Energy

With Hickenlooper out, Colorado’s empowered environmentalists target oil and gas industry

For eight years, Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper shielded the oil and gas industry from the salvos of the environmental left, but now there’s a new political regime in town with no love for fossil fuels. Without the pro-fracking Mr. Hickenlooper to run interference, Colorado Democrats are poised to deliver a body blow to the state’s $31 billion oil and gas industry with Senate Bill 181, legislation aimed at prioritizing environmental and safety concerns that critics have described as a de facto prohibition on drilling. “That bill, SB 181, make no mistake, it has nothing to do with public health and safety and everything to do with banning energy development in the state of Colorado,” Amy Oliver Cooke, executive vice president of the free-market Independence Institute, said at a Friday protest rally in Greeley. Still, nobody doubts that the measure will pass. The state Senate advanced the bill during Wednesday’s blizzard on a 19-15 party-line vote with one abstention, sending the measure to the House and one step closer to the desk of Gov. Jared Polis, a Democrat and longtime fracking foe who campaigned last year on 100 percent renewable energy by 2040. Environmental groups cheered the vote. “The state Senate is showing real national leadership, showing other states how to protect communities from the public health and safety impacts of oil and gas extraction,” said Sam Gilchrist, western campaigns director at the National Resources Defense Council. New York, Maryland and Vermont have gone further by prohibiting fracking, but unlike those states, Colorado has a major oil and gas industry presence. The nation’s fifth-largest producer of natural gas, Colorado fossil-fuel development supported nearly 233,000 jobs in 2015, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Colorado “is going to do something that hasn’t been done, and that is: a state with a very significant pool of gas and oil is going to make it a lot more difficult to mine it,” said Denver political analyst Floyd Ciruli. “There is really now ample warning that the way this legislation is drafted, it’s essentially going to allow some level of a ban,” he said. “The public is clearly divided on this.” Republicans, rural Coloradans and industry officials have warned of brutal economic consequences. A REMI Partnership study released Tuesday by industry groups estimated that a 50 percent reduction in production by 2030 would wipe out 120,000 jobs and $8 billion in state and local tax revenue. “Let’s not forget that there will be pain if this bill passes,” state Sen. Rob Woodward, a Republican, said before Wednesday’s vote. “People will lose their jobs, people will lose their homes, people will lose their businesses. And as we all know when this happens, marriages will crumble, suicides will increase. It’s not a pretty picture.”

Indeed..  For more on this story, click on the text above.  This will be truly devastating to Colorado, if this crap becomes law.  Awful…

Energy Department Says U.S. Is Now World’s Top Oil Producer

The United States is pumping record amounts of oil, vaulting over Russia to become the world’s biggest producer of crude. The Energy Information Administration said Thursday that the U.S. produced more than 11.3 million barrels a day in August, a 4 percent increase over the old record set in July. Russia’s energy ministry estimates that country pumped 11.2 million barrels a day in August. OPEC reports Saudi Arabia pumped 10.4 million barrels a day. It’s the first time since 1973 that the U.S. leads the world in oil production. Several states hit record production in August including Texas, which accounts for about 40 percent of U.S. crude. The energy agency says pipeline bottlenecks in Texas and New Mexico are causing more use of trucks and rail cars to haul oil.

Excellent!!    🙂

Texas Exports More Oil Than It Imports For First Time Ever

The Texas Gulf Coast oil terminals sent abroad more crude than they received in April, the Energy Information Administration said this week. During that month, crude oil exports from the Houston-Galveston port district exceeded imports by 15,000 bpd. Over the next month, the advantage of exports over imports welled further, to an impressive 470,000 bpd. Total U.S. oil exports in may hit a record of 2 million bpd, with Houston-Galveston’s share of the total at a record-breaking 70 percent, from an average of about 50 percent since the middle of 2017, the EIA said. The bulk of crude oil exports from the Houston-Galveston area went to China, Canada, Italy, and the UK, with exports to China averaging 300,000 bpd in both June and July. This month, however, not a single crude oil cargo has been loaded for China, according to media reports, amid growing trade tensions between Washington and Beijing. Meanwhile, however, Texas is on track to become the biggest oil producer after Russia and Saudi Arabia, according to production estimates by HSBC, quoted by CNN. If the estimates turn out to be correct, the Lone Star State will be pumping almost 6 million bpd in 2019. RBC goes further, expecting production in Texas to boom to more than 6.5 million barrels daily over the next seven to ten years.

Wow!!

Trump EPA overhauls Obama-era regulations for coal-fired power plants

The Trump administration announced new plans Tuesday to roll back and replace Obama-era regulations on emissions from coal-fired power plants – a move praised by the coal industry as a job saver but panned by critics as a green-light to polluters. The newly unveiled Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) Rule, as it’s called, would give states broad authority to determine how to restrict carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to global warming. It’s meant as a replacement to the Obama-era Clean Power Plan that sought to speed up the closure of coal-burning power plants and cut back on greenhouse gases by cutting carbon dioxide emissions and encouraging utilities to invest in cleaner energy sources like wind and solar. “The ACE Rule would restore the rule of law and empower states to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and provide modern, reliable, and affordable energy for all Americans,” Environmental Protection Agency Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler said in a statement. “Today’s proposal provides the states and regulated community the certainty they need to continue environmental progress while fulfilling President Trump’s goal of energy dominance.” The effort is part of Trump’s overall bid to roll back regulations and help the struggling coal sector in particular. He is likely to highlight the plan at a rally in Charleston, W.Va., Tuesday evening. While the Obama administration and Democrats saw the Clean Power Plan as a crucial component in international efforts to curb global warming, Republicans have long claimed those regulations went too far and were too costly. From the start of President Trump’s administration, his Environmental Protection Agency has been working to overhaul the program. “An important part of what we are doing here is getting us back in our lane — we believe the CPP went beyond the EPA’s legal authority in many ways,” EPA Assistant Administrator for the Office of Air and Radiation Bill Wehrum said during a press call on Tuesday. “We think we are on very firm legal ground — much more so than the CPP was.” Without making a specific reference to the EPA proposal, Trump tweeted Tuesday that he’s “done so much for West Virginia” as he teased the rally, adding: “CLEAN COAL!!!!” The new plan would let states set performance standards for existing coal-fired power plants, providing them with a list of “candidate technologies” that can be used to draft their plans. The proposal would let states relax pollution rules for power plants that need upgrades, according to a summary reviewed by The Associated Press.

This is nowhere near enough..  BUT, it’s definitely a step in the right direction.  Kudos to President Trump and his administration for putting American energy, jobs, and common sense ahead of trendy political correctness.  Excellent!!    🙂

Trump administration to repeal Obama fracking rule Friday

The Trump administration on Friday will officially repeal the Obama administration’s 2015 fracking rule regulating oil and natural gas drilling on federal lands. “We believe it imposes administrative burdens and compliance costs that are not justified,” the Interior Department’s Bureau of Land Management wrote in a notice that it will rescind the rule, to be published in Friday’s Federal Register. The Interior Department initially proposed ending the rule in July and wrapped up the comment period in September. The Obama-era rule targets the practice of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, which has made the U.S. the world’s leading producer of energy. The rule is intended to increase the safety of fracking by reducing the risk of water contamination. It would have forced companies to comply with federal safety standards in the construction of fracking wells and to disclose which chemicals they used in the fracking process. Killing the rule has been a top priority of the oil and natural gas industry, as well as Republican lawmakers from Western states. The rule affects oil wells on public lands that are found mainly in the West. “We applaud the Interior Department decision to completely rescind the Obama-era rule regulating hydraulic fracturing on federal lands,” Barry Russell, president and CEO of the Independent Petroleum Association of America, said Thursday. “IPAA has long fought for independent oil and natural gas producers against an Obama-era federal rule that was overly restrictive and did not make hydraulic fracturing any safer than current state laws.” Environmental groups are expected to sue the agency after the rule is finalized, adding to the list of Trump administration actions going to court in the new year. “The Trump administration is endangering public health and wildlife by allowing the fracking industry to run roughshod over public lands,” Brett Hartl, government affairs director at the Center for Biological Diversity, said Thursday. “Fracking is a toxic business, and that’s why states and countries have banned it. Trump’s reckless decision to repeal these common-sense protections will have serious consequences.” The Trump administration can issue its own measure regulating fracking.

Of course it can..  These are executive level rules that can be implemented with the wave of one President’s hand, and undone by his successor’s hand/pen.  Such is the case here.

Arctic National Wildlife Refuge Drilling: Trump Parks His Tanks on Sierra Club’s Lawn

There was a lot of good news in President Donald Trump’s new National Security Strategy (NSS) — the document which finally told the truth about climate change: that green activists pose a bigger threat to U.S. security than anything the climate can manage. But nothing in the NSS is likely to provoke quite so much fury among environmentalists as one of the clauses buried among another of the Trump administration’s recent reform measures: the bit in the tax-reform package which permits part of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to be opened to oil exploration. Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) has long been a Sacred Polar Bear for environmental campaigners. It’s their line in the snow: the ne plus ultra of pristine wilderness, majesty, and loveliness to be preserved at whatever cost. Democrats have been fighting to prevent it being developed for oil since the 1970s. So Trump’s announcement that soon oil companies will be allowed to explore there is about as a big a provocation as if he’d turned up to the Sierra Club’s summer vegan barbecue, spit roasted a baby manatee, and served it up with a snail darter reduction and spotted owl sauce. The Washington Times reports: “House and Senate Republicans late last week unveiled a final tax-reform package that includes a controversial provision allowing a section of ANWR — which has been one of the highest-profile battlegrounds in the energy vs. environment debate since the 1970s — to be opened to oil exploration. ANWR drilling was left out of the House’s original tax legislation but was included in the Senate’s, and now has found its way into the final version of the bill hashed out by the chambers’ conference committee last week. Green groups are well aware that drilling in ANWR would represent a major blow to their agenda, and they’re pressuring lawmakers publicly and behind the scenes in the hopes of getting a last-minute change to the tax bill. Top environmental organizations also used public-relations moves to galvanize public opinion on their side of the debate.” The greenies are getting so desperate, they’ve even wheeled out Robert Redford. Redford appears in a new National Resource Defense Council (NRDC) ad opposing opening ANWR’s coastal plain to drilling. Alaska lawmakers have pushed for drilling in ANWR’s “1002 area” for decades in the face of environmental opposition. “Republican leaders are saying the refuge needs to be auctioned off to the oil industry to help offset a $1.5 trillion tax giveaway,” Redford said in the ad. “They claim that they can raise $100 million plundering these public lands.” To little avail, it would seem. The Trump administration has made clear that in the war between energy users and environmental campaigners, there can only be one winner. And for the moment, Congress is with him. According to the Washington Times: “In a statement Sunday morning, the office of House Speaker Paul D. Ryan said opening ANWR to drilling will both generate money for federal coffers and promote American energy independence. “The benefits of energy development extend far beyond raising revenue. Energy development creates good-paying jobs. Where? In Alaska, of course, where ANWR is located, but also along the entire energy supply chain,” his office said. “For example, pipes and equipment must be built. Truckers must be hired to drive equipment. That means good jobs for Americans across the country. This also means a major economic boost for our economy.” Republicans estimate ANWR drilling will create at least $1 billion in revenue over 10 years, though it’s unclear exactly when drilling will begin. Despite the authorization within the tax-reform package, it’s still likely to take years for companies to secure the land and go through necessary approval and permitting processes. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, Alaska Republican and longtime proponent of ANWR drilling, said the prospect of energy exploration in her state helps the broader GOP goal of increasing economic growth and creating jobs. “If we can successfully pass this legislation, the ultimate result will be more domestic jobs, larger paychecks, and greater energy security — and that is exactly what Alaska and our country need right now,” she said.

Agreed!!

Deja vu in Colorado suburbs: Fracking measure on ballot again

Like Bill Murray in the movie “Groundhog Day,” residents of this leafy Denver-Boulder suburb wake up each day to find themselves locked in an eerily familiar fight over hydraulic fracturing. Four years ago, Broomfield voters narrowly approved a fracking moratorium that was subsequently overturned by the Colorado Supreme Court, which ruled that the state, not localities, had authority over energy policy. Case closed? Hardly. On Tuesday, voters will go to the ballot box to decide on Question 301, a measure that would give the city “plenary authority” over all aspects of oil and gas development within its boundaries, which would run counter to the high court’s ruling. For Colorado’s anti-fracking movement, the idea is to leapfrog the courts by putting pressure on state regulators to enact rule changes that give more control to suburban communities as they spill into the Denver-Julesburg basin. “I have been involved in many efforts at the state level to update the state’s antiquated laws written for drilling vertical wells in rural areas,” Broomfield resident Jean Lim said in a Yes on 301 video. “We need local and regional efforts to push for state rule-making.” That’s an expensive way to make a point, say foes, especially since Broomfield has already spent heavily on court fees stemming from the 2013 measure, not to mention the anti-fracking campaign’s failed effort in July to recall Mayor Pro Tem Greg Stokes. “It’s like, here we go again,” said former state Rep. Don Beezley, a Republican and spokesman for the No on 301 camp.