filled with energy-based limitations.
Because domestic energy is more abundant, Americans have renewed mobility – literally, in the form of cheaper gasoline that’s largely the result of U.S. crude oil impacting global markets and economically, because of oil and natural gas industry-supported job creation and investment, and a manufacturing renaissance spurred by affordable fuels and feedstocks.
No less important: The United States is more secure in the world because we’re much less dependent on energy from adversarial sources. America's all-of-the-above energy potential is a powerful opportunity for the nation.
This is a special moment in U.S. history, the dawn of a new energy-driven reality that could sustain and grow American prosperity here at home and America’s influence in the world. It could – if we seize it.
Throughout his annual State of American Energy address, API President and CEO Jack Gerard struck the positive chords of possibility in an American energy era – possibilities dependent on our national leadership’s ability to support “smart, responsible and forward-looking energy policies that promote economic growth, job creation and U.S. energy security and leadership.”
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Posted December 31, 2014
So long, 2014. From an energy standpoint, you’ll be missed. Let’s count the ways:
Surging domestic oil and natural gas production – largely thanks to safe hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling – is driving an American energy revolution that’s creating jobs here at home and greater security for the United States in the world.
It’s a revolution with macro-economic and geopolitical impacts, for sure. But it’s also a revolution that’s benefit virtually every American.
Posted December 24, 2014
The gift that is American energy is seen in some key numbers: domestic crude oil production reaching more than 9 million barrels per day last month, the highest level in more than two decades, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA); total U.S. net imports of energy as a share of energy consumption falling to their lowest level in nearly 30 years during the first six months of this year; gasoline prices dropping to an average of $2.47 per gallon last week, their lowest point since May 2009, according to the Lundberg Survey Inc.
The first two numbers might not fully register with a lot of Americans. We’ll come back to them. The last one, gasoline prices, does so loudly.
Retail gasoline prices fell after crude oil prices dropped for the fourth straight week – a product of weaker-than-expected global demand and increasing production, which EIA says will save American households $550 next year, Bloomberg News reports. Trilby Lundberg, president of Lundberg Survey to Bloomberg:
“It is a dramatic boon to fuel consumers. (Gasoline) is a modest portion of our giant gross domestic product and yet it does have a pervasive and festive benefit to motorists.”
During this season of gift-giving and receiving, Americans should give thanks for the gifts of plentiful domestic oil and natural gas, modern technologies to harness them and an industry robust and innovative enough to bring the two together, resulting in surging, home-grown production. Indeed, the dramatic increase in U.S. oil production is the key addition to global supply that’s putting downward pressure on the cost of crude, the No. 1 factor in pump prices.
Posted December 18, 2014
Some interesting perspective on New York’s decision to ban hydraulic fracturing – from neighboring Pennsylvania, where safe fracking has lifted the state economy while directly benefiting cities and towns all across the commonwealth.
Jeffrey Sheridan, press secretary for Governor-elect Tom Wolf’s transition team (to the Philadelphia Business Journal):
“Governor-elect Wolf opposes a ban, and he will work hard to make sure the process is safe. … Pennsylvania's natural resources should help the commonwealth become an energy leader, including renewable energy and energy efficiency, as well as a magnet for investment and job creation. Governor-elect Wolf's priority is to ensure that Pennsylvania is an energy leader with all Pennsylvanians sharing in the prosperity.”
Pennsylvanians are indeed sharing in prosperity that’s being generated by shale energy development, via responsible hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling: More than $2.1 billion in state and local taxes paid by industry, more than $630 million distributed to communities since 2012 – including more than $224 million in 2014. Plus billions in royalties paid by operators to private landowners.
Posted December 17, 2014
Posted December 10, 2014
Two U.S. energy production updates and a new Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report showing the economic impacts of America’s shale energy revolution – which is driving overall U.S. production.
A chart from energy/economics blogger Mark J. Perry shows the impact of U.S. energy production on energy imports – measuring net petroleum imports as a share of products supplied. The chart shows steady increases in imports from the mid-1980s to an apex of more than 60 percent in 2005. Today, we’re looking at a percentage share that’s as low as it has been in four decades.