Spring 2012   —   Issue # 2012-02

Resource Metrics
 

Poll Watch

Most Americans Think
Gas Could Top $5/gallon

Asked whether gasoline will top $4 a gallon and if $5 a gallon is possible:

55% at least “somewhat likely”

38% view that as “unlikely”

24% “Very Likely”

12% “Not At All Likely”

Government regulations and unrest in the Middle East are seen as the chief culprits.

Source: Rasmussen Reports
February 23, 2012.

 

 

 

Focus on: Balanced Energy Policy

An Urgent Campaign to Balance Economic, Energy, & Environmental Policy in the U.S.

Most of us know the bad news. This month gasoline prices rose to a recovery-killing $3.52 per gallon nationally and Rasmussen reports that most Americans fear it will go to $5.00. Gasoline was $1.89 per gallon in 2009 when Obama took office. Credit the rise, in part, to Obama’s restrictions on development of U.S. energy resources in oil, coal, and energy transport industries. But stand by for more. More restrictions on oil refining, development of natural gas, and use of clean coal by American electric utilities, could/will soon increase the cost of gasoline, home heating and electric power for consumers in the mid-west.

As reported in the February 24, 2012 Washington Post, Jack Gerard, President of the American Petroleum Institute, said, “When the president talks about ‘all of the above’ to describe his [energy] policy, unfortunately he leaves out the oil and natural gas industry. If you look at the policies he’s advanced of oil and natural gas, everything has been to discourage domestic production.”

animation

The Obama administration is choking “what works” in U.S. energy and economic balance while wasting billions of dollars in subsidies to (political supporters promoting) unproven “green” energy technologies – and all the while, ignoring federal regulation Executive Order 13211 to conduct economic impact analysis on newly promulgated environmental regulations. This bad news must end. America’s energy and environment protections must be brought back into balance – because there is good news we need to get on with. America has enormous energy reserves. Re-balancing U.S. energy and environment policies will enable safe and clean development of American energy resources and could:

Yield an additional 4 million barrels’ worth of oil and natural gas per day by 2020 – and reduce energy costs;

Create 1 million additional jobs, in the energy sector by 2018; and

Generate $127 billion in additional revenue to government by 2020. That kind of revenue generation already is occurring in energy states like Texas, Pennsylvania and North Dakota, where tax collections from oil and gas activity are growing the general fund balance in dramatic fashion.

Restoring Balance Through the Freeze & Balance Campaign

Anti-energy Obama activists are already organized. The Daily Caller this week reported that in July 2008, the $789 million Rockefeller Brothers Fund proposed to coordinate and fund a dozen environmental and anti-corporate activist groups to scuttle the Keystone XL pipeline project and other energy development projects. Reportedly, funding went to the usual suspects: Greenpeace, the World Wildlife Fund and the Sierra Club. But unlike the sabotage tactics of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, The Freeze and Balance Campaign is a transparent, plain-sight, public education campaign to restore balance in America’s energy, environmental and economic concerns – and centers on the urgent passage of The Freeze and Balance Act of 2012 (FBA).

The Freeze and Balance Act would freeze the implementation of all regulations which have restricted energy supplies to American consumers since 2009 – until such time as the issuing agency includes energy impact statements done by the Department of Energy and economic impact statements done by the Department of Commerce in reports to Congress and the public. If an agency tries to implement a regulation without publishing these assessments, then states and other harmed parties could block the rules from taking effect until the statements are done, and in compliance with the law.

We need grassroots support from America’s energy producers and energy consumers. Contact Us to help your industry and help yourself by restoring low-cost, clean American energy.

Advocacy Works!

When Congressional constituents rebelled against Obama’s anti-energy “Cap and Trade” legislation and 2010 election results removed that immediate threat to the economy, the Obama Administration vowed to accomplish through regulation what it could not through legislation. Since 2010 unelected and unaccountable bureaucrats at the EPA have issued a series of regulations whose intent is to impose what amount to “Cap and Trade” limits on “greenhouse” gases without the elected Members of Congress having any say in those policies. Enactment of the “The Freeze and Balance Act” is designed to change that.

Nothing is more fundamental to economics than the concept of trade-offs – balance. The goal of the FBA is simply to assure that policymakers and the public have enough information to know what the trade-offs of a particular regulation are likely to be before it goes into effect. These new economic and energy impact statements when combined with the environmental impact statements which are already required would allow, sometimes for the first time, an official evaluation of the balance between its predicted costs and benefits. The stakes are high. America cannot afford to ignore the cost of regulations which substantially affect our economy and our future.

The Freeze and Balance Campaign is an umbrella concept which addresses the shared industrial threats to the oil, gas, coal and energy transportation industries – and the shared economic threats to America’s energy consumers. We need grassroots support from America’s energy producers and energy consumers. Contact us to help your industry and help yourself by restoring low-cost, clean American energy.

James Wootton,
Chairman, Partnership for America

Re-Balancing Focus: Oil

First Oil Drilling Obstructions; Now More Regulations on Refining

The Obama Administration has blocked drilling off-shore, though the Cubans are drilling in the same spaces. The Obama Administration has blocked additional oil development in Alaska. These two supply constrains alone could give Americans $5 a gallon gasoline this summer. In a February 24, 2012 editorial, The Wall Street Journal commented, “Mr. Obama sneered at expanded drilling as a candidate in 2008 and for most of his term has done little to expand it.” And when not blocking drilling, the Obama Administration has tried, but so far failed, to block construction of the critical Keystone KL pipeline to transport oil to American refineries – and increase gasoline supplies.

But now – in February 2012 – The Obama administration is going after U.S. oil refineries that produce gasoline. How does $6 dollar a gallon gasoline sound? Here are excerpts from a February 10, 2012, Press briefing on EPA air rules for refineries Howard Feldman, API director of regulatory and scientific affairs.

Over the past two decades, America’s refiners have invested roughly $125 billion to make operations safer, cleaner and more efficient in ways that have resulted in significant air quality improvements, all while competing with foreign refineries.

Pending rules on refiners include EPA’s Tier 3 gasoline rules, greenhouse gas rules for refineries, new source performance standards for refineries, phase III of EPA’s tailoring rule, and the Boiler MACT rule.

While the specific elements for these have not all been set forth, they could constitute a veritable tsunami of added requirements that could put some U.S. refineries out of business, diminish U.S. fuel manufacturing capacity, and increase our reliance on imported fuels. At the same time, data suggest that the environmental benefits would be modest.

We hope OMB will take an objective look at the jobs impacts of these proposals and consider whether the limited environmental benefits are worth the costs to workers and their families. The president himself has called on federal agencies to take into account the impact of regulations on jobs and the economy. This is an opportunity for EPA to do just that. Maintaining a healthy and competitive refinery sector is vital to our energy security, our economic security and our national security. We must be sure that new regulatory proposals are necessary, practical, and fair.

Re-Balancing Focus: Clean Coal

Clean Coal for Continued Low-cost Electric Power

Last Fall, Illinois State Senator Mike Jacobs reported that the EPA inflicted major economic pain on the small Illinois towns of Meredosia and Hutsonville where plants were closed due to EPA’s “Utility Maximum Achievable Control Technology.” Jacobs says that 350 plants in small towns all over America could suffer the same fate.

According to the United Mine Workers, job losses associated with the the EPA’s economy-killing rules will lead to the closure of EPA-targeted coal units and could mean the loss of 50,000 direct jobs in the coal, utility and rail industries, and an indirect job loss figure exceeding 250,000.

What the EPA wants to do is FURTHER lower emissions from electric power plants. But here is the irony:

According to the EPA, SO2 emission rates from U.S. electric power production from clean-coal powered have declined by 71 percent from 1990 to 2009 – and are STILL DECLINING under current regulations.

According to the EPA, NOX emission rates from U.S. electric power production from clen-coal powered have declined by 77 percent from 1990 to 2009 – and are STILL DECLINING under current regulations.

So, under existing law, how low can NOX and SO2 go? Perhaps we’ll never know. EPA won’t wait to find out and is instead publishing more costly regulations for NOX, SO2, and other emissions. Here are the top EPA economy-killer regulations.

EPA’s New Greenhouse Gas Rule (GHG) — Negative Economic Impact: Increase U.S. Energy Costs/Reduce Household Income – average income dropping by more than $1,200 annually by 2030.

EPA has moved forward with greenhouse gas regulations under the Clean Air Act. On Jan. 2, the EPA implemented its GHG permitting program for certain sources that emit GHG’s above a certain threshold. In 2011, EPA will roll out GHG performance standards for power plants and refineries, including coal-fired power plants.

EPA’s New Transport Rule — Negative Economic Impact: Estimated Cost: $130 Billion by 2015*.

In 2005, EPA finalized the Clean Air Interstate Rule aimed at reducing nitrogen oxide and sulfur dioxide emissions by 70 percent by 2025. Only six years later, EPA is poised to impose a new nationwide mandate that, according to an analysis by Bernstein Research, has the potential to severely impact nearly 20 percent of the nation’s coal-based generation.

EPA’s New Ozone Rule — Negative Economic Impact: Estimated number of U.S. jobs lost: 7.3 million*.

After imposing new rules lowering standards for ozone to 85 parts per billion (ppb) in 1997 and reducing that number again to 75 ppb in 2008, EPA has proposed new reductions to as low as 60 ppb. According to an analysis by the Congressional Research Service, moving the goalposts yet again would push 565 new U.S. counties into non-attainment status under the Clean Air Act.

EPA’s New Coal Combustion Rule — Negative Economic Impact: As many of 350 coal-based facilities shuttered*.

Cement, drywall, kitchen counters, even bowling balls - just some of the products that rely on recycled coal residuals as an essential component in their makeup. Such recycling activities could come under new threat if EPA re-categorizes these materials as “hazardous,” costing as much as $75 billion over the next two decades according to the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI).

Re-Balancing Focus: Natural Gas

Natural Gas & “Fracking”

Another un-balancing is about to occur. We’ve seen this movie before. First the left-leaning enviros get some TV media going. Then the EPA does a “study.” Then the EPA regulates. JUST when it seems that American consumers are finally getting a break on some energy costs, such as home heating through natural gas – the EPA jumps in. Following the lead from their colleagues in the environmental left, here now comes the EPA hot to study hydraulic fracturing methods – which have recently produced new supplies and lower prices for natural gas.

Hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” is a proven and well-regulated technology. First used in the 1940s, hydraulic fracturing has unlocked massive new supplies of oil and clean-burning natural gas from dense deposits of shale- – by injecting a 99.5 percent water and sand into underground shale. Fracking has safely produced more than 600 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. But here comes the EPA.

With “concerns” about fracking, here comes the EPA, in it’s own words:

EPA scientists, under the Obama administration and at the direction of Congress, are undertaking a study of hydraulic fracturing to better understand any potential impacts of hydraulic fracturing on drinking water and ground water. EPA consulted with experts in the field through peer review and technical workshops, and engaged stakeholders in a dialogue about the study through facilitated public meetings.

EPA’s Dr. Paul Anastas: “Our quality assurance plans require audits of data, and sample analyses are subjected to onsite audits. We follow these established procedures to assure that only valid data are used in our reports.”

The scope of the research includes the full lifespan of water in hydraulic fracturing, from acquisition of the water, through the mixing of chemicals and actual fracturing, to the post-fracturing stage, including the management of flowback and produced water and its ultimate treatment and disposal.

EPA is working with states and other key stakeholders to help ensure that natural gas extraction does not come at the expense of public health and the environment. The Agency’s focus and obligations under the law are to provide oversight, guidance and, where appropriate, rulemaking. The Agency is investing in improving our scientific understanding of hydraulic fracturing, providing regulatory clarity with respect to existing laws, and using existing authorities where appropriate to enhance health and environmental safeguards.

Regarding the EPA, says Bob Dylan: “You don’t need a weatherman to know which way their wind blows.”