Posted January 15, 2015
Facts and science over politics. That’s the way energy policy should be made. Too many policy matters in the energy space are being hijacked by politics. The Keystone XL pipeline is one example, as are some of the regulatory initiatives the administration is pushing right now. That’s not the way to craft good energy policy.
Keystone XL has been stuck on the drawing board more than six years because it was turned into a political football by the White House. Cross-border pipelines like Keystone XL historically have gained approval in 18 to 24 months. We’re at 76 months and counting for political reasons, not because of compelling scientific and economic analysis – as advanced in the five reviews conducted by the U.S. State Department.
Keystone XL finally has reached the debate stage in the Senate, but the White House is threatening to veto legislation that would advance the project. More politics, more delay, more missed opportunity for American workers and U.S. energy security.
Posted January 13, 2015
The federal approval process for cross-border pipelines (and there are many) historically has taken 18 to 24 months, yet the White House says that more than six years isn't enough time to determine whether the Keystone XL pipeline is in the national interest.
Perhaps the State Department can help them out with analysis that argues that infrastructure of this nature is in the national interest – a point grasped by a strong majority of Americans in the Keystone XL debate – which seems to elude the White House. Now, if the White House doesn’t want to listen to what its own State Department says about infrastructure, maybe another voice will be more persuasive.
Posted December 11, 2014
Near the end of his appearance on the “Colbert Report” earlier this week, President Obama tells host Stephen Colbert that getting things done is the real satisfaction he takes from his job:
“I love the job, and it’s an incredible privilege. But when you’re in it you’re not thinking about it in terms of titles. You’re thinking about how do you deliver for the American people?”
Ironically, the remark about delivering for the American people comes just a few minutes after the president offers up familiar excuses for failing to deliver for the American people on the Keystone XL pipeline. With Americans backing the pipeline by more than 3 to 1, it looks like President Obama isn’t listening to the people he’s supposed to serve – or is simply ignoring them.
The president’s Keystone XL rhetoric remains starkly at odds with the facts – including those proffered by his own State Department. State has completed five separate environmental reviews on Keystone XL over more than six years, all of which cleared by the pipeline. Whether President Obama is talking to business executives or cutting up with Colbert, he’s startlingly disconnected with fact on Keystone XL.
Posted December 5, 2014
Speaking to business executives earlier this week, President Obama lamented how long it takes to make infrastructure improvements in the U.S.:
“The challenge for infrastructure has been that … it’s hard to pay for things if you don’t have some sort of revenue stream. And I’ve been exploring … to see how we can do more in attracting private investment into infrastructure construction – which is done fairly effectively in a lot of other countries …”
Later, he praised the Chinese for how quickly they tackle infrastructure needs:
“… the one thing I will say is that if they need to build some stuff, they can build it. And over time, that wears away our advantage competitively. It’s embarrassing – you drive down the roads, and you look at what they’re able to do.”
For more than six years one of the largest infrastructure projects to come along in some time has been staring back at President Obama, waiting for him to say “go”: the Keystone XL pipeline.
By now many Americans – who favor Keystone XL’s construction by more than a 3-to-1 margin – probably can tick off the points arguing for the project’s approval.
Posted November 19, 2014
A couple of data points to remember with EPA poised to propose new, lower ground-level ozone standards, perhaps as soon as next month:
Air quality is and has been improving under the current, 75 parts per billion (ppb) standards, which are still being implemented across the country. Meanwhile, EPA reports national average ozone levels have fallen 33 percent since 1980 and 18 percent since 2000.
Against that backdrop, EPA staff reportedly is recommending a new primary ozone standard of between 60 and 70 ppb, which could put 94 percent of the country out of compliance – potentially stunting job creation and economic growth for little, if any, health benefit.
Posted November 14, 2014
Friday’s bipartisan U.S. House vote to advance the Keystone XL pipeline, the ninth time the House has voted to support the project, sets up next week’s expected vote in the Senate – and most likely a big decision point for President Obama. API President and CEO Jack Gerard:
“The strong, bipartisan support for the Keystone XL pipeline demonstrates lawmakers from both parties in the House, as well as the Senate, are listening to the American people. A vote for KXL tells Americans their jobs matter, their futures matter and that our nation’s energy and national security are a clear priority.”
Now the question: Is President Obama listening?
Posted November 14, 2014
The Fix (Washington Post): President Obama is fond of telling Congress that it should pass things with the overwhelming support of the American people, including (among other things) comprehensive immigration reform, increasing the minimum wage, and increasing gun background checks.
And yet, Obama could soon be in a position of vetoing something with a similar amount of support: the Keystone XL pipeline.
Poll after poll has shown support for Keystone is somewhere between very strong and overwhelming. A Pew Research Center survey this month showed support for the project at nearly two-to-one, 59 percent to 31 percent. And that was about the lowest level of support we've seen to date. Support has registered as high as two-thirds of Americans.
Posted November 13, 2014
A good deal of the buzz generated by America’s ongoing energy revolution has centered on the way surging domestic production is changing the crude oil imports picture. No question, it’s a pretty one, with net imports as a share of consumption falling to levels not seen in nearly three decades. That’s great news for job creation, the economy, our balance of trade and America’s energy security.
But here’s another pretty picture: declining imports of liquefied natural gas (LNG). Actually, “declining” is too mild a term for what we’re seeing. Thanks to energy developed from shale using hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling, the U.S. has become the world’s No. 1 natural gas producer – which has dramatically cut the need to shop the world market for supplies of natural gas, illustrated in plummeting LNG imports.
Posted November 6, 2014
Over the past few years it has been difficult to know President Obama’s true position on the long-delayed Keystone XL pipeline, now under federal review more than six years. That’s likely to change in the new Congress, with Republicans saying Keystone XL legislation will be a top priority soon after the first of the year. North Dakota Sen. John Hoeven talked to Fuel Fix.com:
“The president opposes the project and has tried to defeat it with delay,” Hoeven said, but “given the clear vote from the American public and strong bipartisan support, he may decide it’s time to start working with Congress, and this is a good example of a place to start and why you’ll see us advance the measure early on.”
Given the mid-term election results, President Obama soon will be called to make a decision on Keystone XL – one that will indicate his willingness to work with the new Congress on an issue that has strong public support and one that also will show whether he’s serious about an all-of-the-above approach to energy and American energy security.
Posted November 5, 2014
As the political parties sort through the results of this week’s mid-term congressional elections, let’s hope neither misses the unmistakable, bipartisan support from the American people for the ongoing energy revolution in this country. In their votes and in data from new election-night public opinion polling, it’s clear Americans see energy policy as a uniting point that can help break Washington gridlock while continuing to revitalize the country’s economy.
These topics and more came up during a conference call API President and CEO Jack Gerard conducted with reporters in the election’s aftermath. According to Gerard, the overarching lesson from Tuesday’s vote: Energy wins. Gerard:
“We need elected leaders who understand what’s at stake and who are willing to set aside outdated assumptions and partisan talking points to work together on safe, responsible and fact-based energy policy. In that regard, we hope that President Obama will take this opportunity to work with the new Congress on smart energy policies that grow our nation’s still shaky economy, create well-paying jobs and maintain our nation’s global energy leadership.”