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states2017  power-past-impossible 

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted October 17, 2017

“Life consists with wildness. The most alive is the wildest. Not yet subdued to man, its presence refreshes him.” – Henry David Thoreau, “Walking,” 1851

In the wilds of Maine this time of year, you’re running out of time to climb Mount Katahdin and reach the northern terminus of the Appalachian Trail. Winter is coming, and soon the weather will begin to close in on Baxter Peak, nearly a mile above sea level and the mountain’s tallest point – where the A.T. starts its 2,190-mile meander across 14 states, to its southern end in northern Georgia.

The Appalachian Trail is rustic, rugged and wild – maybe wilder than even a soul as solitary as Thoreau would fancy. One section of the trail just south of Mount Katahdin, called the Hundred-Mile Wilderness, might be the wildest of the wild for the challenges it presents even to experienced hikers. Since its birth in the 1920s, the A.T. has tested the mettle of tens of thousands of outdoorsmen and women of all abilities, including the uber-committed types who do the trail in its entirety – called thru-hiking. There are no electric lights on the trail, no vehicles, yet energy is with every hiker looking to their wild out.

Think: shoes, tents, backpacks and outerwear for the trek from Maine to Georgia, or whereabouts in between. The popularity of traveling the A.T. from end-to-end has skyrocketed, with 6,342 hikers completing thru-hikes since 2010 – more than a third of the total hikers to date. To make it through difficult terrain and changing weather conditions requires preparation – to stay warm and as dry as possible with durable gear produced from natural gas and petroleum by-products.

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offshore-energy-development  offshore-leasing-plan  safe-operations  us-energy-security  economic-growth 

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted October 12, 2017

What we see here are the outlines of a serious disconnect between current U.S. offshore policy and reality – that with the U.S. and the world projected to see significant growth in energy demand, the United States has more than 90 percent of its offshore reserves locked away, unavailable even for the studies and tests needed to determine the potential size and location of those reserves.

Given the long lead times needed to develop the offshore, the United States’ current policy posture needs a course correction. 

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states2017  power-past-impossible 

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted October 12, 2017

Want to start an old-fashioned scrap? Ask which state has the best barbecue. Some will say North Carolina, others Tennessee and still others Texas. All of them belong in the culinary kerfuffle. Then there’s Missouri, which just might top them all. In the least, the “Show Me State” – according to a couple of surveys, here and here – might be home to the city with the country’s best BBQ: Kansas City.

Again, you can eat great BBQ in a lot of places, but probably none is better than what they serve up in KC-MO. Perhaps it’s a holdover to KC’s hey-day as a cow town, when its stockyards covered 55 acres – actually straddling the Kansas River into Kansas City, Kansas, as well. (Below, KC’s stockyards in 1909.) At its peak in 1923, Kansas City’s yards received more than 2.6 million cattle and more than 2.7 million hogs. Only Chicago’s were bigger.

The living legacy to those days is some mighty-fine BBQ eating. Energy helps make the feast happen – in all its tangy, greasy glory.

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nebraska  keystone-xl-pipeline  jobs  economic-benefits 

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted October 11, 2017

With Nebraska’s Public Service Commission nearing a decision by late next month on whether the Keystone XL pipeline is in the public interest, it’s important to connect the pipeline’s construction with the people eager to build it and their families. We talked with some of these Americans earlier this year in Omaha. 

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natural-gas  emission-reductions  electricity  climate 

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted October 11, 2017

There’s a remarkable reality – among the many benefits of abundant, cleaner-burning domestic natural gas – that mustn’t be lost in the political back-and-forth over this week’s EPA decision to repeal the Clean Power Plan (CPP): The U.S. is achieving CPP’s objectives for reducing power sector carbon emissions – without CPP’s implementation.

It’s true: Reductions of U.S. CO2 emissions from electricity generation are well on their way to surpassing EPA’s estimate that CPP would lower CO2 emissions 32 percent below 2005 levels by 2030. And it’s being done without CPP, thanks largely to market forces driving the increased use of natural gas in power generation.

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states2017  power-past-impossible 

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted October 10, 2017

It’s early fall in the Mid-Atlantic, and memories of summer weekend jaunts to the Jersey Shore are still fresh – because, as Springsteen put it, “down on the shore everything’s all right.”

Here’s what’s alright: Folks loading up the car, filling the tank with gas and hitting the Atlantic City Expressway in droves, because there’s no more popular shore point than historic Atlantic City. The Boss again:

“Put your makeup on, fix your hair up pretty, and meet me tonight in Atlantic City.”

Atlantic City is the shore, it’s the Boardwalk – the one with a capital “B.” It’s shops, amusements and games of chance. It’s historic. Atlantic City street names were appropriated by “Monopoly,” still one of the most popular board games ever.

Atlantic City certainly lives up to its “Do AC” slogan. Pull through Ventnor or Brigantine, onto Atlantic Ave, into “America’s Favorite Playground,” and you’re instantly greeted by emporiums and casinos. A couple of blocks in the distance, the Boardwalk attracts beachgoers, bicyclists and beach tag checkers. This town doesn’t mess around when it comes to the tourist experience. Natural gas and petroleum help ensure that A.C. brings the heat year-round.

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trade  canada  mexico  us-energy  consumers  jobs  investments 

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted October 10, 2017

With talks between the U.S., Canada and Mexico on modernizing NAFTA heading for a fourth round this week, our negotiators can help ensure the global competitiveness of U.S. energy companies by working to retain strong protections for U.S. investments abroad through the agreement’s investment protections and investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) provision.

ISDS sounds a little wonky, but its basic mission is pretty straightforward: It helps protect U.S. investors from being treated unfairly by host nation governments. Conversely, there’s potential jeopardy if the U.S. allows ISDS to be weakened or removed in the current talks. It could undermine ISDS provisions globally in other treaties and agreements.

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ohio  natural-gas  consumers  electricity 

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted October 5, 2017

Ohio voters continue to oppose bailouts for nuclear plants. As a statewide poll showed this summer, a new poll by API Ohio shows big opposition to a proposal to let nuclear plant owner FirstEnergy charge its customers a special fee to increase funding for its plants in three counties that are near FirstEnergy’s headquarters and its Davis-Besse and Perry nuclear plants. The opposition in Lake, Summit and Ottawa counties is bipartisan and huge.

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states2017  power-past-impossible 

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted October 5, 2017

We’re a hardy lot, we humans, often displaying enormous determination to keep moving forward in the face of steep challenges. Paratriathlete Allysa Seely, though, takes determination to another level entirely.

Seely made history last year by winning a gold medal for Team USA at the summer Paralympics. Eight years earlier she lost her left leg below the knee after surgeries and associated complications in the course of treatment for three separate disorders, two involving her brain. (Read more about it in this interview with ESPN.) She refused to stay down – and energy supported her steely resolve.

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natural-gas  consumers  electric-grid  ferc 

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted October 4, 2017

Some initial takeaways from this week’s House hearing, during which there was considerable discussion of the U.S. Energy Department’s recent request that a new electricity pricing program be developed by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission – one that effectively would favor some energy sources over others.

First, as we argued twice last week (read here and here), markets – not preferences, mechanisms, subsidies or whatever – should be allowed to select energy sources for power generation, because they reward innovation, promote efficiency, lower prices and work to benefit consumers.

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