Posted November 12, 2013
Ethanol Investigation: The Dirty Cost of the Green Power Push
Associated Press: CORYDON, Iowa — The hills of southern Iowa bear the scars of America's push for green energy: The brown gashes where rain has washed away the soil. The polluted streams that dump fertilizer into the water supply.
Even the cemetery that disappeared like an apparition into a cornfield.
It wasn't supposed to be this way.
With the Iowa political caucuses on the horizon in 2007, presidential candidate Barack Obama made homegrown corn a centerpiece of his plan to slow global warming. And when President George W. Bush signed a law that year requiring oil companies to add billions of gallons of ethanol to their gasoline each year, Bush predicted it would make the country "stronger, cleaner and more secure."
But the ethanol era has proven far more damaging to the environment than politicians promised and much worse than the government admits today.
Posted November 8, 2013
Fred Siegel: Fracking, Poverty and the New Liberal Gentry
Wall Street Journal: The transformation of American liberalism over the past half-century is nowhere more apparent than in the disputes now roiling a relatively obscure section of upstate New York. In 1965, as part of his "war on poverty," President Lyndon Johnson created the Appalachian Regional Commission. Among the areas to be served by the commission were the Southern Tier counties of New York state, including Broome, Tioga and Chemung. The commission's central aim was to "Increase job opportunities and per capita income in Appalachia to reach parity with the nation."
Like so many Great Society antipoverty programs, the effort largely failed. The Southern Tier counties remain much as they appeared in the 1960s, pocked by deserted farms and abandoned businesses, largely untouched by the prosperity that blessed much of America over the past five decades.
Beginning about a dozen years ago, remarkable improvements in natural-gas drilling by means of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, seemed to promise a way out of poverty. The massive Marcellus Shale Formation under New York and Pennsylvania has proved to be "the most lucrative natural gas play in the U.S.," Business Week recently noted, because the shale produces high-quality gas and is easily shipped to New York and Philadelphia.
In Pennsylvania, a state long familiar with carbon production through oil drilling and coal mining, Democratic Gov. Ed Rendell backed fracking during his tenure from 2003-11, and the state has experienced a boom in jobs and income. Between 2007 and 2011, in Pennsylvania counties with more than 200 fracking wells, per capita income rose 19%, compared with an 8% increase in counties with no wells, as petroleum analyst Gregg Laskoski wrote for U.S. News & World Report in August.
Read more: http://on.wsj.com/1hrdrUJ
Posted November 8, 2013
When corn to produce ethanol requires more growing space, there’s less room for other crops, driving those prices higher. Demand for corn to make ethanol is driving the cost of feed for livestock higher, making meat costlier. And when some kinds of meat rise in price, demand (and thus, price) increases for cheaper meat. The American Frozen Food Institute (AFFI) and the American Meat Institute (AMI) add their voices to the other food industry perspectives on the RFS that we've highlighted in recent weeks.
Posted November 7, 2013
Check out a new video that quickly and efficiently captures the compelling reasons the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) should be repealed.
When the RFS was created in 2007, the U.S. was in a much different place energy-wise, looking at a future dominated by energy scarcity. But with the shale energy revolution that has unfolded in the past few years, driven by innovative technologies that have resulted in advances in hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling, the U.S. is producing oil at levels not seen in nearly a quarter century.
Posted November 5, 2013
America’s Resurgence in Manufacturing Starts in the Shale Fields
Forbes: Our economy is straining at the bit to grow out of the Great Recession. You wouldn’t know that from the dreary news on both the jobs and GDP growth front. The good news is found in the incredible potential for high-paying jobs, growth and wealth creation bubbling up in America’s manufacturing sector.
Manufacturing is hot, even though we’re supposed to be in a post-industrial economy. The transformation in American manufacturing today is redolent of a century ago when innovation and growth in the industrial landscape was blossoming in both big companies and start-ups…
The dramatic growth in U.S. oil and gas production has not arisen from new discoveries or the opening of off-limits federal lands, but from new technologies and techniques that literally manufacture liquid and gaseous hydrocarbons from solid shale rock. Widely reported as “fracking” – hydraulic fracturing – the story is in fact one of deep industrial innovation, digital technologies and software. In other words, it is a secular shift in the industrial landscape.
Read more: http://onforb.es/1hgVN6i
Posted November 4, 2013
The Outsiders Who Saw Our Economic Future
Wall Street Journal: The experts keep getting it wrong. And the oddballs keep getting it right.
Over the past five years of business history, two events have shocked and transformed the nation. In 2007 and 2008, the housing market crumbled and the financial system collapsed, causing trillions of dollars of losses. Around the same time, a few little-known wildcatters began pumping meaningful amounts of oil and gas from U.S. shale formations. A country that once was running out of energy now is on track to become the world's leading producer.
What's most surprising about both events is how few experts saw them coming—and that a group of unlikely outsiders somehow did. Federal Reserve chairmen Alan Greenspan and Ben Bernanke failed to foresee the financial meltdown. Top banking executives were stunned, and leading investors such as Bill Gross, Jim Chanos and George Soros didn't fully anticipate the downturn.
Read more: http://on.wsj.com/172n4PZ
Posted November 1, 2013
Last year the National Council of Chain Restaurants (NCCR), the country’s leading organization exclusively representing chain restaurant companies, released a PwC report that detailed the impact of mandates under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) for ever-increasing corn ethanol use in fuel. The report estimated that by 2015 the RFS mandate would increase total costs for chain restaurant owners by up to $3.2 billion per year for every year the RFS remains in effect.
Posted October 29, 2013
Op-ed: Exports Bring Myriad Benefits
Houston Chronicle (James Clad): After the Arab oil embargo of 1973, America's energy dependence became the most obvious flaw in our superpower status.
Now, thanks largely to the shale revolution, domestic U.S. oil production is pushing imports to a 25-year low, holding down global prices despite Asian demand and Middle East/North Africa supply disruptions.
While the U.S. seems set to displace Saudi Arabia as the largest oil producer by 2020, our natural gas production has lifted our geopolitical gravitas. Now the world's largest natural gas producer, the U.S. is poised to take a growing profile as a gas exporter.Read more: http://bit.ly/18zur0R
Posted October 29, 2013
The National Turkey Federation (NTF) doesn’t just believe recent polling that finds two-thirds of Americans believe that, under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), using more corn for ethanol production could force up food prices, they have data to prove it.
Posted October 25, 2013
The Case Against Renewable Fuel Standard Subsidies
American Enterprise Institute: How did we reach the point where the government is promoting a dreadful fuel that gets worse fuel economy than gasoline or diesel, drives up food prices, damages car engines and has unintended environmental consequences?
The Renewable Fuel Standard has come to symbolize everything that is wrong with government-imposed mandates. It is causing more harm than good and should be scrapped.
For years, ethanol was promoted as a renewable, homegrown alternative to gasoline, a way to reduce tailpipe emissions and dependence on imported oil.
In 2007, as part of the Energy Independence and Security Act, Congress adopted the RFS, requiring refiners to blend 13.8 billion gallons of ethanol into gasoline by 2013 and up to 36 billion gallons by 2022. This mandate, however, has become completely unworkable and unnecessary.
Read more: http://bit.ly/1hg9Mqv