Guest Blogs

Entries in Energy Policies (2)


David Holt - New Hampshire Follows Trend, Supports Arctic Energy Development

By David Holt


A new poll shows what’ll be at the top of New Hampshirites’ minds when they hit the voting booths next year to elect a new commander-in-chief – energy production.


A survey administered recently by Consumer Energy Alliance shows that more than 80 percent of voters in New Hampshire said that candidates’ energy policy would be a key decision point on who they vote for in next year’s presidential election. This resonated not only with Republicans but also with Democrats and the much-coveted Independents.


It’s hard to come any closer to showing cross-party unity on an issue than that.


This probably comes as a surprise for very few. Energy policies significantly impact the pocketbooks of residents in New Hampshire. All consumers, regardless of party affiliation, want to ensure stable and low prices for all forms of energy, and the energy sector continues to be the most significant pillar of the strengthening economy.


What is likely surprising for many is where voters in New Hampshire suggest energy policy will be crucial: the U.S. waters in the Arctic, a resources-rich region thousands of miles away. Support for offshore energy development in the Arctic Circle dwarfed its opposition by substantial double-digit percentage points.


What voters want to know – and what each candidate will have to answer – is how each candidate, if elected, will utilize the U.S. Arctic to expand the nation’s record-setting energy renaissance, which has resurrected the national and state economy by mass-producing jobs and helping make the U.S. a worldwide energy leader.


While several polls show that an overwhelming majority of Alaskans support energy development in the Arctic, the region remains a hot-button issue because of its beautiful geography and immense untapped oil and gas potential.


The U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management estimates that the Alaska Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) has about 27 billion barrels of oil and 132 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. That’s enough to fuel every domestic flight for over 120 years and heat every American home for more than 30 years. Furthermore, the Chukchi Sea, off Alaska’s northwest coast, offers more resources than any other undeveloped U.S. energy basin. In fact, experts believe it may be one of the largest untapped oil and gas sources in the world.


The National Petroleum Council (NPC), an advisory council to the U.S. Department of Energy, says that the development of these resources would not only create more jobs nationwide but also generate billions in additional revenue while keeping domestic energy production high and consumer costs and imports low. These resources would also help pull Alaska out of its multibillion-dollar budget shortfall and extend the longevity of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System (TAPS), a major energy artery for the lower 48 states and the energy-guzzling West Coast that continues to be hampered by declining throughput.


These polls and analyses illustrate how New Hampshirites support a common sense energy policy that includes Arctic offshore energy exploration. Most Alaskans, whose state is funded almost entirely by the petroleum industry, strongly echo these sentiments.


Now the White House – which just gave conditional approval to drill in the Arctic this summer – might be following the trend.


“When it can be done safely and appropriately, U.S. production of oil and natural gas is important,” said President Obama. “I would rather us – with all the safeguards and standards that we have – be producing our oil and gas, rather than importing it, which is bad for our people, but is also potentially purchased from places that have much lower environmental standards than we do.”


We at Consumer Energy Alliance could not agree more. With overwhelming public support by New Hampshire for offshore development in the U.S. Arctic and the importance of the region to our energy and economic security, we hope the Administration implements President Obama’s vision by taking the steps necessary for U.S. Arctic development to commence – and that the next President follows suit.


Carol Shea-Porter - The Keystone XL Pipeline Fails America

The TransCanada Keystone XL (KXL) pipeline fight has been very political. How many jobs will it create? Will this hurt the environment? Will this dirty tar sand oil stay in the United States and help to make us energy independent?  Is anyone buying influence to create this pipeline to carry Canadian oil across six states to the Gulf Coast? Are the Koch Brothers and their group, Americans for Prosperity, trying to influence the outcome by donating to the Energy and Commerce Committee members?

While the economy is recovering, creating jobs is crucial, so those who support this pipeline have been touting it as a job creator, although they sure seem confused. The NH-01 Congressman wrote that the KXL project, “is expected to immediately create 20,000 American jobs, and an additional 179,000 jobs through at least 2035 once the pipeline is fully operational in 2013.”  Speaker John Boehner, who just happens to have major investments in most of the oil companies that will profit from the KXL and has received money from them, says 100,000 jobs. The American Petroleum Institute claims “more than half a million new jobs” by 2035. The head of the US Chamber of Commerce, Thomas Donohue, says up to 250,000 jobs over the life of the project.

There is always a party pooper, and in this case, it is the Cornell University Global Labor Institute. In September 2011, it reported, "A calculation of the direct jobs that might be created by KXL can begin with an examination of the jobs on-site to build and inspect the pipeline. The project will create no more than 2,500-4,650 temporary direct construction jobs for two years, according to TransCanada's own data supplied to the State Department." 

Will it hurt the environment, our farms and water? We can look to the past to make an intelligent prediction. The Keystone 1 project, which runs from Canada to Oklahoma, has leaked 12 times in just one year. Their spokesperson told the press that there was concern that since there were two leaks in just a month, opposing forces might use that to stop the new pipeline. In other words, their miserable record might be held against them.

But the United States does need energy, and this will help make us energy independent, right? If we were going to keep the oil here, supporters could claim some benefit. However, the oil is not promised to us. Congressman Edward Markey, in his essay, “Drill Here, Sell There, Pay More” (The Hill, 2/9/12), wrote, “Last December, I asked the president of TransCanada point-blank if he would agree to keep fuels made from oil shipped through the Keystone XL pipeline in the United States. He replied, ‘No.’” But the head of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce (which is very different from our local Chambers, which serve Main Street businesses) ignored that, and scolded President Obama in a press release: “Just as troubling, the President’s decision will make us more dependent on oil from foreign nations that don’t share our interests.”

The Los Angeles Times, in their article, “Koch Brothers Now at Heart of GOP Power” (2/6/11) reported that their group, Americans for Prosperity, “began circulating a pledge asking politicians to denounce a Democratic-led effort to compel oil refineries and utilities to clean up emissions of greenhouse gases through a so-called cap-and-trade system… Americans for Prosperity began working to defeat House Democrats who voted for the bill, showing the power of its new activist base.” They ran ugly and false attack ads, defeated the Democrats, and now have many allies in Congress. The article also said, “Wichita-based Koch Industries and its employees formed the largest single oil and gas donor to members of the panel, ahead of giants like Exxon Mobil, contributing $279,500 to 22 of the committee's 31 Republicans, and $32,000 to five Democrats.” Did I mention that the Koch Brothers have a facility right there at the beginning of the pipeline and that their website says they are among the “largest crude oil purchasers, shippers and exporters”?

So we are not getting jobs, we are risking our environment, and we don’t get to keep the oil to reduce oil imports from our enemies. Why would the United States accept this pipeline from Canada to our Gulf Coast refineries?  If the American people don’t win on this “deal,” why are we considering it—just to help the oil companies get a better price on the world market than they could get in Canada or the United States?   As the old line says, “Go figure.”