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Charles Drevna U.S. Needs Reality-Based Energy Policy


 
Yosemite Valley
 

 

JUST ABOUT EVERYONE agrees that America needs more jobs, more domestic manufacturing and greater energy security. We can have all these things if the Obama administration works with Congress in 2012 to pursue policies that take advantage of America’s tremendous energy resources in an environmentally responsible manner.

Yes, we have done and will continue to do both at the same time.

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Environmental extremists who oppose all fossil fuels are pursuing an unrealistic “just say no” policy that is not in the interests of America or American consumers and workers. By working to prevent just about all domestic production of oil and natural gas and by insisting on emissions reductions that that are virtually impossible to achieve at a cost consumers can afford, these extremists raise energy costs and deny us the right to use our own natural resources to advance America’s national interests.

Those of us who work in fuel and petrochemical manufacturing and in the production of oil and natural gas want a clean environment as much as anyone else – and we’re proud that we’ve played a major role in environmental improvement.

For example, EPA data shows sharp reductions in total emissions of hazardous pollutants from fuel and petrochemical manufactures in recent years. These emissions fell by 80 percent from petroleum refineries and by 75 percent from petrochemical manufacturing plants between 1988 and 2009. Refiners have cut sulfur levels in gasoline by 90 percent just since 2004 and reduced sulfur in diesel fuel by more than 90 percent since 2005.

As a result of these actions and actions by other industries, America today enjoys the cleanest air in generations. The air will grow cleaner still in future years without any changes in environmental regulations.

We can create jobs and improve the environment at the same time as long as we pursue policies based on real science rather than political science and conduct objective cost-benefit analyses to examine new regulatory proposals.

Here are some actions on the energy and environment front that would benefit all Americans in 2012:

• A top-to-bottom review by the Environmental Protection Agency of its regulations to determine which are beneficial and which amount to overregulation that causes far more harm than good. Efforts to impose severe and unnecessary restrictions on greenhouse gas and ozone emissions, and to mandate use of biofuels that don’t exist or can’t survive without billions of dollars in taxpayer subsidies, should be abandoned and replaced with sensible regulations.

• Increased exploration and drilling for oil and natural gas in many parts of the United States now off-limits to energy production. A December report from the Institute for Energy Research says there are 1.79 trillion barrels of recoverable oil in North America (the U.S., Canada and Mexico). The report says this is “almost twice as much as the combined proved reserves of all OPEC nations.” The same report says there are 4.244 quadrillion cubic feet of recoverable natural gas in North America. This is “more natural gas than all of the next five largest national proved reserves … Russia, Iran, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Turkmenistan,” the report says.

• Approval of construction of the Keystone XL pipeline to bring oil from America’s close friend and neighbor Canada to U.S. refineries, creating an estimated 85,000 new U.S. jobs by 2020 and making America less reliant on oil from other parts of the world. Canadian officials have said many times that if America doesn’t buy their nation’s oil the oil will be shipped across the Pacific to Asia – increasing greenhouse gas emissions. After more than three years of extensive environmental study and the approval of strict safety standards, the Keystone XL pipeline is long overdue to receive construction approval.

• State and federal actions to allow increased use of hydraulic fracturing, known as fracking, to sharply increase production of natural gas in America. This technology has a long record of safety and can help revitalize American manufacturing and end our reliance on foreign sources of natural gas.

• Abandonment by some state and federal officials of efforts to impose low-carbon fuel standards that would raise energy costs for American families and businesses without providing any environmental benefit. A federal judge blocked enforcement of California’s low-carbon fuel standards last Thursday. These standards amount to giant energy tax and fuel rationing scheme that would be forced on everyone who drives a car or truck. They are anti-consumer and anti-worker, and would raise fuel costs, decrease the fuel supply and destroy jobs.

Will all these sensible steps be taken in 2012? Unfortunately, environmental extremists will do all in their power to block this from happening by using protest demonstrations and media campaigns based on distortions to demonize fossil fuels and the workers who bring them to the American people.

Individual adoption of any of the actions described above will benefit all Americans. Collective adoption will set our nation on the path to energy security, consumer protection, manufacturing rebirth, full employment and economic prosperity. In 2012 the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers will work to educate and inform our elected leaders and the American people about the importance of a pro-American energy policy based on reality and achievement.

Source: NPRA News Release, originally published as a post on the NationalJournal.com Energy & Environment Experts Blog, Jan. 3, 2012. Reposted on www.PerspicacityPress.com Jan. 10, 2012.
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