Tag: energy security

Poll Shows Over Two-Thirds of Americans Support Keystone Pipeline

While the Administration continues to stall on approval of the Keystone pipeline, a new poll released this week shows that more than two-thirds of Americans support building the project. The poll, published by United Technologies and National Journal, found that 67 percent of Americans support construction of the pipeline while only 24 percent oppose the project.

The Keystone XL pipeline is an essential part of an all-of-the-above energy strategy and will create thousands of jobs and enhance America’s energy security. That’s why the National Association of Manufacturers recently issued a NAM Key Vote Letter in support of H.R. 3, House legislation that would expedite approval of the Keystone XL pipeline.

It’s past time that the administration ends the delays and stall-tactics and approves this job-creating project. The longer we wait for approval, the longer it delays the creation of thousands of high-paying manufacturing jobs for American workers.

 

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Time for A Real “All of the Above” Energy Strategy

Energy prices are continuing to climb higher and higher, putting more pressure on consumers and businesses. When gas prices increase it takes a toll on manufacturers as transportation costs increase throughout the supply chain. These increased costs will impede manufacturers’ ability to expand and create jobs.

Today House Republicans rolled out a plan to help lower gas prices which includes expanding domestic exploration and drilling as well as expediting permitting for energy production on federal lands. We are pleased the debate on this important issue to our nation’s competitiveness is moving forward in the halls of Congress.

Manufacturers support a real “all of the above” energy strategy to lower gas prices and improve our energy security. We understand there are many forces at play in the global markets that determine the cost of gasoline. We also know that for too long this country has refused to develop and fully utilize its energy resources.

It is time to get on a path towards energy independence and self-reliance. We may never have the ability to determine the price of a barrel of oil, but one day we could be in a position where we are producing more oil domestically and won’t have to worry about where our oil is coming from. In the meantime, let’s start preparing today for energy independence tomorrow.

At this critical time in our economic recovery we cannot afford to take options off the table when it comes to affordable energy. We need expanded domestic production, both on and off shore, and a plan in place to work with our North American allies on developing additional resources and approval of the Keystone XL pipeline. We are hopeful Congress will take serious steps in moving forward with policies to lower the energy costs to bolster manufacturers’ competitiveness and create good, high-paying jobs.

Chip Yost is vice president for energy and resources policy, National Association of Manufacturers.

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President Obama: Boost Oil Output, Just Someplace Else

From Associated Press,”Obama says he wants oil producers to boost output“:

Amid a surge in the cost of gasoline, President Barack Obama said Tuesday he is calling on major oil producers such as Saudi Arabia to increase their oil supplies and lower prices, warning starkly that lack of relief would harm the global economy.

“We are in a lot of conversations with the major oil producers like Saudi Arabia to let them know that it’s not going to be good for them if our economy is hobbled because of high oil prices,” Obama said in an interview with a Detroit television station.

One would have thought the President would urge Saudi Arabia to discourage oil production and move quickly to a “clean energy” economy.

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On Oil, Instead of Raising Costs Through Taxes, Increase Supply

Jay Timmons, president and CEO of the National Association of Manufacturers, issued a statement in response to President Obama’s letter to Congress calling for higher taxes on domestic oil and gas production. Excerpt:

That misguided policy would result in more inflation, higher prices at the pump for already beleaguered Americans, and increased costs for products consumers need and use every day.Manufacturers support efforts to increase the use of clean energy sources and are helping to lead the way in meeting future energy demands with new energy sources. Until those alternative sources are cost-competitive with oil and gas and sufficient to meet this country’s demand for energy, manufacturers believe the United States should expand access to domestic energy by opening additional areas of the country – offshore and onshore – to exploration and development.

Timmons concluded: “President Obama wants to raise taxes on energy companies and, at the same time, reduce the cost of gasoline. He can’t have it both ways.”

John Felmy, chief economist of the American Petroleum Institute, had several pithy comments for the reporters. From USA Today, “Obama, Republicans tangle over oil subsidies“:

This is a proposal born of desperation that would do nothing to reduce gasoline prices,” said American Petroleum Institute chief economist John Felmy. “It would reduce investment in new oil and natural gas projects, cost new jobs and decrease oil and natural gas production.” (continue reading…)

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President Obama: Eliminate Oil Subsidies (That Don’t Really Exist)

President Obama has made criticisms of the U.S. energy industry a feature in his recent public appearances, especially the campaign fundraisers, and today he elevated the political misdirection with a “Letter from the President to Congressional Leadership Regarding Oil Subsidies.”

While there is no silver bullet to address rising gas prices in the short term, there are steps we can take to ensure the American people don’t fall victim to skyrocketing gas prices over the long term.   One of those steps is to eliminate unwarranted tax breaks to the oil and gas industry and invest that revenue into clean energy to reduce our dependence on foreign oil. Our outdated tax laws currently provide the oil and gas industry more than $4 billion per year in these subsidies, even though oil prices are high and the industry is projected to report outsized profits this quarter.

We must raise taxes on domestic oil and gas production in order to reduce our dependence on foreign oil! Is that really a serious argument?

No. No it’s not. Just as the President’s repeated attacks about “subsidies” and “tax breaks” for Big Oil are not serious arguments.

The American Petroleum Institute explains the realities of energy taxation in the United States in this fact sheet. Good to actually see some actual facts in this important policy debate.

The U.S. oil and natural gas industry does not receive “subsidized” payments from the government to produce oil and gas. However, there are many provisions in the tax code that allow companies to recover their costs. The oil and gas industry are eligible for these deductions, which are similar to, if not the same as, deductions available to many other industries.

Tax deductions should in no way be confused with subsidies. A fundamental pillar of the U.S. income tax system is that businesses are taxed only on net income. This means that there needs to be some practical and fair method for businesses to recover costs. The policies underlying cost recovery provisions in the tax code legitimately utilized by the oil and natural gas industry are no different than those for any other industry, and are necessary to insure that our industry is treated no differently than any other. (continue reading…)

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Energy Security, Energy Reality in America, Germany

Commerce Secretary Gary Locke spoke in Milwaukee today with WisBusiness.com filing a report:

MILWAUKEE — U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke told a Milwaukee audience the United States — and Wisconsin — needs to invest in alternative energy or it risks being left behind by other world powers.

“America doesn’t want to wake up five years from now asking itself how China was able to make the transition to alternative energy and not the United States,” Locke said during a speech to the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce on Tuesday. “If you don’t develop your industries in alternative energies here in the state, then those jobs will be created in another state. I can tell you countries like China are spending billions of dollars to create energy alternatives.”

Locke said one way to improve the economy is to break America’s “oil addiction.” Locke said the Obama administration has made major new investments in next-generation clean energy sources like wind, solar and biofuels, as well as a national smart grid that can deliver that energy to homes and businesses across the country.

Meanwhile, in Germany, the Fukushima-inspired decision of the ruling coalition to join the Greens and Social Democrats in supporting an expedited phase-out of nuclear energy is running into problems, which is to say, reality. From Der Spiegel, “Resistance Mounts to Germany’s Ambitious Renewable Energy Plans“:

To reach its goals of a nuclear-free Germany, Merkel’s government now plans to dot all parts of the country with massive wind turbines as well as high-voltage power masts needed to create a modern smart grid to transport the electricity supply from the windy north to the southern part of the country. A €5-billion ($7.25 billion) special program to expand wind parks in the North and Baltic seas will be launched this autumn. Central to the program, Brüderle and Röttgen write, would be a “joint initiative by the federal government and the regional states to identify suitable locations for wind power facilities.” Obstacles to planning approval such as restrictions on the height and spacing of the turbines “will be removed,” the paper says. …

Those are the requirements of the current zeitgeist, say the green revolutionaries in Merkel’s center-right coalition. They have public opinion behind them: More than 80 percent of Germans want to see the country abandon nuclear energy. But there is one major caveat: When it comes to major energy projects, most Germans do not want them in their own backyard. Just as soon as plans are unveiled for mass wind turbines near residential areas, home owners and locals are quick to organize local campaigns to halt construction.

Indeed, NIMBY is a phenomenon found across prosperous, industrialized countries. (continue reading…)

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Three Concrete Actions to Advance Energy Security

Ken Cohen, vice president of public and government affairs for Exxon Mobil Corporation, blogged his company’s reaction to President Obama’s speech on energy policy Wednesday.

Cohen’s commentary at the Perspectives Blog includes recommendations the Administration should undertake if the President really wants to achieve his stated goals, to “produce more oil (and gas) in America to help lower oil prices, create jobs and enhance our energy security.” It’s a very clear, very good statement.

From “Actions speak louder than words – especially when it comes to energy policy“:

  1. Approve the Keystone XL pipeline to bring Canadian oil to U.S. refineries. We can’t take advantage of Canada’s vast oil resources if we can’t get them here. Everything is ready to go – except government approval. Instead, the State Department announced another delay just a few weeks ago.
  2. Drop plans in the federal budget for billions of dollars in new, punitive taxes on U.S. oil and gas companies that will divert money from investments in new energy supplies. New taxes make U.S. companies less competitive internationally, and they discourage investment in energy supplies at home.
  3. Open up federal lands for oil and gas development. The tired and discredited “use it or lose it” talking point can’t hide the fact that there are millions of acres off limits to development of American energy resources. One recent study found that reversing drilling bans on federal lands could generate $1.7 trillion in government revenue over the life of the resource, create 160,000 jobs and increase U.S. oil output by as much as 2 million barrels a day by 2030.

Those three simple actions would send a message to the country that the president is serious about developing an energy policy that – as he says – will produce more oil in America, create jobs and enhance our energy security.

The Wall Street Journal also interviewed Cohen for its report, “Obama Adds New Luster to Old Calls for Energy Independence.

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U.S.-Colombia Trade Pact Would Strengthen Energy Security

William D. Marsh, a vice president for the top-tier oilfield service company, Baker Hughes Inc., was a witness Thursday at a House Ways and Means Trade Subcommittee hearing on the pending U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement (FTA). Testifying on behalf of the National Association of Manufacturers, Marsh made an argument that should carry more punch as gas prices rise: The FTA would contribute to America’s energy security.

From Marsh’s testimony:

Because of trade preferences, Colombia’s exports have been entering the United States duty free (though that has temporarily expired). By contrast, Colombia’s average duty on our imports from the United States averages five percent with some tariff peaks at 10 to 20 percent. Eliminating that duty would allow Baker Hughes to more effectively compete in Colombia, increase our exports to serve Colombia’s expanded plans for oil and gas projects, and create more highly-skilled jobs here at home….

[Colombia] is a major prospect for new oil and gas development. According to media reports, the Colombian government plans to increase oil production up to one million barrels per day by the end of 2012, and activity is likely to remain high for the next decade. As a market leader in oilfield services, Baker Hughes intends to be a substantial part of that market. United States trade policy should facilitate our participation in that responsible development.

From a security perspective, there are advantages to developing Western Hemisphere energy sources like those in Colombia. Colombia is considered a U.S. ally with a relatively stable government and economy. Oil and gas from Colombia could displace oil from less secure foreign sources of supply. Helping Colombia maintain a strong economy is also in our national interest. Therefore, adopting this reciprocal treaty is a win for both countries.

Right. Just as it is better economically and strategically to import oil and natural gas from Canada than, say, Russia, it would be preferable to have Colombia instead of Venezuela as a major supplier of energy to the United States.

In a news release, Subcommittee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX) provided more details about the energy security implications of the U.S.-Colombia FTA: (continue reading…)

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Unserious About Energy Independence

From President Obama’s remarks, cited at the White House Blog in a Feb. 5, 2009, post, “Serious about energy independence“:

Washington may not be ready to get serious about energy independence, but I am. And so are you. And so are the American people.

Inaction is not an option that is acceptable to me and it’s certainly not acceptable to the American people – not on energy, not on the economy, and not at this critical moment.

Department of Interior news release, Dec. 1, 2010, “Key Modifications Based on Ongoing Reforms, Unparalleled Safety and Environmental Standards, and Rigorous Scientific Review“:

[The] area in the Eastern Gulf of Mexico that remains under a congressional moratorium, and the Mid and South Atlantic planning areas are no longer under consideration for potential development through 2017.

Statement, Jack Gerard, President and CEO, American Petroleum Institute, Dec. 1, 2010, “Extension of offshore ban to halt job creation, economic growth“:

This decision shuts the door on new development off our nation’s coasts and effectively ensures that new American jobs will not be realized. It will stifle investment, deny billions in revenue for critical government services and increase our dependence on foreign energy sources.

The oil and natural gas industry is committed to safe and environmentally responsible operations, and both the industry and regulators have added new safeguards to ensure such operations.This reversal on new lease sales off America’s coasts comes on top of a de facto moratorium, which has all but stopped new drilling in the Gulf of Mexico.

Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell, Dec. 1, “Statement of Governor Bob McDonnell on Obama Administration Decision to Block Offshore Energy Development Efforts in Virginia“:

I am extremely disappointed that the Obama Administration has unilaterally blocked environmentally responsible, and economically crucial, offshore energy exploration and development in Virginia, along the Atlantic Coast and throughout other broad swaths of offshore territory nationwide. This is an irresponsible and short-sighted decision. It demonstrates a complete lack of confidence in the entrepreneurial spirit of American industry and its ability to fix the problems experienced in the Gulf spill, and no confidence in the ability of the U.S. government to better plan for and react to offshore emergencies. …
(continue reading…)

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Energy Insecurity: Liability Caps and Drilling Moratoriums

The House has just started debating the rule for H.R.3534, the Consolidated Land, Energy, and Aquatic Resources Act, i.e., the House “energy” bill. Or was that Waxman-Markey?

The National Association for Manufacturers just sent a “Key Vote” letter to the House, acknowledging that the bill has been made less economically damaging than earlier versions, but would still do too much harm to the jobs and American energy security.

From the “Key Vote” letter:

Manufacturers believe it is critically important to understand the causes of the Gulf of Mexico accident and its long-term environmental impacts before enacting policies that could make a serious problem much worse. While we appreciate efforts made earlier this week to improve H.R. 3534, NAM members continue to oppose the bill, as it would, in its current form, drive up energy costs, create uncertainties in the availability of supply and adversely affect U.S. jobs.

While there appears widespread agreement in the industry and on Capitol Hill that the $75 million liability cap needs to be updated, requiring an unattainable level of insurance coverage for domestic energy producers on the Outer Continental Shelf is not the solution. By eliminating the cap, H.R. 3534 would effectively retain the moratorium on offshore drilling for all but a handful of the world’s largest international companies, forcing the vast majority of American companies out of U.S. waters.

NAM’s key vote letters are developed and approved through a committee of representatives of manufacturing companies of all sizes. The NAM uses the votes to assess a member of Congress’ record on manufacturing issues.

On the House floor, Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA) just characterized the upcoming debate: If you support the bill, you support the American people. If you oppose the bill, you’re an apologist for Big Oil.

That’s politics, not persuasion.

UPDATE (9:58 a.m.): Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX) just read the NAM letter on the floor, noting that the NAM represents “jobs creators.” Thank you, Congressman.

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