Talk about a bitter pill – in exchange for a 5-year extension on the tax credit for renewable energy, Congress has PERMANENTLY lifted the forty-year old crude oil export ban.
This deal lines the pockets of the oil industry at the expense of the global climate. Crude oil from shale regions like the Bakken in North Dakota and the Eagle Ford in Texas can now be shipped to overseas markets; it’s not even likely to be a good deal for consumers.
Last week the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Energy and Minerals held a hearing entitled, “Energy Independence: Domestic Opportunities to Reverse California’s Growing Dependence on Foreign Oil”. This hearing was a thinly-veiled promotional exercise for increasing oil drilling and fracking in the Golden State.
As President Obama prepares to deliver his State of the Union address, he must explain why his administration’s policies on clean energy, climate and environmental goals have not lived up to his own standards. The President declares it is his policy to:
“Build the foundation for a clean energy economy, tackle the issue of climate change, and protect our environment.”
But his actions speak otherwise. In doing so, he is ignoring his own administration’s best available science on energy and the environment.
As the United States Senate considers natural gas issues in the 113th Congress, I urge Senators to seek the true impacts this industry has on our public health and our climate. Despite industry rhetoric, and thanks in part to industry obstruction, we still do not know the impacts of the unconventional oil and gas boom.
But we do know that both the state and federal regulatory regimes are not equipped to cope with the boom. Loopholes in federal law and lack of enforcement of state law mean oil and gas companies are largely self-regulating, accountable only to themselves.
Once upon a fairly recent time, as our nation struggled to find the right path toward energy independence, industry and policy makers devoted a great deal of time and money developing the infrastucture capacity to import liquefied natural gas (LNG). Hailed by many as a clean and viable solution for weening us off of dirtier sources of energy, the promise of LNG seemed limitless. In many places, like my hometown of Baltimore, furious debates raged between concerned community activists (or "insurgents" in the modern parlance of industry fracking officials) and industry representatives on everything from landowner rights, to water quality, to homeland security implications. That was 2007.
Yesterday, I attended a hearing of the US Senate's Energy and Natural Resources Committee. The topic: Markets for Exporting LNG.