Thursday, March 31, 2011

Reactions To President's Energy Policy Plan

Mar 30: Interest groups are reacting to President Obama speech at Georgetown University which outlined and clarified the President called the "Blueprint for a Secure Energy Future" -- a comprehensive national energy policy, "one that we've been pursuing since the day I took office." [See WIMS 3/30/11]. As we reported yesterday, Senate Republicans generally oppose the President's strategy and instead offered a two part plan: "First, let's increase American energy production by cutting the red tape and opening up areas that the administration has either temporarily blocked, stalled, or closed off to production. And let's block any new regulations that will drive up production costs for energy --including the administration's proposed new EPA regulations on carbon emissions. . ."

    In a blog post the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) said it agreed with President Obama on the need to increase domestic oil and gas production. They said, "Domestic energy producers want new exploration and drilling and to resume projects that were forced to shut down under the moratorium imposed last spring. While the Administration is advocating for greater domestic production, it simultaneously is preventing the permit process from operating in a timely and efficient manner. The Administration bears the responsibility to grant leases and permits for exploration and production to begin. Implicating domestic energy producers for lack of action, shortage or delay is irresponsible and inaccurate. It is time this Administration follow the policies it proposes. Action is required, not additional oratory.

    "The National Association of Manufacturers supports an 'all of the above' approach to energy supply. To successfully compete in a global marketplace, American manufacturers must have reliable, affordable and secure energy sources. By increasing domestic production and incorporating renewables into a larger energy portfolio, manufacturers will be protected from the unpredictable price swings that come along with foreign energy sources, providing the stability needed for manufacturers to grow, create high-paying jobs and invest in the future."
    NAM's Senior VP for Policy and Government Relations Aric Newhouse also released a statement on the DOI report on drilling leases released the day before and which the President referred to in his speech. He said the report "undercuts manufacturers and domestic energy producers and fundamentally mischaracterizes the leasing process. Companies are investing billions of dollars in these leases to explore for resources, which the Department has long understood to be part of the exploration process. . . Shifting blame and slowing the permitting process poses a serious threat to domestic energy exploration, which fuels the manufacturing industry, the backbone of our nation's research, innovation and job creation. . ."
    Charles Drevna, president of the National Petrochemical & Refiners Association (NPRA) said, "President Obama is right to say our nation needs to safely and responsibly develop and produce oil and natural gas in the United States while protecting our environment, and right to say we need to develop a wide range of energy sources for the future. However, he is wrong to believe that the best way to achieve these goals is to impose costly mandates and taxpayer-funded subsidies to pick energy winners and losers. American taxpayers can't afford to be burdened with billions upon billions of dollars in taxes to subsidize ethanol, electric cars, and other energy ideas that can't survive in the free market. These endless subsidies only increase the economic pain Americans are suffering, as do the greenhouse gas regulations and similar mandates the Environmental Protection Agency is imposing on our economy that drive up energy costs without improving our environment.

    "Instead of adopting a government-led model of command and control, President Obama should let American consumers and the free market determine the energy sources that best meet our economic and national security needs. This is the historic source of America's economic strength. America is rich in energy resources, and President Obama and Congress should move to make more of them available to serve the American people. This means allowing more exploration and production of oil and natural gas within our nation and offshore. President Obama should also allow construction of the Keystone XL pipeline that will enable us to get more oil to serve the American people from our good friend and neighbor Canada."
    The American Petroleum Institute (API) did not comment directly on the President's speech, but in two separate releases said it supports legislation introduced by Representative Doc Hastings (R-WA) that would increase access to domestic energy supplies and indicated that the DOI Report on idle leases "whitewashes government inaction." API said, "Our economy will still need oil and natural gas for decades to come. America must pursue policies that encourage responsible development of our resources instead of relying on imported energy from unstable parts of the world." They also said the DOI report, "completely whitewashes the fact that in many cases, the reason these leases have no exploration plans is that BOEMRE is sitting on those plans."
    The Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) President and CEO Bob Dinneen said, "We are encouraged by President Obama's recognition of the important role domestic biofuels must play in America's energy future. When it comes to replacing imported oil, no other energy technology can match ethanol today. The productivity of American farmers is allowing us to replace 10 percent of the nation's gasoline demand with cleaner-burning ethanol today and new technologies and increased productivity will allow for even greater replacement of petroleum-based fuels in the future. America's ethanol industry stands ready to work with the Obama Administration and Congress to transform current biofuel policies to reflect the evolving nature of the industry and the fiscal concerns voiced by many on Capitol Hill. . ."
    T. Boone Pickens, oil man, wind and natural gas-powered vehicle advocate said, "Today the President articulated the national security and economic threats associated with our escalating dependence on foreign oil. With the increasing price of gasoline, natural gas is an important domestic fuel at our disposal that can replace foreign oil to power heavy-duty fleet vehicles. Converting heavy-duty trucks and high-fuel use commercial fleet vehicles to natural gas can reduce our OPEC dependence now while we wait for technology to power the vehicles of tomorrow. It is clear President Obama is committed to weaning America off Middle Eastern oil, securing our own energy future and recognizes the role natural gas can play as a domestic transportation fuel. Recent unrest in the Middle East underscores the need to take action now and I'm encouraged by the President's promise to secure America's energy future and national security by reducing our dependence on OPEC oil."
    Environmental and public policy organizations including the Sierra Club, Center for American Progress and the League of Conservation Voters released their "Cleaner Cars, Less Foreign Oil" plan, "calling for President Obama and Congress to set firm targets for ending Big Oil's stranglehold on our economy." They said, "We join the President in his call for American ingenuity and innovation and we share his vision for a safer, healthier and more prosperous nation. However, the Sierra Club is firmly opposed to the misconception that coal or nuclear power can ever be clean. Instead of perpetuating our dependence on dirty energy, we urge the President and Congress to take meaningful action to move America into a clean energy economy."
    Earthjustice President Trip Van Noppen said, "We need a partnership between government and business to harness our most extraordinary natural resource—American ingenuity—to develop clean, alternative sources of energy like wind, solar, hydrogen, and biofuels. The best way to reduce our dependence on oil is to make cars go farther on a gallon of gas and to invest in clean, renewable forms of energy. The president's plan outlines some important steps toward that goal. But some elements of the plan are flawed and signal a lingering attachment to outdated ways of thinking. For one, offshore oil drilling in America's Arctic Ocean is simply a bad idea. . . "And before we talk about boosting domestic gas drilling, we need to require companies to take responsibility for their actions by closing the loopholes that allow them to pump secret chemicals into the earth. . . Just like with an old clunker, at a certain point we need to stop throwing good money after bad."
    Greenpeace USA Executive Director Phil Radford said, "President Obama's energy policy has already been riddled with disasters, so it's astounding that he would encourage even greater dependence on dangerous energy sources like oil drilling and nuclear power at a time when the risks have been made all too clear. For the millions of Americans put at risk by the inherent dangers of nuclear power, or those whose livelihoods have been destroyed by the Gulf oil disaster, more of the same is hardly the path toward 'Energy Security.' True leadership in the face of these disasters would mean setting out an energy plan that would move us away from our dependence on fossil fuels and dangerous nuclear power and instead harnessing abundant, safe and clean renewable energy."
   David Friedman, deputy director of the Clean Vehicles Program at the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) said, "Making our cars cleaner and more fuel efficient is the most important step we can take to cut America's oil dependence. You don't have to look further than $4 a gallon gas or turmoil in the oil markets to see why we need strong vehicle standards." UCS indicated that "To reach the President's goal of reducing oil imports by a third by 2025, U.S. petroleum imports would need to drop by at least 3.7 million barrels per day (mbd) by 2025 compared with 2008 imports of 11 mbd." They issued a plan to meet or exceed the president's 2025 savings goal, delivering total savings of more than 5 mbd.
    Access the NAM blog post (click here). Access the NAM statement on the leasing report (click here). Access the API statements (click here); and (click here). Access a release from NPRA (click here). Access a release from RFA (click here). Access the statement from T. Boone Pickens (click here). Access the release from Sierra Club et al and link to the their Cleaner Cars plan (click here). Access the statement from Earthjustice (click here). Access the statement from Greenpeace USA (click here). Access a release from UCS with more information on their analysis and proposals (click here).
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