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End the Crude Oil Export Ban

Author(s): Senator Lisa Murkowski (R – AK)
United States Senator, State of Alaska
Chairman, Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee
Date: May 5, 2015 at 9:00 AM

Some of America’s oldest allies are heavily reliant on unappealing sources of oil and our nation’s resource abundance places us in a position to render vital assistance. The International Energy Agency estimates that in 2012 the United Kingdom depended on Russia for 12 percent of its crude oil imports, a relatively modest proportion when compared to the Netherlands (31 percent) and Poland (96 percent). All told, Russian oil accounts for approximately one-third of European Union imports. Meanwhile, Italy receives some 21 percent of its imported crude from Libya, and other key partners — India, Japan, and South Korea — bank… [more]

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What’s Next for the RFS?

Author(s): OurEnergyPolicy.org
Administrator
OurEnergyPolicy.org
Date: April 29, 2015 at 12:00 PM

In November, 2013, EPA announced a highly contentious proposal that lowered the 2014 Renewable Fuel Standard targets below their 2013 levels. These targets apply to the amount of renewable fuels that are blended into the nation’s gasoline supply. A year later, EPA abandoned the proposal after significant push back from the renewable fuel industry, agreeing to reconsider the 2014 targets. EPA has yet to reissue the proposal. The American Petroleum Institute (API) and the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM) filed a lawsuit over the delay, contending that they are left guessing how much ethanol they were required to use last… [more]

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Developing Water/Energy Policies for the Smart City of the Future

Author(s): Bobbi Harris
Founder and CEO
SMART WATER, SMART CITY LLC
Date: April 21, 2015 at 7:00 AM

Around the country, a new conversation is emerging among municipal leaders and utility executives as they explore the energy/water nexus. While Senator Murkowski started the discussion at the federal level in 2014, local leaders are just beginning to question the impact of the energy/water nexus. The water/energy nexus deals with the need for water to produce energy, and for energy to treat and distribute clean water. Water infrastructure is an essential public service in any city and is intrinsically linked to energy. Smart technologies and smart strategies for water and energy utilities are needed to address conservation challenges and form… [more]

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Fracking on Federal Lands

Author(s): OurEnergyPolicy.org
Administrator
OurEnergyPolicy.org
Date: April 14, 2015 at 12:00 PM

On March 20th, following a lengthy public review process, Secretary of Interior Sally Jewell unveiled new federal regulations for hydraulic fracturing on federal lands. According to the Department of Interior, these new standards are designed to (1) improve safety, (2) protect groundwater by updating requirements for well-bore integrity, (3) ensure wastewater is disposed of properly and (4) require public disclosure by companies of chemicals. The regulations will go into effect on June 24th, 2015. The fracking boom put the U.S. on track to be a leading producer of oil and gas, yet most of the production has taken place on… [more]

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EPA’s Clean Power Plan: Will it Work and Will it Be Upheld?

Author(s): Carol Werner
Executive Director
Environmental and Energy Study Institute
Date: April 7, 2015 at 7:00 AM

According to the EPA, its proposed Clean Power Plan (CPP) would lead to a 30 percent cut in carbon emissions from the power sector by 2030, compared to 2005 levels. The CPP sets a customized goal for each state, which takes into account its existing policies and the unique structure of its energy system. The current draft regulation gives states interim goals for 2020-29, and a final target for 2030. The EPA proposal offers a great deal of flexibility for states to choose how best to achieve these emissions reduction goals. The CPP suggests four “building blocks” that states can… [more]

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Will State Policies Adjust to Attract Renewable Energy Investment?

Author(s): Todd Foley
Chief Strategy Officer and SVP for Policy
American Council On Renewable Energy (ACORE)
Date: March 31, 2015 at 7:00 AM

In lieu of consistent energy policy at the federal level, businesses and power providers are increasingly looking to state legislatures for the right signals to invest in energy. The result? States are stepping up, leading to an increase in renewable energy use, particularly by some of America’s largest companies. A quick scroll through the weekly headlines reminds us that the demand for investing in renewables today is strong – and getting stronger. Google, Walmart, GM, Lockheed Martin, Amazon and Apple all have recently shifted millions in private funding into the clean energy sector. These moves are motivated by increased revenue… [more]

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Time-Variant Pricing in NY’s REV

Author(s): Beia Spiller
Economist
Environmental Defense Fund
Date: March 23, 2015 at 9:00 AM

Throughout most of the country, residential electricity customers pay the same price for electricity regardless of when it is consumed. Such flat rates mask the fact that true system costs vary over time according to electricity demand. Prices that better reflect the time-varying costs of producing and delivering electricity can lead to a number of economic and environmental gains, such as reduced wholesale prices, increased investment in clean distributed energy resources, and lower overall carbon emissions. Time-variant electricity pricing gives customers greater control over their electricity bills, since they can use electricity when it is cheaper and cut back when… [more]

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Climate Engineering: Solution or Problem?

Author(s): Simon Nicholson
Assistant Professor
American University
Date: March 18, 2015 at 9:00 AM

On February 10, the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) released two major new reports on climate engineering (or “geoengineering”). The reports set out to summarize the scientific basis for what the authors chose to call “climate intervention,” identify governance and ethical challenges, and chart a new research agenda. While the authors were careful to state that climate intervention is no substitute for reduction in carbon dioxide emissions, the reports indicate support for further investigation into large-scale technological responses. The paired studies assess two specific groups of strategies: (1) carbon dioxide removal and (2) reflecting sunlight, or albedo modification. While the… [more]

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EPA’s Methane Rule Comes Up Short

Author(s): Dr. Robert Howarth
The David R. Atkinson Professor of Ecology & Environmental Biology
Cornell University
Date: March 10, 2015 at 9:15 AM

The EPA recently announced new regulations for methane emissions, taking an important first step in reducing the impact of this highly potent greenhouse gas (GHG). But the rule falls short, in part because EPA has systematically underestimated methane emissions from the oil and gas industry. Emissions from conventional natural gas are likely to be at least 2- to 3-fold greater than the EPA estimates, according to several recent studies. Recent literature also suggests emissions from shale gas may be twice as much greater still, based on an observed large increase in methane in the atmosphere over recent years, with the… [more]

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What’s the Most Likely Outcome of the Keystone XL Saga?

Author(s): OurEnergyPolicy.org
Administrator
OurEnergyPolicy.org
Date: March 4, 2015 at 2:30 PM

On February 24th, President Obama vetoed legislation that would have authorized construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline as it “conflicts with established executive branch procedures and cuts short thorough consideration of issues that could bear on our national interest.” It is still possible that President Obama will approve construction of the highly controversial pipeline. In fact, a number of outcomes for the executive review are still possible and a district court judge in York County, Nebraska, just granted local landowners a preliminary injunction against TransCanada’s use of eminent domain for the proposed pipeline in a move that further complicates the… [more]

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