Energy & Environment

Consumers don't want ethanol

To understand the public’s deeply-rooted opposition to the government’s renewable fuel standard, consider the multiple web sites that list ethanol-free service stations. Just one of the web sites, Pure-Gas, lists 672 ethanol-free stations in Wisconsin, 394 in Minnesota, 262 in Virginia, 145 in Michigan, and so on.  Altogether, PureGas lists more than 7,300 stations in the U.S. and Canada that sell ethanol-free gasoline or diesel.

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Staying the course: Our obligation to renewable fuels

Imagine if Thomas Edison had given up on the light bulb after only trying 533 out of 1600 materials for the bulb’s filamentor or if Sergey Brin and Larry Page had abandoned their search algorithm only one-third of the way towards creating Google. Now consider this: what if these pioneers had never achieved their goals due, not to lack of vision or innovation ability, but because they were told in no uncertain terms—you’ll never succeed.

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Wind subsidies, déjà vu

Expiring wind subsidies bring a sense of déjà vu to Capitol Hill. The main federal tax break for wind energy, the wind production tax credit (PTC), is on track to expire at the end of the year, and history is poised to repeat itself. This year, Congress should break from the past and end this wasteful handout for the wind industry, once and for all.

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We need tough questions on climate change

For the first time since President Obama unveiled his second-term energy agenda at Georgetown University, top administration officials testified before Congress this week in defense of the president’s radical climate action plan. Congress has rightly seized this opportunity to highlight Obama’s plans to finally fulfill his campaign promise to make electricity prices “necessarily skyrocket.”

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Congress needs to fix the helium program now

Unless Congress acts soon, the Federal Helium Program will begin shutting down on October 1. If this happens a valuable federal resource will lie unutilized and 42 percent of current domestic supply will disappear at a time when the helium market is already experiencing shortages. Congress should reauthorize the program with two changes. First, the government should increasingly use auctions to maximize its revenue. Second, since the Reserve will soon be depleted, annual sales should decline gradually, giving the markets time to adjust.

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Voters support action on climate

Last week the House Energy and Commerce Committee held a hearing into the Obama Administration’s energy and climate change policies.  These are important issues that directly impact Americans and are worthy of the serious consideration and discussion they received during the hearing. However, in recent years political partisans have used global climate change as an electoral wedge issue, which has ultimately led to a legislative stalemate on Capitol Hill.

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One year after Biggert-Waters, reforms must be protected

Congress took important steps last year to address the long-term sustainability of the National Flood Insurance Program by passing the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act, which eliminates wasteful subsidies and moves flood insurance premiums to more closely match rates that are charged in the private market.

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Reform or scrap EPA's outmoded mileage tests

Of all the rules set forth by the federal government to regulate the U.S. auto industry — and there are thousands — none is more frustrating to consumers and car companies alike than the EPA’s requirement that fuel economy be posted on new-car stickers.

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Today’s EPA rule portends an ominous future for manufacturers

Today, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued its long-awaited rule for new coal-fired and gas-fired power plants. The New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) regulation, which would limit carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from these plants, would effectively ban the construction of any new power plants fueled by coal, foreclosing the use of an energy source that today provides nearly 40 percent of our electricity.

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