Radical environmentalists are urging the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to heavily regulate or ban hydraulic fracturing (also known as “fracking”), the process employed to extract shale oil and natural gas from underground sources, which could undermine a thriving part of the post-recession economy.
The fracking boom has been one of the success stories in an otherwise tepid American economy, which is still trying to recover five years after a deep recession. Just last month Bloomberg Businessweek covered a recent study by IHS CERA that showed the significant economic benefits of fracking.
“In 2012, the energy boom supported 2.1 million jobs, added almost $75 billion in federal and state revenues, contributed $283 billion to the gross domestic product and lifted household income by more than $1,200,” noted Bloomberg Businessweek. “The competitive advantage for U.S. manufacturers from lower fuel prices will raise industrial production by 3.5 percent by the end of the decade, said the report from CERA, which provides business advice for energy companies.”
The Wall Street Journal noted last week that the United States is “overtaking Russia as the world’s largest producer of oil and natural gas,” producing the “equivalent of about 22 million barrels a day of oil, natural gas and related fuels in July” compared to the 21.8 million barrels produced by our former Cold War foe.
Written by Chip Knappenberger, Assistant Director of the Center for the Study of Science at the Cato Institute. Posted with permission from Cato @ Liberty.
The Washington Post has an article today on the battle over the Keystone XL pipeline. There is a sense of urgency on both sides as the decision on the project is expected to be fast approaching.
The Post features arguments from pipeline proponents that the project will provide an economic boost to the state of Nebraska, and from pipeline opponents that the oil carried though it will lead to more carbon dioxide emissions than previously thought, thus upping the impact on global warming and climate change.
But the numbers being tossed about don’t tell the whole story.
First, a look at the new economic claims. An analysis from the Consumer Energy Alliance concludes that during the two year construction phase of the pipeline, the economic activity in Nebraska will increase by a bit more than $400 million per year—generating directly or indirectly, about 5,500 new jobs. Sounds impressive, but this boost is short-lived. After that, for the next 15 years, the economic input drops down to about $67 million/yr, supporting about 300 jobs. A net positive, but not as much as many proponents claim.
President Barack Obama’s ideal clean coal plant is an expensive boondoggle that is causing consumers rates to skyrocket, long before its expected to come online. But this is only highlights one part of this administration’s agenda.
The push away from coal and nuclear energy and the focus on renewable energy in Germany has caused energy rates to rise, causing politicians to worry about the country’s international competitiveness:
The leader of Germany’s Social Democrats (SPD) said on Friday a new government must move quickly to rein in rising energy costs in order to safeguard the competitiveness of German industry.
Speaking a day after the SPD leadership agreed to enter formal coalition negotiations with Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives, Gabriel called Germany’s renewable energy law (EEG) an impediment to a successful exit from nuclear power.
“The EEG was a wonderful law when we wanted to support new technologies to make them competitive. Today, in its current form, it is the biggest obstacle for the energy shift,” Gabriel said in a speech at a union event in Hanover.
“We need to ensure that renewable energy is affordable. And we need to put an end to the idea that we can pull out of nuclear and coal simultaneously. This won’t work.”
The exact policies may not necessarily be the same as those being pursued in the United States by the Obama Administration, but the basic point and end goals are almost identical.
A power plant in Mississippi that has been touted as an example of new clean coal technology has turned into a financial boondoggle for the Southern Company and ratepayers in the area, according to the Wall Street Journal, and that it could dissuade other power companies from taking similar projects (emphasis added):
Mississippi Power Co.’s Kemper County plant here, meant to showcase technology for generating clean electricity from low-quality coal, ranks as one of the most-expensive U.S. fossil-fuel projects ever—at $4.7 billion and rising. Mississippi Power’s 186,000 customers, who live in one of the poorest regions of the country, are reeling at double-digit rate increases. And even Mississippi Power’s parent, Atlanta-based Southern Co., has said Kemper shouldn’t be used as a nationwide model.
Meanwhile, the plant hasn’t generated a single kilowatt for customers, and it’s anyone’s guess how well the complex operation will work. The company this month said it would forfeit $133 million in federal tax credits because it won’t finish the project by its May deadline.
One of just three clean-coal plants moving ahead in the U.S., Kemper has been such a calamity for Southern that the power industry and Wall Street analysts say other utilities aren’t likely to take on similar projects, even though the federal government plans to offer financial incentives.
The National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) is out with a new ad against Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA). For those of who grew up during the day of the 8-bit Nintendo, it may bring back some memories.
The ad, which plays off the game Duck Hunt, ran on Wednesday during the season premiere of Duck Dynasty, which is based in Louisiana. It focuses on how Landrieu “keeps firing and missing” on several issues important to the Bayou State — including ObamaCare, job creation, and taxes.
In an effort to fight back against excessive regulations passed by cabinet-level agencies, the House of Representatives on Friday afternoon passed the Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny (REINS) Act by a 232 to 183 vote.
This measure would require congressional approval of rules and regulations that are expected to have an economic impact of more $100 million. These regulations adversely effect small businesses, have negative impact on job creation, and raise prices for consumers.
“For too long, Congress has allowed administrations of both parties to enact regulations at great costs to the American people with little oversight. The REINS Act would allow Congress to vote on new major rules before they are imposed on hardworking families, small businesses, and agriculture producers,” said Rep. Todd Young (R-IN), who sponsored the legislation. “Regardless of which party occupies the White House, this commonsense legislation is needed to restore the balance of power in Washington and return responsibility for the legislative process to Congress.”
Wayne Crew, vice president of policy at the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), hailed passage of the REINS Act.
“This is a great day for American taxpayers,” said Crews in a release from CEI. “Between ObamaCare and President Obama’s pledge to remake American energy policy through the regulatory process, it’s more important than ever Congress exercise its constitutional authority to vote on these executive actions that impose significant costs on the public.”
Rising living standards in Africa are apparently something to be frowned upon. During a townhall with the President of South Africa, President Barack Obama told people in Africa that cars and air conditioning in Africa are a threat to the environment and warned that the “planet will boil over”:
President Barack Obama said at a town hall event in Johannesburg, South Africa, on Saturday that unless we find new way of producing energy “the planet will boil over” if people in Africa are allowed to attain air conditioning, automobiles and big houses.
“Ultimately, if you think about all the youth that everybody has mentioned here in Africa, if everybody is raising living standards to the point where everybody has got a car and everybody has got air conditioning, and everybody has got a big house, well, the planet will boil over — unless we find new ways of producing energy.”
According to Obama, global warming constitutes “the biggest challenge we have environmentally,” one greater than all other environmental calamities like “dirty water, dirty air.”
However, the President’s statements do not reflect statistics released by the United Nations: Based on a data released in October, 2012, the World Health Organization estimated that “Global warming” is responsible for approximately 140,000 excess deaths each year.
By comparison, as many as three million people died from indoor and outdoor air pollution – in other words, over 20 times the number of alleged victims of global warming, according to the Word Health Organization.
Since President Barack Obama rolled out his energy plan on Tuesday, there have been a substanial backlash from members of Congress who represent coal-producing states.
New regulations that will be put in place through President Obama’s plan would result in the closing down on older coal plants, which many believe will weaken America’s energy grid, making it less reliable.
Among the loudest voices against the plan is Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), who once made waves when he fired a bullet through President Obama’s cap-and-trade bill in a campaign ad. During an interview with CNBC’s Larry Kudlow, Manchin said that Obama has declared a “war on jobs” and a “war on America” with his new energy plan.
“How [Obama] forgot how this country’s gotten where its gotten to now — the coal that’s really produced the energy for this country for so long. It’s defended this country, it’s made the steel that built the guns and ships and factories, and all of a sudden disregarded like that when they’re still depending, Larry, they’ll be depending on coal through 2040,” Manchin told Kudlow. “That’s his own Energy Department, EIA’s estimates. That’s 35% of our energy. I don’t know where it’s gonna come from. It’s gonna drive the price up, unbelieveable, and on top of that, thousands and thousands of jobs.”
“This is not just a war on coal, it’s a war on jobs, it’s a war on America,” he said.
You can’t say President Obama didn’t warn you. When he was running in 2008, Obama warned that “electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket” because of his energy plan.
Thankfully, Congress blocked some of the worst parts of the plan, which would have taken a significant toll on the economy and cost American families $1,761 each year. That, however, hasn’t stopped President Obama from pushing some his policies through executive and regulatory fiat, which completely bypasses the legislative process.
President Obama’s latest energy proposals, which will be implemented by the EPA, continues to show that he has no concern for the costs that are passed on to hard-working Americans.
Writing at FreeEnterprise.com, the official blog of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Sean Hackbarth explains that consumers can expect higher energy costs and a less reliable energy grid as a result of the policies.
In an effort to shift the narrative away from the series of scandals that have consumed his administration, President Barack Obama yesterday laid out a series of policies that he would be unilaterally implementing through executive action.
During the nearly 50-minute speech at Georgetown University, President Obama said that it is time for the United States to take action on climate change and derided what he called “doomsayers” and dismissed those who disagree with his approach as the “Flat Earth Society.”
“The 12 warmest years in recorded history have all come in the last 15 years. Last year, temperatures in some areas of the ocean reached record highs, and ice in the Arctic shrank to its smallest size on record — faster than most models had predicted it would. These are facts,” Obama told the crowd. “Now, we know that no single weather event is caused solely by climate change. Droughts and fires and floods, they go back to ancient times. But we also know that in a world that’s warmer than it used to be, all weather events are affected by a warming planet.”
The plan President Obama put foward put calls for a “low-carbon, clean energy economy,” which he said, “can be an engine of growth for decades to come.”
“And I want America to build that engine. I want America to build that future — right here in the United States of America,” he said. “That’s our task.”