Energy & Environment

Stormy energy history repeats itself

Since 1998, he has led implementation on a multidisciplinary program of research and development, education, safety, and training. Also the former chairman of the National Energy Resources Organization, Willis is the founding chairman of the Global Technology Network of the World LP Gas Association.
Hurricane Sandy reminds us how vulnerable we are to Mother Nature. With wind and water she can wreak havoc, leaving us in the dark and cold, disconnected from the internet and news of the world, standing in long lines for a few gallons of gasoline, and searching for a cell phone signal, hoping the battery doesn't die first.


Congressional climate priorities

Few policy issues in the United States have morphed as significantly as climate change in the past two years. Today, national imperatives for economic and energy security dominate views on the environment. At the same time, weather disasters are expanding and global trends toward secure and sustainable energy markets are accelerating.

While climate change is still unsettled as a congressional priority, it is connected to some of the top issues of our time — most notably the links between economic, energy and environmental security and sustainability.


The need for carbon pricing - Now more than ever

Technological breakthroughs in energy production are creating access to more domestic oil and gas resources than at any time in U.S. history. This is a good thing for America — it generates jobs, reduces the budget deficit, improves productivity and global economic competitiveness, and shrinks the trade deficit. It also rebalances the geopolitical energy order, making the United States and others less dependent on Middle East oil and freer to exert leverage on countries like Iran.
For these very reasons, now is the time to price carbon.


Federal helium program: Reforms need to address shortages, inject free-market principles

For most Americans, the word helium may conjure up images of party balloons and cartoon characters floating in the Thanksgiving Day Parade, but few recognize the essential role it plays in our economy. From high-tech manufacturing to hospitals and scientific labs – our economy and lives in the 21st century are dependent on this lighter-than-air gas. Unfortunately, the impending shutdown of helium sales from the Federal Helium Reserve will create an immediate worldwide helium shortage, threatening our economy and costing tens of thousands of American jobs, unless Congress acts.


Hurricane Sandy was a call to action for US and Canada on climate change

As global temperature rise nears 1 degree above pre-industrial levels, the planetary emergency of climate change requires urgent global action. Keeping global emissions within the global carbon budget for a 2 degree world means that we need hard caps on extraction, especially carbon intensive projects like Canada’s tar sands. Unfortunately, Canada has abandoned its responsibilities and reneged on its commitments to meaningfully address climate change, and it is using the United States as its excuse, 

Canada’s emissions targets, much like the Unites States’ own, are far short of the kind of drastic emissions cuts needed to limit warming below the globally agreed ceiling of 2 degree warming. According to Canada’s political leaders, our ambition can only increase after yours to ensure economic harmony with our largest trading partner.


The Renewable Fuel Standards boondoggle

Although it was created with the best of intentions, the federal government’s Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program has become one of the worst and most costly boondoggles ever foisted on the American public.

Its goal was to reduce American dependence on foreign oil and incentivize the fledging renewable fuel industry. But in the hands of the Obama Administration’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), it has become a nightmarish mess of out-of-control mandates, over-the-top bureaucracy, and out-and-out fraud.


Liquefied natural gas exports will help, not harm economy, environment

As our nation’s leaders work to improve our nation’s struggling economy, there is one opportunity we cannot overlook: a responsible exports policy.
U.S. Senators and Representatives from across the country have voiced their support for natural gas exports as a unique American opportunity that will create jobs and strengthen our energy security. As Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) noted recently, natural gas exports represent “an opportunity to really help tilt the balance of trade in our favor for the first time in decades.”
Moreover, President Obama’s 2010 National Export Initiative highlighted the importance of expanded exports to create “sustainable economic growth” as well as “good high-paying jobs.” Natural gas exports are no exception.


Protecting national treasures should be bipartisan affair

There's nothing that invigorates Washington quite like a presidential election. But with record sums spent this year, much on negative ads, many in the press have questioned if returning members of Congress will be able to bridge today's partisan divide.

It is worth noting that we have been here before. Fortunately, there is a long tradition of members putting aside their partisan differences to find areas of compromise, even after the most heated of political seasons. America’s public lands have often provided that catalyst.


Energy policy needs to be based in reality, not wishful thinking

Over the last four decades the country has pursued at least seven major energy policy initiatives, all based on beliefs grounded more on illusion than fact: scarcity, independence, security, environmental risk, and government prescience. These have driven attempts to develop alternatives to oil and reduce our reliance on fossil energy. Guided by wishful thinking, they have failed.


Extend wind production tax credit and preserve military biofuels program

As a twenty year veteran of the Air Force, much of my service revolved around issues of energy dependency and national security. Early in my career, I had the opportunity to serve on the National Security Council staff of President George H. W. Bush. There, I witnessed the end of the Cold War and the victory of freedom over tyranny. This was a bipartisan effort over decades. I was there too when we rolled back Iraqi forces from Kuwait, another effort that had broad support across the political spectrum, and I was with President Bush when he attended the Rio Summit 1992, placing a marker with the international community that climate change and alternative forms of energy were a top priority for the world’s leaders. Since the Rio Summit, we have found ourselves increasingly dependent upon fossil fuel, with our national security tethered to unfriendly nations and subject to volatile global markets.  To free us from the whims of distant countries, America must invest in renewable technologies and take advantage of our energy resources here at home.