Posted March 13, 2015
The language of issue activism can have drawbacks. Sound bites charged with political activism seldom set the stage for useful policy discussions.
Similarly, in a climate change speech at the Atlantic Council this week, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry mischaracterized America’s energy reality, calling U.S. oil and coal “outdated energy sources.” Said Kerry, “Coal and oil are only cheap ways to power a nation in the very near term.”
Not according to those who get paid to quantify U.S. energy, now and in the future. In its 2014 Annual Energy Outlook report, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) said that oil and natural gas supplied 63 percent of U.S. energy in 2012, with coal supplying another 18 percent. EIA projects that oil and natural gas will supply 61 percent of our energy in 2040, with coal holding steady at 18 percent.
Posted February 26, 2015
By continuing to delay the Keystone XL pipeline, President Obama continues to elevate politics over the pipeline’s merits and symbolism over acting in the U.S. national interest.
Instead of giving the go-ahead to a project that would create good, middle-class jobs, boost the national economy and strengthen America’s energy security, the president talks about preserving processes and procedures. That’s not leadership for the entire country; that’s once again giving in to Washington politics.
Posted February 14, 2015
Some time ago the Keystone XL pipeline debate stopped being a discussion of energy infrastructure and whether the privately financed project was in the national interest. Thank Keystone XL’s opponents, who detached the debate from fact and scientific analysis to better serve their purposes.
Keystone XL’s most ardent foes readily acknowledged as much. They said that for them the pipeline was a symbol to be used in pursuit of political power. As one anti-pipeline activist put it: “The goal is as much about organizing young people around a thing. But you have to have a thing.”
Symbolism over substance, politics over the greater public good? Too often that’s the way it’s played Inside The Beltway. But at some point political power needs to give way to actual power, and public policy should be grounded in our energy reality, not symbolism. It should be fact-based and consider the impacts on the daily lives of real people, not narrow ideological agendas.
Posted February 12, 2015
API President and CEO Jack Gerard spoke to students at Texas Southern University in Houston this week about America’s energy revolution and career opportunities in the industry. Highlights from the speech (as prepared for delivery):
Today, the United States is first in natural gas production, petroleum refining and soon to be the No. 1 producer of crude oil as early as this year, with some projecting we are already there. We have surpassed all expectations and achieved a level of domestic energy production that was unthinkable even five years ago. … North American energy production is expected to increase for many years to come and as a result (and) so are the number of jobs available within the industry.
As an example, with one change to U.S. energy policy, lifting the prohibition on crude exports, the oil and natural gas industry within five years could create up to 300,000 jobs, almost 41,000 of them right here in Texas. Already, this new era of energy abundance has not only set production and refining records, it has also added 600,000 jobs between 2009 and 2011 to the nation’s economy at a time when it was needed the most. …
It will be up to the next generation of Americans, your generation, to expand and maintain our nation’s energy abundance and global energy leadership. It is up to my generation to make sure that you have skills, knowledge and information needed to make the most of that opportunity.
Posted February 9, 2015
Let’s hope public hearings on the Obama administration’s draft offshore oil and natural gas leasing program – starting this week – help spark serious discussion of how the nation’s offshore energy reserves will be managed in the near future. Needed is greater public awareness of just how limited the administration’s approach is, reflected in a draft plan that simply doesn’t go far enough.
We say public awareness because the administration has been able to foster the perception that it favors more oil and natural gas development and energy infrastructure when, in fact, its policies have done little to support that development (did somebody mention the Keystone XL pipeline?).
In the case of offshore energy development, it’s important to move the administration toward a plan that actually increases access to reserves. The draft plan for offshore leasing for the 2017-2022 time period is less than meets the eye, offering just a single Atlantic lease sale in 2021 as part of the five-year program, which Interior Secretary Sally Jewell said could be withdrawn as the leasing plan process evolves. That’s not a balanced approach, that’s an attempt to manage the perceptions game.
Posted January 21, 2015
In a State of the Union address that mostly skimmed over energy issues – remarkable, given the generational opportunities stemming from America’s ongoing energy revolution – President Obama still underscored the yawning disconnect between his all-of-the-above energy rhetoric and his administration’s failure to put that rhetoric into action.
Talking about the need for infrastructure investment, the president said:
“Democrats and Republicans used to agree on this. So let’s set our sights higher than a single oil pipeline. Let’s pass a bipartisan ... infrastructure plan that could create more than 30 times as many jobs per year and make this country stronger for decades to come. Let’s do it. Let’s get it done.”
We agree. America’s infrastructure needs are greater than a single oil pipeline – the political football known as the Keystone XL – which the president has been punting around for more than six years.
But there’s no good reason, no good excuse, for not making the Keystone XL pipeline Job No. 1 in a procession of infrastructure projects. President Obama hasn’t offered any beyond calling “temporary” the 42,100 jobs the U.S. State Department has said Keystone XL would support. Yet, those jobs are no more temporary than the ones that would be supported by building bridges, roads and other projects the president routinely cites.
That’s the disconnect between what President Obama peddles in speeches to Congress and around the country – and what his administration is doing.
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 September 5, 2014
Ultimately, America’s energy revolution is what we choose to make of it – through the policy strategies and actions taken by our leaders and governments. Thanks to hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling, the United States is enjoying an energy boom – the harnessing of vast reserves of oil and natural gas that power our economy and enable modern lifestyles. Will that revolution be sustained and expanded? That’s America’s energy choice.
On energy, policy matters. During a speech on the impacts of federal energy policy at this week’s Uintah Basin Energy Summit in Salt Lake City, API President and CEO Jack Gerard said America’s energy renaissance is revitalizing some parts of the country while others are being made to wait for energy benefits because of “backward and shortsighted” policy from Washington.
Posted March 5, 2014
Politico reports (sub req'd) that the Energy Department plans to stick with its “case-by-case” approach to approving natural gas export projects – even as some policymakers say speeding up the process would send a strong signal that the United States is a leader in global energy markets, expanding its ability to broaden supply options and defuse energy-related standoffs like the one playing out between Russia and Ukraine.
Posted May 11, 2011