Energy & Environment

Small Businesses Need The Keystone Pipeline

Small Business owners are concerned about the threat of rising fuel and energy costs. According to a U.S. Chamber of Commerce survey, 77 percent of small businesses say that rising energy prices pose an immediate threat to their business. The Chamber’s survey shows that 80 percent feel that the administration is not doing enough to keep gas prices low, increase domestic energy sources, or develop an energy policy that supports American jobs. The United States can do a number of things to ease these concerns but one in particular stands out from the rest.


Consumers, economy and environment lose with Renewable Fuel Standard

It is quite a shock when an industry, built by taxpayer dollars and surviving on government support, touts the importance of fair competition. Clearly, advocates of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and its biofuel blending mandates lack a basic understanding of how markets work here in the United States. Worse still, they feign ignorance and completely deny that their bread-and-butter policy is dealing a blow to our economy — raising costs for fuel, food and engine repairs for consumers, constraining vital American industries and failing in its goal of protecting the environment.


Energy - what a waste!

As much energy as the United States consumes, it’s nothing compared to how much energy we allow to go to waste.

Amazingly, almost two-thirds of energy produced is going to waste, according to data released by the U.S. Energy Information Administration/Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. In 2011, EIA estimated that the equivalent of 39 quadrillion British Thermal Units (“quads”) of electricity was generated from a variety of sources: natural gas, coal, nuclear, hydro, and renewables.  Of the 39 quads, only about one-third was actually used for residential, commercial and industrial uses; the other two-thirds of electricity was wasted -- lost due to inefficiencies and waste in transmission lines, the electrical distribution grid, and end-use of electricity in homes and businesses.


Ag-Gag laws seek to put factory farms off-limits to whistle-blowers

It really has become the age of the whistle-blower.  Perhaps it was the 9/11 wakeup call that we live in a more dangerous world.  Maybe we no longer trust the government to look out for us the way we think it should.  Or maybe it is simply about corporate plunder and the ever-widening gulf between the haves and have-nots.  Whatever it is, a new mindset pervades -- where getting involved is the right thing to do; where if you see something you are supposed to say something.  And with this new outlook has come some significant additional prodding from a host of newly energized laws that for virtually every industry sweeten the pot considerably for those willing to stand up and be heard.

When it comes to factory farms, however, the legislative tide seems to be moving in the exact opposite direction.  That is because of a set of laws being pushed across the country which not only discourages whistle-blowers from coming forward.  It actually threatens them with jail time if they do.


The Case for Keystone XL Goes Beyond Jobs and Energy Independence

For anyone who’s been following the Keystone XL debate, it’s by now common knowledge that the 1200-mile pipeline is being touted by proponents of energy independence as an important step forward.  It’s also no secret that Keystone XL will create jobs – lots of jobs.


Obama’s Keystone XL embarrassment

Obama’s Organizing for America recently launched a campaign criticizing members of congress for failing to listen to scientists on climate change.


Don't renege on federal energy efficiency commitments

Lead by example, it is often said. And when it comes to making buildings more sustainable and use less energy, architects are worried that the Federal government could soon abandon that worthy role.
Legislation currently being considered in Congress would weaken or eliminate energy efficiency performance standards for federal buildings. Ironically, such a proposal  is likely to be offered as an amendment to the Shaheen-Portman energy conservation bill, which our profession heartily endorses and which is scheduled for mark-up on Wednesday, May 8.  


EPA trying to confuse public on impact of Keystone pipeline

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently got in a rather public spat with the U.S. Department of State over the proposed Keystone XL pipeline project. Apart from the irregularity of one Cabinet agency attacking another, the episode was a boondoggle for the EPA, which came out looking both petty and unscientific.
In a letter to the State Department, the EPA contends that the State Department (which has the ultimate say in the whether or not the pipeline gets the green light) did not accurately assess the magnitude of the carbon dioxide emissions that would result from the burning of the 830,000 barrels of oil the pipeline would transport each day.


The fracking gas war

In 2012, National Geographic told us, “Unlike CO2, methane affects human health, because it is a precursor of smog.” Now the Environmental Defense Fund tells us, “... each pound of methane is 72 times more powerful at increasing the retention of heat in the atmosphere than a pound of carbon dioxide.” So, what is this toxic greenhouse gas, methane? It’s natural gas, that stuff we get from “fracking.”