energy independence

Frack Nation: A Systematic Takedown of Gasland

Frack Nation

I was one of the millions of people who had seen the footage of the “flaming water” supposedly caused by fracking in Pennsylvania, but had never seen Gasland or really studied the issue in depth. When the opportunity to attend the Los Angeles premiere of Frack Nation arose, I decided to see what the fuss was about. Cinematically and content-wise, Frack Nation did not disappoint.

Frack Nation starts with the same flaming water shot from Gasland that has alarmed environmentalists and the masses and describes the anti-fracking movement’s complaints. What was helpful for a newbie like me was to have the fracking process described in detail.

McAleer interviewed many of the farmers of Dimock, Pennsylvania, the “ground zero”  of this issue. The farmers almost unanimously want the ability to lease their mineral rights to the gas companies for fracking. Many of them are dairy farmers whose land has been in the family for generations. They passionately tell McAleer that they need this money to be able to survive, as farming is a money-losing proposition these days. It is what they love to do, and leasing mineral rights will allow them to do that instead of joining the ranks of the unemployed.

Just as passionately, they state they would never allow anything on their land that harms the environment. Their homes are on this land. Their dairy cows graze on this land. They’ve tilled this land for a lifetime. They are believable – they would not allow any process that harms their asset, the land, just for money.

Battling over Keystone XL

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.

Jay Carney lied to Americans about Keystone XL

As you know, the Obama Administration recently rejected the Keystone XL pipeline, a head-scratcher given that gas is expected to rise upwards of $4 a gallon in the coming months. It’s also odd given the dire need for jobs, and the pipeline would have certainly aided those efforts.

Oddly, however, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said yesterday that his boss, President Barack Obama, wasn’t to blame for the rejection of the Keystone XL pipeline. According to the White House, congressional Republicans are to blame:

Obama’s Keystone XL rejection leaves America as losers

I like to think that while I am a very well informed person when it comes to US political news, I generally remain somewhat detached regarding what the latest artificially created crisis du jour facing the nation is.  I find that regardless of what dire consequence both sides try to convince us will happen if the other side gets their way, life goes on, business as usual for the rest of us, and inevitably some compromise is reached which allows both sides to claim victory.  It is a cycle I’ve seen play out so many times in my relatively short time on Earth that I find it quite comical.  However, I do find my blood pressure rise ever so slightly when contemplating the mismanagement and lack of leadership in energy policy in this country.  The recent Keystone XL Pipeline debacle is a perfect example of how DC politicians chose to put political posturing ahead of US energy security, national security and true environmental policy.

The GOP’s Energy Economy Short-Sightedness: It’s the Internet, Stupid

Though I didn’t notice it at the time, techPresident’s Nick Judd makes a very astute observation about the recent Bloomberg/Washington Post GOP presidential debate on the economy:

 

  • Number of times the Internet was mentioned by name in a debate about the economy: 2.
  • Number of jobs that were in the American information sector in 2007: 3,496,773.

 

Texas Governor Rick Perry will unveil his economic plan in Pittsburgh (emphasis mine):

My plan is based on this simple premise: Make what Americans buy. Buy what Americans make. And sell it to the world. We are standing atop the next American economic boom…energy. The quickest way to give our economy a shot in the arm is to deploy American ingenuity to tap American energy. But we can only do that if environmental bureaucrats are told to stand down. My plan will break the grip of dependence we have today on foreign oil from hostile nations like Venezuela and unstable nations in the Middle East to grow jobs and our economy at home.

Congress raiding our Oil: About to require the sale of U.S. SPR (Strategic Petroleum Reserve) to fund additional spending

Today, as part of H.R. 2354, Congress is requiring the sale of $500 million of Strategic Oil Reserves - and then requiring any money from those reserve sales be used to fund additional spending as part of the general treasury.

This sets a terrible precedent, threatens our national security and is in all likelihood not entirely legal.

On the floor of the house today Congressman McClintock called it a scandal - and we agree. This is nothing more than accounting tricks and blatant disregard for the very idea behind the Strategic Oil Reserve.

The vote is tomorrow, spread the word.

Obama’s decision to release oil from reserve is too little too late

I was puzzled by the recent news that PresBO has decided to release 30 million barrels of oil from the US Strategic Petroleum Reserve and several days later, my confusion remains despite reading a number of articles addressing this surprising move.  It occurs to me that it is just indicative of the current administration’s leadership strategy, which is frankly equal parts reactionary and political, but always misguided.

So here are my thoughts on this current attempt to ease the high prices Americans are facing at the gas pump…

First, this move is too little too late.  The fact is oil prices were at their peak around April of 2011 and have been steadily declining over the last few months so that prices were already easing slightly.  So why release this oil now?  Particularly when we are in the beginning days of hurricane season, and we realize how beneficial it is to have the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR), for example, in the days following Hurricane Katrina, when supply was majorly disrupted.  So, instead of maintaining the SPR until a real crisis occurs, the President has opted to release 30 million barrels of the Reserve for seeming little more that earning political brownie points with the American people.

Green Energy: Barack’s Magic Beans

According to the Lundberg Survey last week, while the national average for gasoline is approaching $4/gallon (prices having increased for 35 straight days), the highest gas prices in the nation are to be found in Chicago, which is reporting an average price of $4.27/gallon, with some stations charging as much as $4.60-$4.70 per gallon. I am tempted to feel sympathy for them, at least until I remember that they are the ones responsible for politically nurturing and elevating the current occupant of the White House to that esteemed position, a man that adores a statist, command-and-control economy where government dictates the terms under which goods and services are exchanged. When I think about that, I lose my religion and think they have not suffered enough.

Barack Obama, channeling his inner Bill Clinton (you remember him, the first black president), now tells us that he feels our pain but that, unfortunately, there is no “silver bullet” that will make gas prices come down in the short term. That may be the closest he has come to making a true statement on the subject since he told us as Candidate Obama that his policies would “necessarily cause energy prices to skyrocket”. Now faced with declining poll numbers and rising anger at the cost of gas, Obama does what every political charlatan does best…find a scapegoat.

The U.S. needs an “all of the above” energy strategy: House members are making a big push to expand offshore energy production

offshore platform

A group of House members is working to gain support from their colleagues to encourage the Department of the Interior to expand offshore energy access in the next Five Year Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program.

Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-SC) is spearheading the effort along with Reps. Bill Flores (R-TX), Richard Hudson (R-NC), and Scott Rigell (R-VA) to make offshore energy access — not just in the Gulf of Mexico but also to the Mid- and South-Atlantic as well as the Arctic — part of the United States’ energy strategy.

“[W]e believe that when Americans are free to dream and innovate,” the four House members wrote in a memo to their colleagues, “they will always find cheaper, cleaner, safer, and more efficient ways to use and produce energy.”

By gaining support to expand offshore drilling in the House, these four members hope they can prod the Interior Secretary Sally Jewell to make it a more prominent feature in the Five Year leasing program for 2017 to 2022. Along with the memo to colleagues, they’ve circulated a copy of the letter they intend to send to the Department of the Interior.

“Countries like Canada, Mexico and China are ramping up their efforts to develop their offshore resources and directly competing with the United States. Simply put: the status quo will not suffice,” the letter says. “By producing more American energy from our [Outer Continental Shelf] resources, we can help to insulate our nation from global price shocks and put the United States and our allies on a more secure path.”

Mary Landrieu fires and misses on issues dear to Louisiana

NRSC --

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.

Landrieu, who could be vulnerable next year, voted for ObamaCare in 2010 and has constantly voted against efforts to repeal it, including the most recent vote in March.

 


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