Energy & Environment

No nukes: A government meltdown in Europe

On Monday, May 30th, German Chancellor Angela Merkel announced the coalition’s agreement for the total shutdown of all nuclear power plants in Germany until 2022. German Environment Minister Norbert Roettgen said the decision is definite and that there will be no clause for revision.

Is Germany finally making the world a better place? Or is it just the German "Angst" which becomes visible here?


Consumers dealing with consequences of inaction on energy

With the end of the school year approaching and warmer weather finally arriving, families hope to hit the road on summer vacation. This year, despite slight declines in gasoline prices in recent weeks, Americans will be paying more than a dollar more per gallon than they were last year.

Unfortunately, policymakers have failed to green light policies that could ease this burden and produce more American energy.


For Memorial Day: A Clean Energy Future For Our Military

Congress is debating the Defense Department authorization bill, the legislation that allocates the $700 billion needed to fund our military through 2012.

Wrapped deep in the legislation is an important issue we can all relate to - fuel costs. The DOD consumes 2 percent of the nation's fuel, and fuel costs are among the military's biggest expenses.

Regrettably, the issue of where and how the military gets its gas is lost amid more high-profile topics such as wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. As a result, dirty energy industry groups have quietly launched a sneak attack to shoot down current initiatives designed to help wean the military off fossil fuels and move it toward cleaner domestic fuels.


The truth about energy profits

America's largest oil and natural gas companies just reported quarterly earnings, and as expected, profits were up. But the caricature of fat-cat energy executives lining their pockets at the expense of the everyman doesn't hold up to scrutiny.


Higher fuel efficiency standards would help 'the economy as a whole'

This piece was written in response to the May 20 piece, “Energy prices are hurting Americans, don’t add a hidden car tax” by Tom Pyle.
To hear the Institute for Energy Research, you’d think reducing fuel costs by using the most efficient vehicles possible is part of some left-wing plot aimed at destroying our economy (“Energy prices are hurting Americans, don’t add a hidden car tax” by Tom Pyle, May 20).

According to Mr. Pyle, giving consumers the choice of a vehicle that gets 60 miles per gallon instead of 20 or 30 is akin to levying a “hidden car tax” because such a vehicle might cost more than today’s less-efficient models.


Energy prices are hurting Americans, don't add a hidden car tax

Although the so-called "Great Recession" officially ended in June of 2009, unemployment moved back up to nine percent in April and sixty-two percent of Americans still have a pessimistic outlook on the economic prospects of the nation according to the latest Gallup survey. Given the fragile state of the economy, rising energy prices and widespread negative sentiment about the economy, the last thing the country needs is a new and hidden tax on the cars they drive. And yet, that is exactly what is likely to happen.

In a recent press event, President Obama said “this fall, we’ll announce the next round of fuel standards for cars that builds on what we’ve already done.” To recap, what the President has “already done” was force a fuel economy mandate, known as the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE), on U.S. automakers. And while the President insists this was done cooperatively, it is worth noting that at the time the government was in the midst of bailing out Chrysler and General Motors, which is hardly a position to push back against an arbitrary and punitive federal mandate. 


Senate energy bills were a missed opportunity

This week, the Senate squandered a real opportunity to do something about the increasing gas prices facing American drivers at the pump. Instead of bringing up meaningful energy legislation, the Senate continued business as usual, demagoguing the issue and demonizing “Big Oil.”

Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) proposed a bill with the full support of Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) to “cut taxpayer subsidies to big oil.” The factual translation of this is that it would increase taxes on five energy companies by disallowing them from claiming some of the same deductions thousands of other American manufacturers and businesses can claim, some of which are nearly as old as the income tax itself.

This is a pretty interesting approach to decreasing the price at the pump since two of the most basic rules of economics are that corporations don't pay taxes, people do, and that if you tax an activity, you're going to get less of it, not more.


Political attacks on 'Big Oil' hurt America

President Obama and some in Congress are falsely portraying “Big Oil” as the new Axis of Evil and a bottomless ATM that can provide billions of dollars to reduce the federal deficit and subsidize new forms of energy.

The ceaseless attacks that paint this inaccurate picture are an example of political demagoguery and public policy at its worst, substituting grandstanding and soundbites for sound analysis based on the laws of economics. 


Gas prices are no surprise to Democrats

It's not surprising that Democrats in Washington have no plan to bring down rising gas prices. But make no mistake, they do have a plan - to make them go higher.

That's right: the Democrats, along with President Obama, are advocating policies that will make you pay more at the pump. And that's exactly what they want. Consider President Obama's Energy Secretary, who said, "Somehow we have to figure out how to boost the price of gasoline to the levels in Europe." That's about $7 to $8 a gallon.


Why the term 'subsidy' is inaccurately applied to the oil and gas industry

In an all-too-familiar rite of passage for American politics, lawmakers on Capitol Hill are scrambling to show their constituents that they’re “doing something” about gas prices that are rising almost as quickly as temperatures across the country. Unfortunately, for President Obama and some Democratic leaders in Congress, this means taking another swing at their favorite political piñata, the oil and gas industry, by suggesting it’s not paying a “fair share” of taxes amid  record first quarter profits.  

This week, Montana Senator Max Baucus will give chief executives from the country’s five largest oil and gas firms a chance to respond to his plan to roll back $21 billion worth of tax deductions and credits for companies in their industry only. This spectacle is likely to be more about attacking the oil and gas industry for political purposes than about real reforms to increase domestic production and reverse government meddling in energy markets (both conventional and alternative).