Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

Report: biofuels raise the cost of gas for little environmental benefit

From the liberal BBC.

Excerpt:

A report by Chatham House says the growing reliance on sustainable liquid fuels will also increase food prices.

The author says that biodiesel made from vegetable oil was worse for the climate than fossil fuels.

Under EU law, biofuels are set to make up 5% of the UK’s transport fuel from today.

Since 2008, the UK has required fuel suppliers to add a growing proportion of sustainable materials into the petrol and diesel they supply. These biofuels are mainly ethanol distilled from corn and biodiesel made from rapeseed, used cooking oil and tallow.

But research carried out for Chatham House says that reaching the 5% level means that UK motorists will have to pay an extra £460m a year because of the higher cost of fuel at the pump and from filling up more often as biofuels have a lower energy content.

The report say that if the UK is to meet its obligations to EU energy targets the cost to motorists is likely to rise to £1.3bn per annum by 2020.

[...]There are also worries that taking EU land out of production to grow rapeseed oil in particular is creating more climate problems than it solves. The more fuel of this type that is put into cars the bigger the deficit created in the edible oils market. This had lead to increased imports of palm oil from Indonesia, often produced on deforested land.

“Once you take into account these indirect effects, biofuels made from vegetable oils actually result worldwide in more emissions than you would get from using diesel in the first place,” said Rob Bailey.

“Plus you are asking motorists to pay more for the fuel – it makes no sense, it is a completely irrational strategy.”

Meanwhile, closer to home:

The Obama administration on Monday renewed an interagency agreement that backs the development of biofuels for the aviation industry and reiterated its support for embattled federal renewable fuel targets.

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood signed a pact extending a program that has worked with the private sector and rural communities to create an alternative to fossil fuels for aviation.

“We want to re-affirm the importance of this particular industry in this administration,” Vilsack told reporters at an industry conference in Washington.

The “Farm to Fly” program aims to support annual production of 1 billion gallons of aviation biofuels by 2018.

The program will focus on evaluating various sources of renewable alternatives to jet fuel, while also developing state and local partnerships with private companies.

Federal support for biofuels has come under increased scrutiny amid complaints from livestock producers and refiners that the federal biofuels mandate has contributed to higher food prices and could threaten gasoline supplies.

This isn’t a smart way to improve air quality, and it’s not going to help consumers who are already paying a ton of money for gas.

Filed under: News, , , , , ,

GAO study: EPA regulations will kill coal plant jobs and raise energy prices

From CNS News.

Excerpt:

New regulations issued by the Environmental Protection Agency will lead to the closure of older, coal-fired power plants and boost electricity prices in some parts of the country, according to a new report from the Government Accountability Office.

The GAO, at the behest of Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.), reviewed a host of information from government sources such as the EPA and Energy Information Agency (EIA) as well as private energy-sector forecasters to determine the likely impact of four new EPA regulations aimed at coal-fired power plants.

[...]GAO found that as many as 12 percent of coal-fired power plants may be closed because the EPA regulations make it too expensive for power companies to operate them, despite coal being one of world’s cheapest fuels.

“It is uncertain how power companies may respond to four key Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations, but available information suggests companies may retrofit most coal-fueled generating units with controls to reduce pollution, and that 2 to 12 percent of coal-fueled capacity may be retired,” GAO said.

These changes – either installing expensive retrofits or closing power plants – will drive up electricity prices by as much as 13.5 percent in some areas of the country.

“Available information suggests these actions would likely increase electricity prices in some regions,” GAO said. “Regarding prices, the studies GAO reviewed estimated that increases could vary across the country, with one study projecting a range of increases from 0.1 percent in the Northwest to an increase of 13.5 percent in parts of the South more dependent on electricity generated from coal.”

Coal is the country’s single-largest source of electricity, accounting for 42 percent of power generation in 2011, GAO reported.

[...]The regulations at issue were all put in place by President Obama’s EPA to deal with power plant emissions and industrial waste called coal ash, the byproduct of burning coal.

This is another issue to communicate to everyone who will be voting in November. We already have price inflation from rising gas prices due to insufficient energy production at home, as well as currency inflation from several rounds of money printing and debt monetization. If we have to add to that higher electricity costs, then we really will be in trouble.

Filed under: News, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Ohio coal mine closes because of Obama administration environmental policies

From CNS News.

Excerpt:

A stop not scheduled during the president’s third visit to the battleground state in four weeks was a coal-mining operation near Brilliant, Ohio, run by Ohio American Energy Inc., a subsidiary of Murray Energy Corp. The operation employed 239 workers at its peak but will be closing as the result of President Obama’s environmental policies.

Regulatory actions by President Obama and his appointees and followers were cited as the entire reason in the press release that announced the closing. “Mr. Obama has already destroyed 83,000 megawatts of coal-fired electricity generation in America,” said Michael T.W. Carey, vice president of government affairs for Murray Energy. “Electric prices in the recent PJM Interconnection monthly auction were bid up 800% for 2015-16 because of this,” he added.

PJM Interconnection, the company that operates the electric grid for 13 states, including Ohio, recently held its 2015 capacity auction. This gave the first real indication of just how drastic the effects of Obama’s war on coal will be. The market-clearing price for new 2015 capacity was $136 per megawatt.

That’s eight times higher than the price for 2012, which was just $16 per megawatt. In Pennsylvania, the new market price is $167 per megawatt — 10 times higher. In northern Ohio, which is suffering from more forced coal-plant retirements than the rest of the region, the 2015 price is an astounding $357 per megawatt.

This is one campaign promise President Obama has kept. In 2008, candidate Obama promised a system under which “if somebody wants to build a coal-powered plant, they can; it’s just that it will bankrupt them because they’re going to be charged a huge sum for all that greenhouse gas that’s being emitted.”

I’m sure that some of the people who lost their jobs voted for Obama. Maybe they were even familiar with that quote of his. But they just didn’t put two and two together to make four. Will you do that in November? I think that the one thing you want to do in life is to NOT hurt yourself with your own actions. Never vote to take away your own job.

Filed under: News, , , , , , , , , ,

EPA study finds that water in Dimock, PA is safe to drink despite fracking

Here’s an excerpt from the EPA press release that exonerates fracking:

 The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced today that it has completed its sampling of private drinking water wells in Dimock, Pa. Data previously supplied to the agency by residents, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection and Cabot Oil and Gas Exploration had indicated the potential for elevated levels of water contaminants in wells, and following requests by residents EPA took steps to sample water in the area to ensure there were not elevated levels of contaminants. Based on the outcome of that sampling, EPA has determined that there are not levels of contaminants present that would require additional action by the Agency.

[...]Overall during the sampling in Dimock, EPA found hazardous substances, specifically arsenic, barium or manganese, all of which are also naturally occurring substances, in well water at five homes at levels that could present a health concern. In all cases the residents have now or will have their own treatment systems that can reduce concentrations of those hazardous substances to acceptable levels at the tap. EPA has provided the residents with all of their sampling results and has no further plans to conduct additional drinking water sampling in Dimock.

The Washington Times explains the context of this report.

Excerpt:

Closely watched tests by the Environmental Protection Agency have found that the drinking water in Dimock, Pa., is safe to drink, despite concerns from some residents and environmentalists that nearby fracking had contaminated supplies.

For the past seven months, EPA sampled water at private wells serving 64 homes in the small northeastern Pennsylvania town, the primary setting of the anti-natural-gas documentary “Gasland.”

EPA found hazardous substances such as arsenic and manganese in water supplies at five of the homes in question, but said Wednesday that the residences have or will soon have treatment systems “that can reduce concentrations of those hazardous substances to acceptable levels at the tap.”

Agency officials also said EPA will conduct no further testing and will stop delivering fresh water to Dimock residents.

“The sampling and an evaluation of the particular circumstances at each home did not indicate levels of contaminants that would give EPA reason to take further action,” EPA Regional Administrator Shawn M. Garvin said in a statement. “Throughout EPA’s work in Dimock, the agency has used the best available scientific data to provide clarity to Dimock residents and address their concerns about the safety of their drinking water.”

[...]In its Wednesday announcement, EPA made clear that the pollutants it identified occur naturally in the area.

Remember the EPA is one of the most politicized, anti-business agencies in the government. If I were President, the first two agencies I would eliminate are the EPA and the federal Department of Education. And yet even the EPA could not find anything wrong with fracking. That means that there is nothing wrong with fracking.

Why do people think that secular leftists are guided by reason and science? It seems to me that they are always embracing fashionable nonsense that isn’t proven out by the experimental data. Let’s make our policy based on what the experimental evidence shows.

Filed under: News, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Ten ways that the Obama administration could lower gas prices right now

From the Heritage Foundation.

Here’s the list:

  1. Lift offshore and onshore exploration and drilling bans
  2. Approve Keystone XL
  3. Require timely environmental review
  4. Permitting process
  5. Issue leases on time
  6. Allow development of oil shale
  7. Stop the land grab
  8. Implement 50/50 revenue sharing
  9. Prohibit greenhouse gas and Tier 3 gas regulations
  10. Repeal the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS)

Here’s the detail on #3 and #6 and #9:

3. Require timely environmental review: Environmental review requirements for oil and gas projects to commence on federal lands under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) take too long. Congress should place a reasonable 270-day time limit on NEPA reviews.

6. Allow development of oil shale: Oil shale production in the U.S. could be a global game changer since we hold the largest known reserves in the world. However, 70 percent of those reserves lie beneath federal lands. The Obama Administration has introduced new regulations, time frames, and significantly reduced the land available for leases. Congress should make permanent the 2008 guidelines for oil shale development in order to provide regulatory certainty.

9. Prohibit greenhouse gas and Tier 3 gas regulations: In 2010, Interior suspended 61 leases in Montana alone because environmental groups charged that the energy production would contribute to climate change, demonstrating the need to permanently prohibit any federal agency from unilaterally regulating greenhouse gas emissions. Additionally, the proposed Tier 3 gas regulations to lower the amount of sulfur in gasoline are costly with no measurable benefits. Congress should prohibit the implementation of these regulations. Unelected bureaucrats should not hold such power over the economy.

Are these steps unreasonable?

Well, Canada already streamlined their environmental review process. Canada also doesn’t let global warming socialism block job creation in the energy sector. Canada’s government strongly opposes global warming socialism. They’ve even pulled out of the Kyoto treaty. Their energy industry is booming, and taking their economy with it. Can’t we do the same? Why is the Democrat Party’s energy policy all about giving money to green energy firms and imposing burdensome regulations on energy companies who do create jobs?

Filed under: News, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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