Energy & Environment

Commission calls for permanent nuclear waste facility

Nearly three decades since the debate over America’s high-level nuclear waste disposal began, the science remains clear that permanent geological
storage of spent fuel is superior to our present quagmire of on-site storage.

Yet in the wake of the Administration’s political blockade of an independent technical evaluation of the repository at Yucca Mountain, the resulting Blue Ribbon Commission found what many of us have long been saying about the failed management of nuclear waste. The Commission’s report correctly advises control of the Nuclear Waste Fund be removed from the purse strings of political ideologues and entrusted to “a new organization dedicated solely to implementing the waste management program” set forth under law.

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Ensuring responsible practices begins with oil and gas industry

America is at a crossroads when it comes to determining our energy future.

Armed with new technology and funded by record profits, the oil and gas industry is developing new ways to find supplies: extracting natural gas by fracking; squeezing oil from dirty tar sands; erecting drilling rigs in the most remote places of our earth.

Yet today’s boom in oil and gas production also comes at a time of ever-increasing energy alternatives, from biofuels and electric cars to wind farms and concentrated solar.

As we debate the role of domestic fossil fuel resources in our energy future, there has never been a more important time for

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Supercharge the economy with domestic energy

As we enter the year 2012, the battle to win the GOP presidential nomination wages on and 21 debates have come and gone, leaving very few commonalities left between the remaining candidates. There is, however, one thing that they-and all of the American people-can agree on: job creation.

It's been on our minds since 2008, but, Despite the gradual improvements in the U.S. labor market and the drop in the jobless rate to 8.5 percent in December, wrote Dr. Mark Perry, a professor of economics and finance at the University of Michigan, in a recent blog post, the payroll employment level of 131.9 million jobs in December is still more than six million jobs below the 137.9 million peak level when the recession started in December 2007.

However, there are three states he said that have now regained all of the jobs lost during the recession: North Dakota, Alaska and Texas.

Why? The people in these states are all benefitting from the thousands of opportunities made available in order to keep up with the abundant production of domestic energy resources, including natural gas.

America has the gas. It's ours, it's clean and it's much less expensive than oil. It just makes sense to expand its use so that the natural gas industry can play an even more vital role in our nation's recovery.

Fortunately, there is legislation before Congress that could add even more fuel to that recovery fire.

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U.S. needs Brazilian approach to energy policy

Earlier this month I had the opportunity to accompany Speaker John Boehner and a bipartisan group of members of Congress on a trip to Latin America. In addition to discussing trade and economic issues with the leaders of Colombia and Mexico, we also traveled to Brazil to focus on energy policies.  Brazil is eager to develop their own offshore energy resources and understands the job and economic benefits that come from energy production. It was not hard to contrast the energy policies of Brazil and the Obama Administration and realize that the United States is missing out on incredible opportunities by continuing to lock-up our resources.
 
The recent discovery of Brazil’s abundant deepwater offshore oil reserves, which is estimated to contain a combined 58 billion barrels of oil, has made Brazil an attractive business opportunity for American companies scorned by the Obama administration’s job-destroying offshore energy policies. In fact, while in Brazil we met with several U.S. energy companies that are now looking for business in this suddenly natural resources rich country.

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Keystone: Putting politics before the American people

On January 18th, Kerri-Ann Jones, Assistant Secretary of the State Department’s Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs, spoke to reporters about the administration’s decision to deny the Keystone XL Pipeline.

Over and over again, Assistant Secretary Jones said that there was not enough information to make an adequate decision. It “could not be deemed in the national interest.”

However, it was her response to Andrea Mitchell of NBC News that sums up the administration’s take on the project: “We’re making this decision because of the process.”

This is the same process, however, that led to the 2009 approval of a transnational pipeline between Canada and the United States: “...the addition of crude oil pipeline capacity between Canada and the United States will advance a number of strategic interests in the United States. These included increasing the diversity of available supplies among the US worldwide crude oil sources in a time of considerable political tension in other major oil producing countries and regions….Canada is a stable and reliable ally and trading partner of the United States, with which we have free trade agreements which augment the security of this energy supply.”

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Score one for OPEC

To say the Obama administration’s approach to energy policy has been a disaster would be giving it too much credit.
 
Things didn’t get any better this week when President Obama rejected the Keystone XL pipeline, which I believe is a game changer for our energy security. When fully complete, the Keystone pipeline system could transport nearly 1.3 million barrels of oil per day from Alberta and North Dakota to refineries in the Midwest and Gulf Coast.
 
Three years into his presidency, Barack Obama has severely limited access to both on and off shore oil and gas reserves, pushed the most expensive environmental regulatory agenda in history and sent a half billion dollars of taxpayer money to Solyndra, a now bankrupt solar company.

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Choosing special interests over jobs, energy security

Americans need jobs. In his rejection of the Keystone Pipeline permit, the president killed approximately 100,000 jobs, and he killed the jobs of the steel workers who would build the 1,700 miles of pipeline in Arkansas. His actions show that he also intends to kill the oil industry.

The Keystone XL pipeline is a 1700-mile, $7 billion non tax-payer funded pipeline which would deliver an additional 700,000 barrels of oil from Canada to refineries in the United States each day. The project would create an immediate 20,000 construction jobs and at least another 130,000 long-term jobs by conservative estimates. The pipeline would also mean less dependence on Hugo Chavez's Venezuelan oil.

With 8.5 percent national unemployment, it is unfathomable that anyone would turn away 130,000 jobs and continue to increase reliance on the resources of foreign nations, but this is exactly what the president is doing. Worse yet, he is doing so to appease special interests. President Obama chose to disregard common-sense recommendations from a panel he appointed and caved to the pressure of environmental groups. It is time the president worried about jobs on Main Street instead of his job at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. The president has blatantly shown his disregard for the well-being of the American people. 

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Keystone is common sense

First and foremost, Keystone XL means energy and fuel for Americans. Just a reminder – we need those things until what are now supplemental energy sources can take over for the base load (fossil fuels). Even the people who came to Washington, DC, to protest Keystone XL, used petroleum products and energy when driving, bussing, or flying to DC.  Isn’t that a little hypocritical?
 
Keystone XL means jobs. It would have meant the immediate creation of at least 20,000 jobs in construction, operation, and surrounding industries.  While some people question the accuracy of this number, I just remind them of the original Keystone Pipeline. It was built in the summer of 2010. Its construction was estimated to create around 9,000 jobs, and it created 9,000 jobs. While the U.S. is wallowing in a recession, keeping 20,000 Americans from working isn’t good policy.

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The promise of hydraulic fracturing

As the debate continues over the best way to create jobs in America, Democrats continue to claim that increasing energy costs through regulation will create opportunities in the “green” economy. This argument fails to realize that with the advent of the natural gas revolution, job creation is already taking place. Not only are jobs created in the extraction of natural gas resources, but manufacturing opportunities are now available to a wide variety of industries due to lower fuel prices. Residents are even noticing lower energy bills to heat and power their homes. Cheaper energy prices are in fact the pathway to the revitalization of the US economy, and encouraging its development is the best way to get Americans back to work. 

The Department of Energy has released revised estimates of natural gas reserves which show an increase of almost 62 percent over the last ten years. These new reserves are cheaper to extract due to the lowered costs and increased productivity of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. Since the last quarter of 2009, there have been almost two hundred thousand jobs created directly from the exploration and mining of natural gas. This in turn has contributed to the creation and stability of hundreds of thousands of related jobs in other sectors.

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For national security, Keystone is a dud

Even though President Obama said no to the proposed Keystone XL pipeline, its proponents continue to claim that allowing a Canadian company to pump its tar sands oil down the middle of our country will somehow improve national security here in the United States.
 
Don’t believe it. Here’s why.
 
Keystone XL is primarily an export pipeline. It will not bring any more new oil to our country. It will simply allow the oil industry to bypass the American energy market as it sends Canadian crude to the Gulf of Mexico, where it can be sold at higher prices to foreign buyers on the global oil market.
 
And just because this oil originates in a friendly foreign country doesn’t mean the United States will be any less dependent on oil from less-friendly countries.

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