A Pew Research Center poll found that 66% of Americans favor building the Keystone XL pipeline that would move Canadian oil to the United States.
Mark Green at Energy Tomorrow pulls out some stats to show the widespread support:
This poll jibes well with a Fox News poll released last month that found that 70% support for Keystone XL with similar broad demographic support.
This bipartisan backing is reflected in the U.S. Senate. During the Senate’s recent “Vote-a-rama” 17 Democrats joined all 45 Republicans in voting for a budget amendment backing Keystone XL. In addition, both the labor and business communities support Keystone XL. The only people staunchly opposed are anti-energy zealots who plan to “go crazy” and protest President Obama in California.
By the State Department’s estimates over 40,000 jobs will be supported by Keystone XL’s construction.
This pipeline has been studied for years, and every time it has been found to be safe. There is widespread, bipartisan support. Keystone XL’s delays have gone long enough. It’s time to build this pipeline.
Abundant U.S. energy, courtesy of hydraulic fracturing tapping shale oil and natural gas deposits as well as other sources, is attracting manufacturers from Europe where energy prices are significantly higher. The Washington Post reports:
[I]n Ludwigshafen [Germany], many people view the United States as the land of the future. Since 2009, BASF has channeled more than $5.7 billion into new investments in North America, including a formic acid plant under construction in Louisiana, where the company will manufacture a chemical used to de-ice runways, tan leather and preserve animal feed.
U.S. energy abundance isn’t only drawing business from across the Atlantic. A Toronto Globe and Mail story notes that Canada’s Methanex will move a methanol plant from Chile to Louisiana and could move a second one to be closer to supplies of U.S. natural gas, a methanol feedstock. Methanex’s CEO told the paper, “We’ve become more and more … confident with the shale and tight gas revolution here in North America.”
As the Washington Post points out, this foreign investment will translate into jobs:
Among them is Austrian steelmaker Voestalpine, which announced last month that it will build an iron-ore processing plant in Texas to take advantage of the low energy prices. The plant is expected to cost $715 million and create 150 jobs. The company aims to almost double its total output by 2020, largely through U.S. expansion, and it has mostly abandoned making any major new investments in Europe.
Royal Dutch Shell announced plans last year to build a multibillion-dollar petrochemical plant in Pennsylvania that will employ several hundred full-time workers and as many as 10,000 people during construction.
"People are looking at the U.S. differently, seeing the U.S. as much more competitive in the world," said energy expert, Daniel Yergin.
We can thank abundant U.S. energy for this.
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Energy export opponents received a gift from the governors of Washington State and Oregon this week when they asked the White House to look at the possible effects of greenhouse gas emissions from proposed coal export facilities (like the Gateway Pacific Terminal in Cherry Point, WA). We’re not talking about just in the U.S., we’re talking globally.
The courts have determined that an environmental review covering U.S. products sold or transported overseas is outside the scope of the federal law that covers environmental reviews.
Lauri Hennessey, spokeswoman for the Alliance for Northwest Jobs & Exports said that this review is a bad idea, “Such a requirement could be particularly damaging to the Northwest, where trade and exports are so vital to the local economy.” Don Brunell, president of the Association of Washington Business, added, “Washington [State] has some of the most stringent environmental standards in the nation and every project must meet or exceed those standards in order to go forward.”
This is part of an on-going, organized effort to block proposed coal export infrastructure.
It’s a pipe dream to think stopping coal exports will stop global greenhouse gas emissions. The Energy Information Administration (EIA) points out that China alone nearly consumes as much coal as the rest of the world combined. With its economy continuing to grow, that won’t change anytime soon. Since the United States has the more coal reserves than any other country, it makes sense that we should feed this global need. Countries in Asia and Europe need fuel sources for their electric power plants. If it’s not American coal, it’ll be someone else’s.
And while I’m on the subject of energy exports, let’s not forget that we’re still waiting for approval on liquefied gas export licenses. It makes zero sense to shut ourselves off from exporting two of our most abundant natural resources to the detriment of economic growth and job creation.
While the aviation industry has weathered the recession and is on pace to be profitable this year, it still faces too many taxes and regulations, unstable energy prices, and an outdated air traffic control system, according to top industry CEOs speaking at the U.S. Chamber’s 12th Annual Aviation Summit (Watch the webcast).
Kicking off the March 28 event, U.S. Chamber President Tom Donohue held an onstage conversation with Boeing CEO James McNerney. The wide-ranging conversation quickly delved into the state of the economy and its effect on the global aviation industry.
McNerney said he hesitated to overuse the word “uncertainty,” but contended that there is no more apt description for what is slowing down the economy, particularly when it comes to long-term investments. When asked about the economy, McNerney said “It’s sort of bumping along. Very slow growth in the United States. Not fast enough to generate job growth.” He also noted that uncertainty over the EU economy is a challenge.
Boeing, McNerney noted is doing better than worldwide economic conditions would suggest possible, primarily because the company focuses on innovation. “We’re not bounded by GDP growth because of innovation and technology.”
United Airlines CEO Jeff Smisek was a keynote speaker at the event and made the case for consolidation and mergers in the industry, saying that mergers such as the one between United and Continental Airlines has brought rationality to the market. “I’ve been in the industry for 18 years and this is the first time that I have hope for this business,” he told the audience.
U.S. Airways CEO Doug Parker spoke to the standing-room only audience just hours after a U.S. bankruptcy judge cleared the way for an $11 billion merger between U.S. Airways and American Airlines. While the joining of the two companies still has to be approved by the Justice Department, Parker was upbeat and said that the merged airline would generate about a $1 billion in synergies without reducing supply. “It’s not about increasing fares,” Parker said about the merger. “It’s about being able to connect more passengers to more places.”
In particular, the CEOs urged lawmakers to stop exploring additional ways to raise taxes on airlines and their customers as a way to reduce the federal budget deficit. “Airlines and their passengers pay 17 separate federal taxes and fees. And the government continues to look at either adding more, or increasing the ones we already pay,” said Ben Baldanza of Spirit Airlines. “The federal tax rate for air travel is higher than it is for alcohol and tobacco, products that are taxed to discourage their use. This makes no sense. Our industry drives over $1 trillion in economic activity—5 percent of GDP—and 10 million jobs. The government ought to be encouraging travel, not discouraging it.”
The CEO’s also kept up the drumbeat on NextGen satellite-technology investment as a way to enable airlines to fly more efficiently, reduce delays, enable future growth and further improve their environmental footprint. While carriers have begun making significant investments in NextGen, the government has not made the investments necessary for airlines to fully take advantage of the technology. As a result, airlines are hesitant to make further investments. “It's going to slow down the growth in this country if we don’t get ahead of this,” Boeing’s McNerney warned.