Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

Stephen Moore: how environmentalist restrictions are killing energy sector jobs

From the Heritage Foundation.

Excerpt:

[...][I]f you visit the drilling sites in Williston, N.D., you discover an amazing phenomenon: At night, this little energy town of fewer than 30,000 people lights up like Manhattan on New Year’s Eve. All these lights are flares burning off the natural gas that was drilled that day. Why on earth would the drillers do that? Because they want oil, which sells at $100 a barrel, as opposed to natural gas, which is now so abundant that it’s cheap.

But why don’t they sell the natural gas too? Because they don’t have the pipeline capacity to bring it to the markets where it’s needed. So they are burning off an energy source, without capturing the power. What a waste.

The pipelines aren’t getting built, simply because the government isn’t letting them get built. It has been an eye-opening experience to watch liberals block an infrastructure project — the Keystone XL pipeline — that two of three Americans (and even a plurality of Democrats) support. Pew had an amazing poll last month reporting that just about every demographic group in America supports the Keystone pipeline, except for Democrats with Ph.D.s and Democrats who earn more than $100,000.

But this problem goes well beyond the Keystone pipeline. We need to build in America a national network of pipelines from coast to coast, much as Eisenhower built the interstate highway system. Unlike the highways, the private sector will gladly build the pipelines; they just need the permits. And Uncle Sam won’t give them out.

We are talking about a lot of jobs here — and really high-paying, often union, jobs. Welders and pipe fitters and construction workers and truckers earn $70,000 or more — well above the median salary in America.

But the environmentalists hate pipelines because they encourage drilling, and drilling is bad because it kills windmills, er, the planet. The enviros have been running a campaign in Washington to keep the oil and gas in the ground. And if you can’t transport it, why drill it? These activists are the same sort of people who opposed the Great Alaska Pipeline back in the 1970s. Can you imagine how much we’d be in hock to the Saudis these days if we’d listened to their loopy advice back then?

And since they won’t allow pipelines, we use trains and trucks — which is much worse for the environment than building the pipelines. Remember the rail crash several weeks ago with massive explosions? Thank the Sierra Club.

Meanwhile, in Canada, where the Conservative Party is firmly opposed to global warming nonsense, the government has decided to build pipelines from Alberta to the West and East coasts.

Excerpt:

Foreign Minister John Baird said Sunday he’s sure there will be a pipeline from Alberta’s oilsands to the Pacific coast.

Without mentioning the Northern Gateway specifically, Baird sounded confident when discussing pipelines on Fox News on Sunday morning.

Asked for his thoughts on recent comments from former U.S. energy secretary Spencer Abraham, who expressed doubt President Barack Obama will approve the Keystone XL pipeline, Baird said Canada’s energy resources are vast and that he expects a decision from the president within two months.

“Listen, we want to get this project approved,” he said on the U.S. network. “We want to work with our American friends, our partners in freedom and liberty.

“At the same time there will be pipelines going to the Pacific coast and even reverse pipelines going to the Atlantic so we can diversify our markets.”

I expect that Republicans will be making a big deal of the jobs that could be created if we the government were giving out the appropriate energy production permits and approving the Keystone Pipeline. I think people will be responsive to a message like that when Obamacare kicks in for employer-provided health care and employers start to cut jobs. I know the Democrats are happy right now keeping everyone on unemployment payments, but eventually, that money is going to run out. It might not be tomorrow, but it’s coming one day.

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State department: not building the Keystone XL pipeline could increase greenhouse gas emissions

From CNS News.

Excerpt:

Not building the 875-mile Keystone XL Pipeline could result in the release of up to 42 percent more greenhouse gases than would be released by building it, according to the State Department.

Not building the pipeline “is unlikely to significantly impact the rate of extraction in the [Canadian] oil sands or the continued demand for heavy crude oil at refineries in the United States,” the department noted in a long-awaited environmental report released January 31st.

But the “No Build” option is likely to result in an increased number of oil spills, six more deaths annually, and up to 42 percent higher greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, the State Department concluded.

The proposed 36-inch pipeline would transport 830,000 barrels of crude oil each day from western Canada through the Bakken oil fields of Montana and South Dakota before connecting to an existing pipeline in Nebraska on its way to Gulf Coast refineries.

The project will create an estimated 42,100 jobs and add $3.4 billion to the U.S. economy.

This report follows last week’s report showing that the pipeline would have no major environmental impact.

Excerpt:

The long-delayed Keystone XL oil pipeline cleared a major hurdle toward approval Friday, a serious blow to environmentalists’ hopes that President Barack Obama will block the controversial project running more than 1,000 miles from Canada through the heart of the U.S.

The State Department reported no major environmental objections to the proposed $7 billion pipeline, which has become a symbol of the political debate over climate change. Republicans and some oil- and gas-producing states in the U.S. — as well as Canada’s minister of natural resources — cheered the report, but it further rankled environmentalists already at odds with Obama and his energy policy.

Now the State Department is one of the most liberal departments in the government. Unfortunately, this has not appeased the great climate science experts in Hollywood, who donate so much money to Democrat election campaigns. So long as the money keeps flowing from the high school drop-out celebrities, don’t expect this pipeline to get built. For the Democrats, it’s all about staying in power.

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State Department report finds that Keystone XL pipeline is safe for the environment

The Heritage Foundation reports.

Excerpt: (links removed)

In Washington, a presidential Administration releases news it doesn’t like at 5 p.m. on Fridays. So it pays to pay attention when everyone is leaving work for the weekend.

Late last Friday, the State Department released a positive environmental review of the Keystone XL pipeline. President Obama has been delaying this pipeline—which would carry oil from Canada to refineries in Texas—for more than three years.

The delay has meant that America is still waiting on an additional 700,000 to 830,000 barrels of oil per day from a close ally, not to mention 179,000 American jobs.

Why has this taken so long, when all environmental reports thus far have been positive? Heritage’s Nicolas Loris, the Herbert and Joyce Morgan Fellow, explains:

Given the need for jobs and more oil on the global market to offset high prices, the permit application had been moving along positively with bipartisan support without much attention until environmental activists made blocking the Keystone XL pipeline their issue to rally around for 2011. Although President Obama and the Department of State (DOS) said they’d make a decision at the end of 2011, they ultimately catered to a narrow set of special interests, punting the decision until after the 2012 elections.

The State Department, which is overseeing the pipeline because it crosses a U.S. border, has “already conducted a thorough, three-year environmental review with multiple comment periods,” Loris reported last year.

The review has been comprehensive:

DOS studied and addressed risk to soil, wetlands, water resources, vegetation, fish, wildlife, and endangered species. They concluded that the construction of the pipeline would pose minimal environmental risk. Keystone XL also met 57 specific pipeline safety standard requirements created by DOS and the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration.

This confirms the previous assessment done by the Nebraska government, which concluded that the Keystone XL pipeline was safe for Nebraska’s environment as well.

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Fracking propels North Dakota to 3.2% unemployment rate

What happened when North Dakota lowered its regulatory barriers to energy development?

This:

North Dakota had the highest payroll-to-population rate (P2P) and the lowest underemployment rate in 2012, thanks mostly to the state’s booming oil & gas industry.

According to Gallup’s “State of the States” analysis released today, North Dakota ranked number one among the lower 48 states, with a payroll to population rate of 53.6 percent.

Gallup said it measured each state’s P2P rate by the percentage of the adult population aged 18 and older employed full-time by an employer for at least 30 hours per week.

The analysis noted that the numbers are not seasonably adjusted and variations across states reflect a number of factors, including the overall employment situation for each state as well as the demographic composition of that state’s population. P2P rates in Alaska, Hawaii, and the District of Columbia were not considered in the analysis.

Factoring in the most recent unemployment data is key to the Gallup analysis. North Dakota reported just a 3.2 percent unemployment rate, well below the national average unemployment rate of 7.9 percent, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The number one ranking should not come as much of a surprise given the Peace Garden state’s rise in oil and gas production and the subsequent rise in jobs over the past few years.

According to North Dakota Jobs Service data from 2011, the most recent available, the number of oil and gas jobs in North Dakota has risen 57.5 percent since 2010 – going from 10,660 jobs in 2010 to 16,786 jobs in 2011, with the oil and gas payroll nearly doubling — going from $852 million in 2010 up to $1.5 billion in 2011.

North Dakota now produces more oil than any other state, including Alaska, which ranked number one in 2011, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking” which uses high-pressure water, sand, and chemicals to force oil from underground rock formations, has largely contributed to the recent boom in North Dakota’s fossil fuel industry.

North Dakota, as you might expect, is a very, very conservative state.

What about the US as a whole, under Barack Obama and the Democrats? Well, Obama killed the Keystone XL pipeline, which would have created 20,000 jobs. His administration has introduced many burdensome regulations on energy development, as well. Democrat energy policies have been a disaster, and it explains, in part, why we have a huge number of people not in the work force. We could have allowed North Dakota’s success to spread across the United States, if we had only approved that pipeline and removed barriers to energy development imposed by high taxes and regulations. But we didn’t. There’ll be another chance to vote for jobs in 2016.

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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?

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