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Energy Blog

Sheryll PoeCongress Passes Ex-Im Extension, Heads Home to Campaign

Congress passed a bill to keep the government funded through December 11
and reauthorized the Export-Import Bank
through June 30, 2015. The U.S. Chamber
joined 11 other U.S. business organizations urging House and Senate leaders to support the bank, whose charter was set to expire September 30, and called for long-term reauthorization.

Big Turnout at Fort Bragg Jobs Summit

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Hiring Our Heroes (HOH) group headed to Fort Bragg, North Carolina—home of the 82nd Airborne—to team up with the departments of Veterans Affairs and Labor, the U.S. Army,
and other national partners for a jobs fair. HOH also unveiled its new online job fair platform, Virtual Job Scout, and its interactive employer best practices site, Employer Roadmap.

U.S. Chamber Welcomes South African President Jacob Zuma

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s
U.S.-South Africa Business Council hosted a forum on U.S. investment in South Africa with a keynote address by South African President Jacob Zuma. The Chamber encouraged the governments and business communities in both countries to continue to advance the U.S.-South Africa commercial and strategic partnerships.

Energy Institute Undertakes Keystone XL Pipeline Lost Opportunity Tour 

To draw attention to the sixth anniversary of TransCanada’s first application to build the Keystone XL pipeline, the U.S. Chamber’s Institute
for 21st Century Energy traveled
875 miles along the proposed pipeline route to hear how delays have impacted communities from Montana to Nebraska.

 

New Poll: Americans Oppose Retroactive Tax on Businesses

Voters strongly oppose action to retroactively tax companies that move their headquarters overseas, according to a new poll released by the U.S. Chamber’s Fair Reform for Growth campaign. The nationwide survey of likely voters, conducted by Purple Insights, also found that when it comes to changing U.S. tax law, voters do not want the president to take any action unilaterally. 

Sean Hackbarth Lesser Prairie ChickensLesser Prairie Chickens. Photo credit: Richard Crossley. Licensed under a Creative Commons license.

Unless Congress keeps a close eye on federal regulatory agencies, they run amok as we’ve seen with EPA’s proposed carbon regulations and the Waters of the United States rule.

These agencies aren’t alone.

Environmental groups, using the "Sue and Settle" tactic, get the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to limit economic development through the Endangered Species Act, writes William Kovacs, senior vice president for the Environment, Technology and Regulatory Affairs at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, on FoxNews.com:

Environmental advocates now routinely use the Act’s citizen suit provision to sue FWS.  The Service does not defend itself.  Instead, it agrees to accept the environmentalists’ demands and binds itself through a court order, thereby remaining under court supervision until it completes the agreed upon terms.  Under this process, FWS and the environmental groups have developed an entirely new way for outside groups to commandeer agency policy and prioritize their demands while excluding public involvement in the settlement.  This process has been termed “Sue and Settle.”  Under these Sue and Settle agreements, outside groups drive the policy and regulatory agendas of the agencies, rather than the agencies themselves—or Congress.

Environmentalists’ power over FWS was cemented in 2011 when FWS entered into two mega Sue and Settle agreements with advocacy groups and agreed to consider another 757 new species for listing.  These listings will give FWS such broad discretion over what is designated as critical habitat, that FWS could severely limit what activities and development can occur.   In designating critical habitat for a species, FWS has exercised broad authority to restrict the types of activities allowed within the habitat.

This threatens America’s job-creating, growth-generating shale energy boom. FWS is considering putting these three species on the endangered list:

Northern Long-Eared Bat Lesser Prairie Chicken Sage-Grouse

Because the habitats of these species overlap areas where successful shale oil and natural gas development is happening, doing so would “stymie the energy revolution now taking place." 

Like that less-expensive gas? Enjoy lower amounts of imported oil and increased energy security? Appreciate the jobs created by the shale boom? All this is threatened by a federal agency guided more by outside pressure groups than sound science. As Kovacs concludes:

It is time to create a policy making process that strikes the right balance between environmental protection and job creation.  Part of that balance means better protecting habitats in this country where infrastructure can be built and opportunities created. 

Sean Hackbarth

Coal has been a key factor for expanding electricity access to hundreds of millions of people, a new report finds. Robert Bryce, senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute’s Center for Energy Policy and the Environment, calculates that from 1990-2010, 832 million people gained access to electricity because of coal.

He writes that this trend isn’t about to slow down:

Between 2013 and 2040, the EIA expects global coal-fired capacity to expand by about 500 gigawatts, from about 1,800 gigawatts to about 2,300 gigawatts.

“Coal, which now accounts for about 40 percent of all global electricity production, will likely maintain its dominant role for decades to come,” he adds.

Here are four examples of developing countries that will continue to rely on coal as their economies grow.

China

By 2040, the EIA expects China to add another 400 gigawatts of coal-fired capacity to its generation sector. Put in perspective, the U.S. currently has about 300 megawatts of coal-fired-generation capacity. Thus, over the next 25 years, China is projected to add a new fleet of coal-fired generators that will be larger than America’s entire existing coal-fired capacity.

India

India’s coal use is expected to more than double by 2035. And within the next six years or so, India will likely surpass China as the world’s largest coal importer….  the EIA projects that India’s coal-fired capacity will increase by about 100 gigawatts by 2040.

Pakistan

The country is planning to build 15 new coal-fired power plants, with a total capacity of about 15 gigawatts. In January, the country’s prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, kicked off construction on a new 3.9-gigawatt complex of lignite-fired generators that are expected to come online in 2017.

Indonesia

Indonesia’s electricity use is expected to more than double by 2022; to meet that demand, the country is building more coal-fired power plants. One planned but still-delayed project is a $4 billion, 2-gigawatt plant slated for construction in Batang, in central Java…. In April, the Indonesian government announced plans to build a new 2- gigawatt, coal-fired power plant in Jakarta, the capital. And in mid-July 2014, the state-owned electricity firm, PT PLN, announced that it was planning to build additional coal-fired power plants, with a total capacity of 2 gigawatts, to help meet the expected growth in electricity demand.

EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy can claim that other nations will follow the United States’ lead and limit their carbon emissions. But the fact is, with the progress underway we shouldn’t expect developing nations to walk away from these gains. This makes EPA’s proposed carbon regulations pointless. “Given soaring global coal use, banning new coal-fired power plants in the U.S. will not make a significant dent in global carbon-dioxide emissions,” Bryce writes.

Instead, Bryce recommends that research go into developing and promoting technology to burn coal more efficiently.

Sean Hackbarth Oil pump jack in North Dakota.An oil pump jack just outside of Watford City, North Dakota. Photographer: Matthew Staver/Bloomberg.

In the Washington Post, Energy guru Daniel Yergin writes on the effects of lower oil prices:

But, as things are now, the gains from lower prices outweigh the losses to the economy. The drop from $112 per barrel last June to $80 a barrel now means that Americans would save more than a $160 billion on gasoline and other crude oil products each year.  That adds up to some significant extra money that ends up in the pockets of American motorists. And that is money that they will spend all across the U.S. economy.

World-leading production also means more American jobs. According to a Institute for 21stCentury Energy report, by 2025 shale energy will support 3.9 million jobs.

 January 1994 to June 2014Total petroleum production: Saudi Arabia versus United States: January 1994 to June 2014Source: Mark Perry.

Thank the shale boom for putting us in this situation.

Abram Olmstead Image of a crane holding text of "6 Massive Projects"

American free enterprise can achieve almost anything. But, only if we allow it to work properly (this requires a nimble regulatory environment and a streamlined permitting process). One stark example of this gone wrong is the increasingly evergreen example of the Keystone XL pipeline, a project that is projected to create 42,000 new jobs and generate $3.4 billion in economic activity. So far, we've waited 6 years for a response on the permit request.

Studies have been conducted. Talking heads and scientists have hashed out all the pros and cons. And despite broad affirmation and support, the American people are stuck waiting for Washington to act. Six years is a disgrace; bigger things can be done in far less time. Here are just a few great examples:

6 Massive Projects Completed Faster than the Keystone Pipeline's 6 Year Permitting Process from U.S. Chamber of Commerce

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