Energy & Environment

If confirmed, McCarthy should avoid pitfalls of past at EPA

As the U.S. Senate prepares for Gina McCarthy’s confirmation hearing its worth reviewing the record of the Environmental Protection Agency's to understand the agency's approach to overseeing the oil and natural gas industry. Doing so reveals a troubling trend that, if not corrected, could negatively impact an industry that supported $545 billion in economic activity and 9% of all new U.S. jobs in 2011, leading major U.S. investment banks to declare that “energy is beginning to carry America.”

That trend isn't noticeable in the agency's official actions, but rather in email correspondence released due to Freedom of Information Act requests in multiple EPA regions – including the agency's headquarters – sought by reporters attempting to piece together seemingly disjointed agency actions.


Sires insurance bill is not a bailout for wealthy homeowners

In one convincing and catastrophic stroke, Hurricane Sandy proved that it’s not simply about sand, boardwalk planks, and rich mansions being swept out to sea.
Television cameras always seem to capture that first, leaving a lasting, though false, impression that only businesses and wealthy beach towns need rescuing. Nothing could be further from the truth.
What you don’t see is the sheer magnitude of lower- and middle-class families that remain devastated after the cameras leave.
A March 2013 NYU Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy study showed that low-income families were hit hardest by Sandy. Fifty-four percent of New York City homeowners who applied for FEMA aid make less than $60,000 per year.
A February 2007 Government Accountability Office study found that Hurricanes Katrina and Rita affected some of the poorest areas of the country and that many of those affected were receiving federal assistance from social security, disability, and food stamp programs.


Fishing for a reason to regulate

This Thursday, when the Senate holds its hearing on President Obama’s nomination of Gina McCarthy for EPA administrator, attention is likely to be focused on the many costly rules that EPA has issued during the last four years, and the additional ones now planned. During the president’s first term,  the administration issued more than 200 economically significant new rules each involving more than $100 million in new annual costs -- a record high for any president’s first term -- and EPA alone accounted for more than 25 new economically significant final rules, with annual costs in the billions of dollars by EPA’s own estimates.


New EPA pollution rule another case of presidential overreach

Point to any tyrannical regime around the globe and you’re bound to find a commitment to guaranteeing the “rights of the people.” But those same regimes repress basic human rights as vigorously as they proclaim them. While we in the United States rightly value our Constitution’s Bill of Rights, we know from example that even the grandest promises of rights will be an illusion without a system of government designed to protect them. That is precisely what makes the structure of the U.S. Constitution so brilliant.


Now is the time to approve Keystone

Leading up to the 2012 election, President Obama spoke convincingly and unequivocally about his commitment to U.S. energy security and job creation. Now that the president is into his second term, no other move would follow through on that pledge more than approving the Keystone XL pipeline. 
The pipeline, which will carry oil from the Bakken reserve in North Dakota and Canada’s oil sands to refineries on the Texas Gulf Coast, transcends the geographic and political borders and boundaries of both our countries. 


Keystone pipeline all risk and no reward

In many ways, Mayflower, Arkansas is the prototypical American small town. Its 2,234 residents live between the Arkansas River and the shores of Lake Conway in a landscape dotted by ponds and wildlife reserves. Attractions include a pumpkin farm, a corn maze, and – for six hours on weekday afternoons – a small local library.
So how did this tiny American town become home last week to a massive spill of Canadian oil? Blame an ExxonMobil oil pipeline that each day carries 95,000 barrels of dirty Canadian tar sands oil across Arkansas on its way to Nederland, Texas.


Putting innovation first at the Energy Department

Should the Senate confirm him to lead the Department of Energy (DOE), Massachusetts Institute of Technology Professor Ernest Moniz will be returning to a department he knows well from service as an under secretary during the Clinton administration. He has the opportunity to transform DOE, if he is willing to reform, restructure and refocus the organization to put energy innovation at the forefront of its agenda.

Most Americans probably assume that DOE is already focused on energy innovation; in fact, it was never properly designed for that task.


Congress doesn't want a water war

On April 23 the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments for a case in which the unspoken issue will be: Do the justices kick to Congress what would quickly become a bitterly divisive and intractable headache?

With unprecedented peacetime deficits, massively underfunded entitlements, issues of war, peace and national security, Congress’s plate of big issues is full. But another giant helping of trouble may be coming after the high court hears Tarrant Regional Water District v. Herrmann, a case that will determine the future of interstate water rights.


Liquefied natural gas: Transforming US into global energy hub

This week, the 2013 Pacific Energy Summit will be held in Vancouver, British Columbia, from April 2-4. The Summit provides a forum for leaders across the world to discuss and collaborate on topics revolving around energy security and climate change. This year’s theme, “Forging Trans-Pacific Cooperation for a New Energy Era,” focuses on realizing the potential for energy trade and investment between Asia and North America. As an attendee of this year’s discussion, I seek to highlight and promote the exportation of liquefied natural gas (LNG) and the subsequent transformation of the United States into a global energy hub.


Trust our energy future

President Obama rekindled the push for an Energy Security Trust during a visit to Argonne National Lab, a federal research facility just outside of Chicago. As he put it, “After years of talking about it, we’re finally poised to take control of our energy future.” The trust, which he introduced during his State of the Union address last month, would utilize revenue from oil and natural gas drilling on federal lands to fund research and development for renewable energy technologies.