Energy & Environment

Some advice for EPA nominee Gina McCarthy

Being nominated as administrator of the EPA is quite an achievement for Gina McCarthy, and in all of the pomp and circumstance surrounding this appointment, I thought I would try to give a few words of advice to the new administrator as she takes over at a critical time in our nation’s history as it relates to the environment. 
- Remember who you work for: the taxpayers – including businesses, which are too often demonized. My understanding has always been that EPA’s goal is ensuring regulatory compliance. However, I’m concerned that the primary method of ensuring compliance has been through enforcement, rather than compliance assistance.


Repealing oil industry tax subsidies would be good for taxpayers

Former Gov. Haley Barbour (R-Miss.) served up the usual field-tested oil industry talking points last week. The Hill readers may have been interested to know Gov. Barbour, the “B” in BGR Group, now counts Chevron as a client. In his defense, he is not alone. Walking lock-step with the American Petroleum Institute is common among politicos, past and present, looking for any conversation-stopper whenever the issue of the industry’s darling treatment by Washington comes up.


Weather satellites: A critical piece of our nation's infrastructure

One of the worst winter storms in recent memory just pummeled the Northeast. The blizzard left parts of New England buried under as much as three feet of snow. Hurricane-force winds knocked out power for hundreds of thousands, and substantial snowfalls extended from New Jersey to Maine.

Fortunately, officials and businesses in the region knew the storm was coming and were able to prepare. Blizzard warnings were issued. Commuter bus and rail services were suspended. Flights were rerouted or cancelled. Parking on major thoroughfares was prohibited to make room for plows.


President should embrace North America's energy resources

In his State of the Union address this week, the president focused his speech on the need to spur economic growth and boost America’s middle class. Included in his proposal was the need to make “America a magnet for new jobs and manufacturing” and to take “control of our energy future.” While these are worthy goals, the president failed to outline the necessary steps to achieve them. Absent from the president’s speech were two powerful engines of growth – the Keystone XL pipeline and the development of America’s abundant coal reserves. Rather than harness the potential of the America’s rich energy resources, the president sadly continues to block these important opportunities to create jobs and advance our energy security. The administration’s "all-of-the-above but nothing-from-below" energy policy is harming the middle class.


Drinking the 'fracking' Kool-Aid in Colorado

As a mother of three I am always concerned about my children’s health. Like most moms, I don’t want my kids drinking too much sugary soda or eating things that are bad for them. That’s why when I see our Governor making a display in the national media about drinking hydraulic fracturing fluid; I scratch my head a little bit.

It turns out that the fracking fluid that our governor is guzzling is actually a glycol-based product from the oil company, Halliburton, not the typical toxic concoction of non-disclosed chemicals, sometimes including benzene and diesel, that is most frequently used in hydraulic fracturing operations for oil and natural gas drilling. He failed to mention this when he appeared before the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources at a February 12th hearing titled “Opportunities and Challenges for Natural Gas.”


Keystone key to energy independence

In recent months, the press has been replete with reports that America is on the verge of achieving energy independence. For example, a recent study by the International Energy Agency (IEA) projects that by 2020 the U.S. will surpass Saudi Arabia to once again become the world’s largest oil producer.  By 2030, according to the IEA, the U.S. could be a net oil exporter.


Administration wrong on oil and natural gas tax provisions

The role America’s energy producers play in advancing our economy continues to be alternately ignored and mischaracterized. Recent comments from the Administration on oil and natural gas tax provisions demonstrate a deeply flawed understanding of the U.S. tax code as it pertains to the thousands of independent producers that ensure the continued development of the job-creating energy our nation relies upon.


President should address clean energy, climate change

President Obama began his second term on the right foot when he stated during his inaugural address that “we will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that failure to do so would betray our children and future generations . . . The path towards sustainable energy sources will be long and sometimes difficult. But American cannot resist this transition. We must lead it.”  As co-chairmen of the Sustainable Energy and Environment Coalition (SEEC), we wholeheartedly agree with the resident’s sentiments and encourage him to expand upon them during his State of the Union address.


A roadmap for responding to climate crisis

Tonight, President Obama will address the nation at the State of the Union, laying out his priorities for his second term. Climate change is expected to be high on the list, especially following the Inauguration when the president declared that a failure to respond would "betray our children and future generations."

The president has set a goal for the U.S. to reduce emissions by 17 percent below 2005 levels by 2020; however, the country lacks a clear national plan to get there- and to go even further.


Gov. Hickenlooper must strike balance between energy development and conservation

Today, Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper is expected to testify before the U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee during its hearing on opportunities and challenges for natural gas. Colorado is the epicenter of both the gas boom and the controversy over its impacts. Natural gas has been an economic boon to our state; it’s how many of us heat our homes and businesses and it can potentially be a cheap, clean and safe energy source for only hundreds of dollars each winter. Extracted properly, natural gas could be a piece of the solution to climate change and a path to reducing local air pollution, like Denver’s brown cloud.