Energy & Environment

Keep the LNG export permits coming

It would have been hard to imagine just a few years ago that we’d need to debate whether to export our energy. But the North American energy landscape is changing rapidly, and companies have now requested nearly 20 permits from the federal government to export natural gas. Despite opposition from some on Capitol Hill, environmentalists and petrochemical firms, the Obama administration seems to have decided in favor of exports, announcing recently that it was approving a second permit to export overseas, nearly two years after approving the first, and signaling more may be coming. They made the right call, and should continue to approve natural gas exports on both economic and geopolitical grounds.


Don’t let another hurricane season blow by without climate action

As hurricane season begins and vulnerable coastal communities brace for high winds and storm surges, Congress needs to ask itself: What can we be doing to better protect and manage existing and new development along our coastlines?

How can we minimize the destruction of life and property suffered by so many in hurricanes like Katrina, Rita, Irene, and Sandy?


Proposed fracking rules put nation’s drinking water at risk

In a move its predecessor would be proud of, the Obama administration has bowed to industry pressure and proposed rules on hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” on public lands that put the nation’s water supply at risk of contamination with cancer-causing chemicals.


President Obama’s energy legacy

Many presidents’ legacies are summed up in a word or a phrase. President George W. Bush will be remembered for 9/11 and the nation’s response; President Clinton for balancing the budget; President Nixon for Watergate; President Franklin Roosevelt for the New Deal and leading us to victory in World War II; and Teddy Roosevelt for his commitment to national parks.

How will President Obama be remembered?


Protect our waters, secure our future

Central America continues to mature as a region through geopolitical partnerships such as the Central American Integration System, or SICA. But much of that progress is now at risk due in large part to increasingly linked illegal activities occurring throughout the region’s waters and ports. 

We are referring to illegal fishing and its associated crimes, which include drug smuggling, human trafficking and total disregard for our natural environment. Increasingly, the lines separating illegal activities on the water are blurring as transnational criminal organizations use illegal fishing operations to hide in plain sight, flout the law, and violate Central American sovereignty.


Leveling the road for natural gas vehicles can give drivers a break from summer gas price hikes

Every Memorial Day, as sure as barbeques and baseball games, Americans can count on the familiar tradition of watching gasoline prices rise. The Energy Information Agency summer cost forecast estimates that gasoline prices this summer will average $3.63 per gallon.

While this price is down from last summer’s average of $3.69 per gallon, it still burdens the average driver. AAA predicted that Memorial Day weekend average gasoline prices will top the 2012 $3.64 level and even the 2011 $3.79 price. This follows AAA’s April survey showing that two-thirds of Americans say gasoline prices strain their budgets at $3.64, and half of Americans say gasoline is too high at $3.40.


Renewable fuels: where we should be

More than one-third of the world’s total energy usage relies on liquid fuels – primarily from fossil fuels. In the first quarter of 2013 consumption outpaced production, and the consumption trajectory is only expected to rise. Energy, especially liquid fuel, involves a global marketplace, and to our benefit in the U.S., Congress passed, and fomer President George W. Bush signed, legislation that not only fosters domestic energy production from more sustainable sources, but also provides a path for important green house gas emission reductions. So when frustration over that legislation – the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) – is expressed, and done so overlooking the policy’s fundamentals, history and future impact, it deserves to be addressed.


It’s time to build

Last Friday, the president visited a manufacturing plant in Baltimore, Md., where he focused on the importance of economic recovery. He told the audience, “I’m going to keep trying to work with both parties in Washington to make progress – because our challenges are solvable.” But now that he’s back in Washington and his campaign-style rally is over, it’s time for him to fulfill that promise. It’s time for him to join House Republicans in focusing on real solutions.  

One of those solutions is an “all of the above” strategy to secure our nation’s energy independence from OPEC nations, create jobs and provide families much-needed relief at the pump. As part of the all-of-the-above strategy, House Republicans passed a bill to approve the Keystone pipeline that will create up to 20,000 jobs directly related to the construction of the pipeline and another 118,000 downstream. The Keystone XL pipeline is primed to give our economy a shot in the arm and make energy more affordable – and it won’t cost taxpayers a dime. For a president that talks a lot about economic recovery and job creation, signing the Keystone project into law would be an excellent place to start.


Sound science can protect agriculture and endangered species

In a recent address at the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), President Obama promised to shield science from political maneuvering and ideological agendas that too often undermine the integrity of the scientific process and taint public policy. “In all the sciences we have to make sure that we are supporting the idea that they aren’t subject to politics; they are not skewed by an agenda … that we make sure we go where the evidence leads us.” 

Just one day after Obama’s remarks there, the NAS released a new report showcasing a scientific and regulatory train wreck in U.S. agriculture that affects federal regulation of crop protection products essential to American food production. The contentious issue has captured the attention of the House Agriculture and House Natural Resources Committees.  


The president’s legacy on energy

The United States is in a new and unique position: not only does it have the capacity for energy self-reliance, but also the ability to export energy. This enviable situation provides President Obama with an opportunity that could shape his legacy by creating more American jobs, strengthening our economy, and being a positive influence on the global stage.

All over the world, as populations and economies grow, the thirst for energy — especially fossil fuels — continues to rise. And those nations with abundant natural gas, oil and coal reserves have a marked advantage over others struggling to harness their energy potential or lacking recoverable resources altogether.

These emerging nations are forced to buy energy off a global market that, more and more, is controlled by totalitarian regimes that could potentially use their resources as a weapon. Specifically, nations like Russia, Iran and Venezuela have a history of shutting off, or threatening to shut off, natural gas and petroleum to nations that have fallen out of their favor. This triumvirate has the ability to freeze out any nation it chooses. And doing so could upset the fragile global marketplace leading to price spikes that would affect all consumers — no matter where they reside.