Archive for the ‘Energy’ Category

Bureaucrats gone wild

February 23, 2012

20120223-084836.jpgWith gas prices reaching historic seasonal highs, Americans are asking themselves what’s going on. What’s going on is plenty, and all of it in the wrong direction under the Obama Administration.

One wrong-headed move follows another with this president, and listing them would take days. Drilling bans, ridiculous regulatory burdens, locked up lands, and halting the Keystone Pipeline come quickly to mind, but there is more. Two moves currently underway underscore the problem. The first is the “Menendez Amendment” that may be introduced as part of the coming highway bill in the Senate. It is yet another run at taking away “loopholes” from American oil companies – “Loopholes” that are available to every other type of American company for ordinary manufacturing tax credits and to avoid double taxation when foreign taxes on some profits have already been paid. So Senator Menendez – at the STate of the Union urging of the President – wants to single out U.S. companies for “special” treatment.

(Of note: Orrin Hatch voted for a similar tax hike back in December of 2007. Bob Bennett’s no vote was the margin by which it was defeated…)

Meanwhile, foreign oil producers like BP and Shell, and the national companies from Venezuela and Iran, get yet another competitive advantage. 

What happens if we raise taxes on oil and gas producers? Well, you think four bucks a gallon is bad…

But even that is not enough for this administration. Now the SEC is looking to force those same U.S. oil producers (as a little known part of Dodd/Frank, naturally) to disclose sensitive competitive information about monies paid to foreign governments to the whole world – including those same foreign companies against which American producers compete! U.S. companies that are publicly traded would have to account publicly for every payment down to the level of individual well leases. No one is opposing transparency here, but to have an American bureaucracy impose this kind of regulation ONLY on publicly-traded, AMERICAN companies is yet another example of the wrong move at the wrong time. Disclose total payments to particular countries? No problem. To give away the store to Venezuela and Iran? That’s a problem. 

Do the Obama-ites even realize who the really Big Players in the world oil market really are? You don’t get to companies like Exxon-Mobil till you’re way out of the Top Ten. To force U.S. producers to open their books to all their foreign competitors more than wrong-headed, it is insane.

It is just one more example of “Bureaucrats Gone Wild” under this administration – and one more explanation of four-dollar gas. If the Obama Administration gets its way on Menendez and Dodd/Frank disclosure, five bucks is just down the road.

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Great economic plan. Not.

September 3, 2010

This morning, more “Summer of Recovery” numbers came in. 54,000 more jobs lost, unemployment up to 9.6%, 40,000 fewer jobs created than expected – definitely not rosy.

But, if you’re in the gas and oil industries, things are even more bleak. Since the explosion in the Gulf last spring, the administration imposed a 6-month moratorium on deep-water drilling. According to nationally renowned economist Dr. Joseph Mason:

“the Gulf Coast region will lose more than 8,000 jobs, nearly $500 million in wages, over $2.1 billion in economic activity, and nearly $100 million in state and local tax revenue. Taking into account the effects outside of the Gulf Coast, the moratorium will cost the United States 12,000 jobs and nearly $3 billion, including almost $200 million in federal tax revenues.”

Yesterday, we had another explosion on an oil rig in the gulf. Extending the moratorium is not unlikely. If if goes 6-12 months, expect 36,000 jobs lost. A permanent moratorium on gas and oil production in the Gulf of Mexico would lead to nationwide economic losses exceeding $95 billion and more than 400,000 jobs.

But wait – there’s more! (Sadly, it’s not a knife set.) Two bills were introduced in July that will hurt our domestic oil companies but favor companies like, oh, say BP and Hugo Chavez’ Citgo. Right now, US oil companies who do business internationally must pay international taxes. The US currently offers those companies tax credits in the amount of those international taxes, insuring they are not taxed twice. Sadly Obama – and now these two bills – seek to repeal that tax credit and hamstring our own companies by double-taxing them.

According to analysis conducted for the Institute for Energy Research, this repeal would cause the U.S. to increase its reliance on imported oil from politically unstable nations, cost the economy 637,000 jobs, and reduce household earnings by nearly $35 billion over the next decade. As the Congressional Research Service recently put it, repeal would “adversely affect domestic production and increase imports.”

Let’s INCREASE our reliance on foreign oil. There’s a plan. *Hand to forehead* Duh! (And by the way – we wouldn’t need deep-water drilling if we could drill on our own LAND.)

Stunningly, the last time this came up, Senator Orrin Hatch voted FOR it – along with just a handful of other Republicans like Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins. Surely he will not vote for it this time around.

What? Me worry?

June 30, 2010

Photo courtesy Dan McDonald

On April 20, an explosion and fire occurred on the BP drilling rig Deepwater Horizon, located in the Gulf of Mexico. Eleven people died, 17 were injured. Two days later, the rig sank in 5000 feet of water – almost a mile deep.

A homeland security department risk analysis says the incident “poses a negligible risk to regional oil supply markets and will not cause significant national economic impacts“. White House press secretary Robert Gibbs says: “I doubt this is the first accident that has happened and I doubt it will be the last.” A couple of days later, a homeland security report on critical infrastructure says the problem has “no near-term impact to regional or national crude oil or natural gas supplies.”

The Dutch, however, knew this had the potential to be big and on April 23rd, they offered their assistance to the US. They offered ships equipped to handle a major spill, much larger than the early estimates of the 1000 barrels a day. (Current estimates stand close to 60,000 barrels a day.)

The Dutch also offered to prepare a contingency plan to protect Louisiana’s marshlands with sand barriers. One Dutch research institute specializing in deltas, coastal areas and rivers, in fact, developed a strategy to begin building 60-mile-long sand dikes within three weeks.

According to the “Financial Post“:

“If there’s a country that’s experienced with building dikes and managing water, it’s the Netherlands,” said Geert Visser, the Dutch consul general in Houston.

The U.S. government responded with “Thanks but no thanks,” remarked Visser, despite BP’s desire to bring in the Dutch equipment and despite the no-lose nature of the Dutch offer –the Dutch government offered the use of its equipment at no charge. Even after the U.S. refused, the Dutch kept their vessels on standby, hoping the Americans would come round. By May 5, the U.S. had not come round. To the contrary, the U.S. had also turned down offers of help from 12 other governments, most of them with superior expertise and equipment.

This is not the first time our government has refused help. When the Exxon Valdez oil tanker accident occurred off the coast of Alaska in 1989, a Dutch team with clean-up equipment flew in to Anchorage airport to offer their help. They were rebuffed and told to go home. The Exxon Valdez became the biggest oil spill disaster in U.S. history–until the BP Gulf spill.

Finally yesterday, 71 days after the first explosion and a disaster of unprecedented proportions, our administration finally accepted help from other countries.

The State Department said in a statement Tuesday that the U.S. is working out the particulars of the help that’s been accepted and that they will accept assistance from 12 countries, out of 27 who have offered.

The State Department hasn’t indicated why some offers have been accepted and others have not, nor have they indicated a timeline for when actual help might start.

So with a president who apologizes for American arrogance, is it, in fact, the height of arrogance to refuse help when we so obviously need it? Or perhaps it’s just one more example of Rahm Emmanuel’s famous quote “Never let a serious crisis go to waste…it’s an opportunity to do things you couldn’t do before.” We now have a moratorium on deep-water drilling, more promotion of cap and trade and a president who doesn’t want to talk about it.

From ABC News we have this:

In the wake of the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, President Obama today summoned a bipartisan group of over 20 senators to the White House to push for energy and climate change legislation.

But one thing the President did not want to talk about at the meeting was the BP disaster, a Republican source told ABC News. And that, the source said, led to a pointed exchange with GOP senator Lamar Alexander from Tennessee.

“The priority should be fixing the oil spill,” Alexander told the President, according to the source. “That’s what any meeting about energy should be about.”

But when Alexander tried to interject the BP leak into the meeting, the source said, the President told the senator, “That’s just your talking point.”

No, Mr. President. It’s not “just a talking point”. It is a serious crisis, one that is worthy of more of your attention than your golf game.

More land grabbing?

February 18, 2010

Today, an internal document leaked from the Department of Interior (DOI) indicates the Administration is in the process of considering whether to designate as many as 17 National Monuments located throughout the West. This document has Western Caucus Chairman Rep. Rob Bishop (R-UT) and many other Western Caucus members concerned that these sections of Western land and natural energy resources may be the next target of the Obama Administration’s radical agenda.

The DOI document mentions designations and land acquisitions in 11 different western states: Utah, Montana, New Mexico, California, Nevada, Arizona, Oregon, Washington, Colorado, Alaska, and Wyoming. Approximately 13 million acres of land (possibly more) are at risk for potential designation

“While the President may be frustrated with his inability to pass his agenda through a Democrat-controlled Congress, he should not try to score political victories through secretly-plotted unilateral executive declarations that may please some special interest groups but will harm the livelihoods of countless American families and communities across the country,” said House Natural Resources Committee Ranking Member Doc Hastings (WA-04)

Congressman Doug Lamborn from Colorado said “This Administration just doesn’t get it. Americans want jobs, not more federal bureaucracy and red tape. But that is exactly what they’ll get if the Administration locks up even more of our energy-rich land in the West.”

Congressman Jason Chaffetz says: “I am deeply concerned with the Obama Administration’s intent to forgo local, state, and congressional participation. It is the role of Congress to work with all relevant parties to alleviate concerns and develop compromises. I urge the Administration to reconsider their current path.”

According to the Salt Lake Tribune,

The Interior Department says the document on which the Utah Republican is basing his allegation is simply a draft memo outlining lands that may, in the future, deserve protection.

Interior spokeswoman Kendra Barkoff says Secretary Ken Salazar asked the department’s bureaus to identify areas that might be worth further study as possible management areas or spots for Congress to step in and designate as protected.

Yeah. I’m pretty sure that’s what Clinton did just before he swiped Grand Staircase-Escalante out of Utah’s hands….

Cap and trade on Utah’s Capitol Hill

August 25, 2009

Representative Rob Bishop came in front of the Natural Resources  committee and right off the bat said “If you are expecting me to say something positive about this bill, go to sleep right now, cause it ain’t gonna happen.”

As written, the Waxman-Markey bill would affect his Congressional district this way:
*Loss of jobs:  4,000 to 6,000 jobs lost
*Increase in costs – minimum estimate: $460 per year, per average household
*for every green job created, there are 2 to 3 jobs lost.

There WILL BE a shift as  government picks winners and losers and the hardest hit will be the poor in the mountain states, southern states and plain states.

He also said that “alternative” sources of energy is a misnomer – they should be called “supplemental”.  There is no one source of energy that can run this country, including fossil fuel.  We should be developing ALL sources of energy and there are certainly better ways to achieve energy independence than this bill.

Goal 1: We should develop all forms of energy – oil shale, wind, solar, fossil fuels

Goal 2: The royalities on fossil fuels should be used to pave the bridge to alternative energy

Goal 3: We should reward conservation, rather than punish consumption

Goal 4: We should reward entrepreneurship – give big awards for work done – that’s how we got a man on the moon. It will work for energy as well.

Robin Riggs spoke for the SL Chamber of Commerce, and presented the US Chamber of Commerce’s view:  this type of legislation is inevitable. However, it does not include nuclear as as option and it is not global, making it something that will not have nearly the effect they hope for.

Specific monetary impact: we will be trading MILLIONS of credits. It will look like its own stock exchange

In order to generate enough energy to power the world by 2050 while reducing CO2 emissions to 50% of 2005 levels, we would need to

*deploy about 1.4 BILLION new 40 mpg cars worldwide
*deploy more than 1 million 5 MW wind turbines (currently have 28,000)
*grow bio-fuels over an area roughly the combined size of AK, CA and MT
*Construct roughly 700 new 1 GW nuclear power plants (and this bill does not include nuclear as a viable option)
*build 1420 “zero-emission” 500 MW power plants and either
1) install 5200 sequestration sites or,
2) store the CO2 in newly planted forests in an area equal to more than half the US

Professor Arnold Reitze, U of U law professor said the cap and trade bill is the Kyoto protocols repackaged.
Professor Reitz said the federal government will basically be selling licenses to pollute, since requirements to reduce emissions would not kick in until 2024, long after almost everyone currently on Capitol Hill is long gone.

Expensive, ineffective, unrealistic and unsustainable might be appropriate works to describe this bill. We’ll see what the Senate does when the August recess is over.

220+ amendments

June 27, 2009

220 proposed amendments on the cap and trade bill that passed yesterday. The House passed one amendment with virtually no discussion and no chance to bring up any other proposed amendment. If you want to see a list of all the proposed amendents, go here. You’ll find things like a proposal to repeal the act if the average electric bill rises more than $20/month, or one (from Utah’s Jason Chaffetz) to require electric companies to line-item the increase, to one that would suspend the act if gasoline hits $5/gallon. There was even one by Rep. Gingrey from Georgia to allow states the right to opt out if they passed legislation to do so.
But – all those amendments are moot. With 2 days of the Capitol switchboard being overloaded and individual Reps offices flooded with calls, the bill that was supposed to pass easily barely squeaked out a 219-212 win. In the end, 44 Democrats voted against the bill, including Utah’s Jim Matheson, while 8 Republicans voted for it. They are Mary Bono-Mack (CA), Mike Castle (DE), Mark Kirk (IL), John McHugh (NY), Frank LoBiondo (NJ), Leonard Lance (NJ), Chris Smith (NJ) and Dave Reichert (WA). You gotta know the Republicans in those states – especially New Jersey – are gonna be looking for some changes in 2010.

Warren Buffet slams huge, regressive tax

June 25, 2009

Warren Buffet, long-time Obama supporter does NOT LIKE the Dem’s national energy tax. His solution? Create more American jobs.

Cap and trade vote TODAY

June 25, 2009

OK, really – let’s call it what it is – cap and tax.

Speaker Pelosi (who stands to rake in the bucks when this bill passes) has scheduled a vote on the Democrats’ National Energy Tax for tomorrow, June 26, or Saturday, June 27. Their so-called cap-and-trade proposal threatens to cost average American families more than $3,000 in new taxes a year, raise energy bills by $1,500 a year, and reduce employment by more than a million jobs annually. President Obama himself has said, “Under my plan of a cap-and-trade system, electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket.” Furthermore, this National Energy Tax will force many businesses to relocate, outsource jobs overseas, or even close their doors altogether.

The Congressional Budget Office confirms that H.R. 2454 imposes a national energy tax on every household in the U.S. Other independent estimates conclude that the cost of such a tax on families is well into the thousands of dollars. Almost every provision in the bill increases the cost of energy directly.

The Waxman-Markey bill will:
*increase energy costs to families
*increase energy costs to businesses – estimate for ONE Utah elementary school: an extra $10,000 in their annual electric bill
*increase fuel costs – at the pump, for air travel, for shipping and everything else related to fuel usage
*increase food costs (see above on fuel costs)
*cost American jobs by forcing them to India and China (countries with no plans to cap emissions).  According to the independent Charles River Associates International, H.R. 2454 would result in a “net reduction in U.S. employment of 2.3 million to 2.7 million jobs EACH YEAR of the policy through 2030,”
*act as a global bailout, sending $302 billion in taxpayer wealth overseas between 2012 and 2019 for climate change
*unfairly burden rural America, with farm income expected to drop by 94% by 2035
*make Al Gore rich – from a recent Reuters report by David Lawsky:

An environmental start-up backed by Al Gore’s venture capital firm aims to take advantage of coming U.S. climate change legislation by helping companies like Coca Cola and even cities cut pollution.
Hara, a 25-employee company that debuted in 2008, provides online software to help companies reduce their carbon footprint — a $2.5 billion market that will grow 10-fold if the proposed energy bill, which will require companies to get permits for emissions, becomes law, Chief Executive Amit Chatterjee said.

*create 12 new advisory boards, committees and other institutions – in addition to the 19 federal departments that will get increased funding to help manage this monstrosity
*set the stage for another market melt-down
*make virtually no difference on the temperature of the earth – less than 2/10’s of 1% in ONE HUNDRED YEARS

As of this afternoon, all 3 Utah Representatives are planning on voting no on the cap-and-trade bill. Overwhelming public outcry has been received – keep it up.
Capitol switchboard: 202-224-3121 and ask for your Representative
Congressman Bishop: 202-225-0453 or 801-625-0107
Congressman Matheson: 202-225-3011 or 801-486-1236
Congressman Chaffetz: 202-225-7751 or 801-851-2500


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