Energy & Environment

New CAFE standards a burden for car industry, consumers

The Obama campaign has worked over-time trying to convince voters that the president understands the challenges confronting the middle class, while Romney is out of touch. Yet deeds speak louder than words, and American families — already struggling with rising gasoline and grocery prices, under-water mortgages, and high unemployment — should note how this Administration has taken actions to increase the costs of cars, while simultaneously making them more dangerous. How is exactly does that help the middle class?

Since the Arab Oil Embargo of the mid 70’s, the government has set rules dictating a base level of fuel efficiency, which is known as the Corporate Average Fuel Economy regulations, or CAFE standard. This month, the Administration doubled the requirements on the fuel efficiency of cars, vans, sports utility vehicles, and pickup trucks.

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Voters should challenge candidates on energy policy

Several months ago, with gasoline topping $4 per gallon in most parts of the U.S., it looked like energy policy would be a front-burner issue in the Presidential election. But the recent drop in crude oil and gasoline prices — with the exception of California where refinery shutdowns and transmission problems have led to temporary price spikes — has derailed energy as a hot-button campaign topic. This is unfortunate because $4-plus gasoline was a reminder that America does not have a sound energy strategy and that we need one both for economic and national security objectives.

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Government does a good job of protecting our natural history

The voters we talk to across America can tell you a lot about what Washington has done wrong: the bickering; the perceived lack of attention to the important issues facing the country; the redundancy and waste. The glum ratings they report to pollsters like us are not just attributable to concern about the economy, but often are grounded in skepticism about whether or not their leaders are up to the tasks at hand.  

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Gas industry needs to come clean on hydrofracking

As someone who was born and grew up in the California Bay area, I am acutely aware of the impact earthquakes can have on communities. Without warning, and in a matter of minutes, people’s lives can be completely uprooted, and the destruction can take years to fully fix.

So when people tell me we can drill for natural gas energy – but at the risk of increased earthquakes – I grow concerned.

For a while now, our country has rallied around the idea that natural gas is the answer to our country’s energy concerns, declaring it cleaner than coal and cheaper and more reliable than our dependence on foreign oil. The potential to extract large quantities of gas through hydraulic fracking sometimes sounds too good to be true, allowing for a future that is energy independent and environmentally sound.

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Majority of Bristol Bay residents oppose Pebble mine

The Bristol Bay region is one of Alaska’s most varied and beautiful. Situated 150 miles southwest of Anchorage it is 40 million acres of incredible mountains, lakes, and islands. It is a breath-taking and resource rich environment and home to large game and the world’s largest sockeye salmon fishery.
 
Bristol Bay is not the right place for the Pebble Project, potentially one of the world’s largest open pit copper and gold mines. No mine development of the magnitude proposed has ever been successfully built or operated in such a hydrologically unique and sensitive area. Dam failures and toxic releases would be catastrophic in this location - where nearly every river and stream contains anadromous fish species.

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Fighting to end President Obama's war on coal

President Obama’s war on coal is real. Don’t believe us? Come to Brilliant, Ohio or Clay, West Virginia and we’ll show you coal mines that were closed as a result of President Obama’s assault on hardworking Americans who work in the coal industry. Coal is a cheap, abundant, and reliable source of power. Almost 90% of Ohio’s power comes from coal and just across the Ohio River in West Virginia, over 95% of its power comes from coal. Needless to say, coal plays a vital role in not only powering the Buckeye and Mountain states, but coal generates nearly half of America’s electricity. So why would President Obama want to destroy such a vital part of America’s economy?

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Renewable Fuel Standard flexibility needed

American dairymen, ranchers, and poultry and pork producers are facing economic hardships and even bankruptcy from a perfect storm of shrinking corn supplies and soaring corn prices. As one of the most severe droughts we’ve seen in nearly 50 years dries up the corn crop, it’s clear that our federal ethanol policy isn’t helping the situation. While not the only cause of rising corn prices, the demands of meeting the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) during these drought conditions is stretching our corn supplies thin. In order to provide much-needed relief for the animal agriculture industry, food producers, and consumers, it’s critical that we make our ethanol policy more flexible.

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Starting to tackle climate change

The presidential campaign has produced only one memorable line about the environment so far -- and it was played for laughs. Republican contender
Mitt Romney told his party's convention that "President Obama promised to begin to slow the rise of the oceans" -- then paused for his audience to
guffaw.

Romney may have sounded dismissive to anyone who takes climate change seriously. But the Democrats haven't been much better. At the Democratic
National Convention, President Obama offered just one small sound bite in support of renewable energy. His team has also avoided any mention of
climate change.

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Oppose CNOOC-Nexen merger, approve Keystone

Recently, Chinese state oil company, CNOOC, announced its intention to purchase Canadian oil company, Nexen, for $15.1 billion in cash. I have deep concerns about this merger and what it means for American national security and energy security in the future.

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EPA's four-gallon minimum mandate

The latest mandate handed down from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is so ridiculous, even I was shocked. The EPA has now mandated how much gasoline you must buy at certain gas stations. Say hello to the Obama Administration’s four gallon minimum.

This unprecedented EPA overreach applies when filling up at a gas station that provides both E15 and E10, gasoline with 15 or 10 percent of ethanol, respectively, from the same hose.

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