From: Morning Consult
To: Scott Jenkins,
Subject: Morning Consult Energy: Keystone XL Decision Postponed, Critics Say Draft Grid Security Regulations Are Weak
Date: Mon Apr 21 13:33:59 MDT 2014
Body:

 

By Emily Holden

 

Today's Washington Brief: 

 

-The Obama administration indefinitely extended its review of the Keystone XL pipeline, likely delaying a decision until after November’s midterm elections, Wall Street Journal’s Amy Harder and Janet Hook report.

 

-Critics say grid security regulations being drafted by the power industry are too loose to stop saboteurs, according to Rebecca Smith at Wall Street Journal.

 

-Conservatives heavyweights, including the Koch brothers and anti-tax activist Grover Norquist, are amping up attacks on the solar power industry, reports Evan Halper at Los Angeles Times


Today's Business Brief: 

 

-Pro-coal groups say the EPA’s plans to require carbon capture and sequestration for new plants is making technology firms apprehensive about investing in the technology, according to E&E’s Manuel Quinones. In Minnesota, a federal judge struck down a state law that bans new power generation from coal, reports Star Tribune’s David Shaffer.

 

-A study from the peer-reviewed journal Nature says biofuels made from the leftovers of harvested corn plants are worse than gasoline for global warming in the short term, reports Dina Cappiello at Associated Press.

 

-Gasoline prices are at a 13-month high, reports Bloomberg’s Barbara Powell and Lynn Doan.

 

 

Today's Chart Review: 

 

Politics May Impact How Voters See Energy Affordability

from Morning Consult by Emily Holden 

 

 

Mark Your Calendars (All Times Eastern): 

 

Monday: Bipartisan Policy Center panel on Arctic Development @ 8 am

Monday: Alliance Biofuels Conference @ 8:20 am

Monday: USEA discussion on Norway’s CO2 technology center @ 10 am

Monday: Quarterly Earnings—Halliburton

Tuesday: Alliance Biofuels Conference @ 8 am

Tuesday: DOE, FERC workshop on third-party provision of reactive supply and voltage control and regulation and frequency response services @ 8 am

Tuesday: Geothermal Energy Association showcase @ 8 am

Tuesday: CSIS-USAEE conference on disruptive technologies @ 9:35 am

Tuesday: Cowboy & Indian Alliance kickoff of week-long protest event on Keystone XL pipeline @ 10 am

Tuesday: EPA teleconference on air standards for sulfur dioxide @ 1 pm

Tuesday: Brookings Institute webinar on clean energy finance through bond market @ 1 pm

Tuesday: Environmental Law Institute webcast on electricity consumption @ 2 pm

Tuesday: Quarterly Earnings—Arch Coal IncGulfmark Offshore Inc

Wednesday: Alliance Biofuels Conference @ 8:20 am

Wednesday: Armed Forces Communications & Electronic Association talks energy cybersecurity @ 8:30 am

Wednesday: USEA annual forum with Moniz, Moeller, MacFarlane @ 11 am

Wednesday: American Security Project discussion of weather, climate and national security @ 12:30 pm

Wednesday: Quarterly Earnings—Dow Chemical CoLincoln Electric Holdings IncOceaneering International Inc

Thursday: DOE meeting on basic nuclear science research @ 8:45 am

Thursday: DOE EERE meeting on building energy codes @ 8 am

Thursday: Johns Hopkins International Studies discussion on post-Fukushima policies @ Noon

Thursday: Quarterly Earnings—Cabot Oil and Gas CorpEntergy CorpNoble Energy CorpPeabody Energy CorpSolarflex CorpSunPower CorpSuperior Energy Services IncSurge Global Energy Inc

Friday: DOE meeting on basic nuclear science research @ 9 am 

Friday: Quarterly Earnings—American Electric Power Co IncDTE Energy CoForum Energy Technologies



 

 

NEWS ARTICLES

1-6: General
7-10: Oil
11-12: Natural Gas

13-14: Utilities and Infrastructure

15-16: Coal
17-19: Nuclear 

20-21: Renewables

 

 

OPINIONS, EDITORIALS, PERSPECTIVES


22: Wall Street Journal
23: New York Times 
24: Los Angeles Times
25: Houston Chronicle 
26: Michigan Live

 

RESEARCH REPORTS, ISSUE BRIEFS, CASE STUDIES

 
27: Nature
28: Energy Information Administration 

 

 

NEWS ARTICLES

 

General

 

1) Obama Extends Review of Pipeline Project
from Wall Street Journal by Amy Harder and Janet Hook

 

The Obama administration is indefinitely extending its review of the Keystone XL pipeline, likely delaying a decision on the project until after November's U.S. midterm elections. The State Department, which has jurisdiction over TransCanada Corp.'s 1,700-mile long pipeline project because it crosses the Canadian-U.S. border, cited as the key reason ongoing litigation over a Nebraska law that allowed the pipeline's route through the state. The pipeline would send more than 700,000 barrels of carbon-heavy oil from Canada's oil sands to Gulf Coast refineries in the U.S. Critics say the pipeline will lead to greater development of, and reliance on, energy sources with high greenhouse gas emissions and warn it could lead to oil spills. Business interests contend it will create jobs and offer a safer alternative than transporting the oil by rail. The decision could help the Obama administration sidestep for now a tricky political issue that has divided the Democratic Party in an election year.

2) Keystone Non-Decision Keeps Some Democrats on the Hot Seat
from Politico Pro by Andrew Restuccia

 

The Obama administration pulled a classic campaign-year move Friday: It punted on the Keystone XL pipeline. Politically, it seems like a great idea, since kicking Keystone down the road — probably long past November — is better than an outright rejection for vulnerable oil-state Democrats, whose voters love the proposed project. And it keeps environmentalists at bay, boosting hopes that President Barack Obama might still swing their way. But the non-decision decision also makes life a little harder for several groups of Democratic senators and Senate candidates fighting for their lives. Some, like Colorado Sen. Mark Udall, have yet to take a firm stance on the Alberta-to-Texas oil pipeline — and the State Department’s announcement Friday that it’s extending its review of the project removes the possibility that Obama could resolve the issue one way or another next month. Meanwhile, pro-Keystone Democrats like Senate energy Chairwoman Mary Landrieu will face heightened pressure to take actions to match their rhetoric.

 

3) Proposal to Prevent Grid Attack Lacks Power, Critics Say
from Wall Street Journal by Rebecca Smith

 

A year after gunfire knocked out a substation that funnels power to Silicon Valley, the U.S. government has promised to make power companies amp up protection of equipment vital to the electric grid. But draft regulations—written by the power industry—are drawing criticism from experts who say the proposals are too loose to stop saboteurs. Among other things, the rules would allow electric companies to decide for themselves what threats are realistic and what steps to take to safeguard equipment. The proposed rules don't include the specific suggestions federal regulators made last year after the attack on the Metcalf substation near San Jose, Calif., such as installing opaque fencing and blast barriers at substations. And experts say they will exempt all but a few hundred of the nation's 55,000 transmission substations from any new security requirements.

 

4) National Energy Boom Blurs Political Battle Lines
from Associated Press by Nicholas Riccardi

 

The U.S. energy boom is blurring the traditional political battle lines across the country. Democrats are split between environmentalists and business and labor groups, with the proposed Canada-to-Texas oil pipeline a major wedge. Some deeply conservative areas are allying with conservationists against fracking, the drilling technique that's largely responsible for the boom. The divide is most visible among Democrats in the nation's capital, where 11 Democratic senators wrote President Barack Obama this month urging him to approve the Keystone XL pipeline, which is opposed by many environmental groups and billionaire activist Tom Steyer. The State Department said Friday that it was extending indefinitely the amount of time that federal agencies have to review the project, likely delaying a pipeline decision until after the November elections.

5) The New Winners and Losers in America's Shale Boom

from Wall Street Journal by Russell Gold and Theo Francis

 

A new breed of energy company is a hit with investors using a mantra long scorned in the oil-and-gas business: Small is beautiful. When the U.S. energy boom began almost a decade ago, the companies leading the way believed bigger was better. They amassed huge land holdings so they could drill thousands of wells—and then struggled as the glut of natural-gas freed through hydraulic fracturing pushed down prices. Like their bigger rivals, the upstarts frack to tap previously untouchable oil and gas deposits in dense shale formations. But these companies have focused on the right property instead of the most property—and raked in big stock paydays as a result.

6) U.S. Index Futures Are Little Changed After S&P 500 Jump

from Bloomberg by Cecile Vannucci

 

U.S. stock-index futures were little changed, after the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index posted its biggest weekly gain since July, as investors awaited earnings reports by companies from Halliburton Co. to Netflix Inc…Futures on the S&P 500 expiring in June climbed 0.1 percent to 1,859.7 at 6:14 a.m. in New York today. Dow Jones Industrial Average contracts advanced 15 points, or 0.1 percent, to 16,358.

 


Oil

 

7) U.S. Gasoline Prices Rise to 13-Month High in Lundberg Survey

from Bloomberg by Barbara Powell and Lynn Doan

 

The average price for regular gasoline at U.S. pumps jumped 8.5 cents in the past two weeks to a 13-month high of $3.6918 a gallon, according to Lundberg Survey Inc. The survey covers the period ended April 18 and is based on information obtained at about 2,500 filling stations by the Camarillo, California-based company. Prices are the highest since March 22, 2013. The average is 15.55 cents higher than a year ago, Lundberg said. Gasoline has risen 39.74 cents a gallon since bottoming out in February and is up 43 cents this year.

 

8) U.S. Exporting a ‘Tidal Wave’ of Gasoline, Other Fuel

from Houston Chronicle by Jennifer A. Dlouhy

 

U.S. refiners are sending a “tidal wave” of gasoline, diesel and other refined products onto the world market, taking advantage of the surge in domestic oil development that has helped drive Gulf Coast crude stockpiles to record levels, according to a new report. The jump in domestic oil supplies means the U.S. is on track to become a net exporter of gasoline — producing more than it needs — next year, said Wakefield, Mass.-based ESAI Energy in an analysis released Thursday. Refiners boosted their output by 130,000 barrels per day in 2013, over the previous year – a trend that is likely to continue with predicted production gains of 135,000 barrels per day in 2014 and another 110,000 in 2015, the energy research firm said. Much of that will be flowing from the Gulf Coast, where refiners are expanding capacity and benefiting from climbing crude supplies.

 

9) BP Spill Fines Pay for Inland Cleanup
from Wall Street Journal by Yogita Patel

 

Four years after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, some states have started using fines paid by BP and its partners to clean up inland water pollution. Local officials within 25 miles of the coast are eligible for billions of dollars and plan to spend that penalty money in a novel way: cleaning up water that gets polluted before it ever gets to the Gulf. The idea is to prevent raw sewage and contaminated runoff from flowing into the ocean, where it damages beaches and threatens commercial fishing.

 

10) Fracking Sand Spurs Grain-Like Silos for Rail Transport

from Houston Chronicle by Thomas Black (Bloomberg)

 

The U.S. shale oil boom is putting millions of tons of sand onto North American railroads, enabling carriers to pack trains full instead of hauling just a handful of cars at a time. With help from Union Pacific Corp. and Warren Buffett’s BNSF Railway Co., the sleepy silica sand industry that once mostly supplied glassmakers now ships more than 20 million tons of the material a year. Buyers including Halliburton Co. and Schlumberger Ltd. use the sand in hydraulic fracturing at oil fields in Texas and North Dakota. Miners such as Emerge Energy Services LP, U.S. Silica Holdings Inc. and Hi-Crush Partners LP are taking a page from the grain industry’s playbook to deliver sand faster and cheaper. They’re building facilities at their mines to load unit trains, which move just one type of cargo, and near oil fields to empty them.

 


Natural Gas

 

11) Speculators’ Natural Gas Wagers Rewarded With Late Rally: Energy

from Bloomberg by Naureen S. Malik

 

Speculators’ decision to raise bullish bets on U.S. natural gas was rewarded with a rally to the highest price since February. Their net-long position across four natural-gas contracts rose 1.9 percent in the seven days ended April 15. Two days later, prices advanced the most in two months after a government report showed a second week of below-average U.S. stockpile gains, bolstering concern about tightening supply. Inventories are 54 percent below the five-year average, the U.S. Energy Information Administration said April 17. Another year of record production will be needed to cut the shortfall by the end of October, when stockpiles may be at the lowest pre-winter level since 2008, according to EIA projections. Frigid weather since November helped send supplies last month to the lowest in 11 years.

 

12) Abe to Ask Obama to Boost Shale Gas Exports to Japan
from Global Post by Staff

 

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe plans to ask U.S. President Barack Obama during their upcoming talks in Tokyo to boost U.S. shale gas exports to Japan, a government source said Sunday. Japan views the new and abundant source of natural gas as key to cutting fuel procurement costs and is aiming to ensure stable supplies from the United States, according to the source. Abe hopes to confirm with Obama during Thursday's summit meeting not only the importance of the U.S.-Japan security alliance but also cooperation in the energy and economic fields, according to the source. Abe is also expected to propose stepping up cooperation on clean energy such as solar power.

 

 

Utilities and Infrastructure

 

13) Calpine to Sell Power Plants to LS Power for $1.57 Billion

from Wall Street Journal by Cassandra Sweet and Anna Prior

 

Calpine Corp. will sell six U.S. power plants in the Southeast and Midwest to LS Power for $1.57 billion in cash, as the company focuses on its electricity sales businesses in Texas, California and mid-Atlantic states. Together, the power plants have the capacity to generate as much as 3,498 megawatts of electricity and are scattered across the middle of the country where Calpine doesn't operate many other electricity-generating facilities. Two of the plants being sold are in Alabama, with one each in Oklahoma, Louisiana, Florida and South Carolina. Calpine spokesman Brett Kerr said the company planned to sell the six power plants for some time, and wanted to sell additional plants in Alabama, Arkansas and Florida but wasn't able to get the price it needed for those assets.

 

14) House Republicans Want Documents on Electric Grid Security from Regulators

from Washington Examiner by Zack Colman

 

House Republicans are adding their voices to a growing number of lawmakers concerned about federal regulators' management of sensitive information about the electric grid. Capitol Hill has been buzzing about how the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission protects certain information following a Wall Street Journal story that, citing an agency analysis, said coordinated attacks at nine key substations could cause coast-to-coast blackouts for weeks, even months. The letter from senior GOP Energy and Commerce Committee lawmakers, which was publicized Friday, follows an inspector general report that said FERC should have classified at least one presentation from the moment it was created.

 

 

Coal

 

15) Judge Strikes Down Minnesota’s Anti-Coal Energy Law

from Star Tribune by David Shaffer

 

A federal judge on Friday struck down a landmark 2007 Minnesota law that bans new power generation from coal, saying it regulates business activities of out-of-state utilities in violation of the U.S. Constitution’s commerce clause. U.S. District Judge Susan Richard Nelson enjoined the state from enforcing key sections of the law, which North Dakota coal and utility interests said hampered their ability to find buyers for power from existing coal-fired generating plants or to plan for new ones…Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton said the state will appeal the ruling and “oppose North Dakota’s intentions with every means at our disposal.” North Dakota, joined by utilities and coal companies, sued Minnesota two years ago, saying the state’s Next Generation Energy Act violated the U.S. Constitution by improperly restricting electricity sales by North Dakota power companies…the order, if upheld, could open the door to Minnesota utilities buying more coal-generated power from other states.

 

16) Is EPA Rulemaking Hurting Technology Innovation?

from E&E by Manuel Quinones

 

…Pro-coal groups, including the National Mining Association and the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity, along with their allies in Congress, have questioned the agency's plans to require carbon capture and sequestration for all new coal-fired power plants. Beyond discussing whether CCS is "ready" for such a mandate, EPA critics have also said the agency's proposal is making technology firms apprehensive about investing in advancing the technology. "We've pulled way back on carbon capture [research and development]," said Kip Alexander, a power technology executive at Babcock & Wilcox Co. He cited "the way the rules are being written, the rules are being made" for the strategic decision to scale back. The statement may appear counterintuitive. If EPA is going to require a certain technology, why wouldn't companies be scrambling to cash in on the requirement? And why wouldn't technology firms be ramping up their research to help them out? Coal boosters respond that market conditions and the high cost of CCS mean that utilities will instead opt for building natural gas power plants or turn to renewables. Such a reality would hurt coal and leave the country vulnerable in times of high power demand, they argue.

 

 

Nuclear

 

17) Iran Says It Would Redesign Heavy-Water Reactor as Concession to West

from Wall Street Journal by Associated Press Staff

 

Iran will redesign its Arak heavy water reactor to greatly limit the amount of plutonium it can make, the country's vice president said on Saturday, marking a major concession from the Islamic Republic in negotiations with world powers over its contested nuclear program. The comments by Vice President Ali Akbar Salehi comes as the talks face an informal July 20 deadline to hammer out a final deal to limit Iran's ability to build nuclear arms in exchange for ending the crippling economic sanctions it faces. Iranian state television quoted Mr. Salehi, who heads the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, as saying Iran has proposed to redesign Arak to produce one-fifth of the plutonium initially planned for it. He said that will eliminate concerns the West has that Iran could use the plutonium produced at Arak to build a nuclear weapon.

 

18) Cleanup Plan for Hanford Nuclear Reservation Rejected by Washington State
from The Oregonian by Associated Press Staff

 

The state of Washington on Friday rejected the U.S. Department of Energy's proposal to amend a federal court agreement governing cleanup of the Hanford Nuclear Reservation, the nation's most polluted nuclear weapons production site. The state sent a letter to federal lawyers, saying the March 31 proposal that would have eliminated many deadlines for Hanford cleanup "is not acceptable to Washington." Hanford for decades made plutonium for nuclear weapons, and now is engaged in cleaning up the nation's largest volume of radioactive wastes. The site is near Richland. The cleanup is governed by a federal court consent decree reached in 2010 that sets strict milestones for the cleanup process. But the Energy Department has said it is in danger of missing many of those milestones because of the scientific complexity of the work.

 

19) China Seen Buying Westinghouse Reactors for $24 Billion Nuclear Energy Projects
from Reuters by Matthew Miller

 

China may sign as early as next year the first of several contracts for eight new nuclear reactors from Westinghouse Electric Co, as the government presses ahead with the world's biggest civilian nuclear power expansion since the 2011 Fukushima disaster in Japan. China's main nuclear power companies are moving forward with talks to buy the third-generation Westinghouse AP1000 reactors, said Timothy Collier, China managing director of the U.S.-based company. The eight projects, including machinery and services, are expected to cost $24 billion.

 

Renewables

 

20) Study: Fuels from Corn Waste Not Better than Gas
from Associated Press by Dina Cappiello

 

Biofuels made from the leftovers of harvested corn plants are worse than gasoline for global warming in the short term, a study shows, challenging the Obama administration's conclusions that they are a much cleaner oil alternative and will help combat climate change. A $500,000 study paid for by the federal government and released Sunday in the peer-reviewed journal Nature Climate Change concludes that biofuels made with corn residue release 7 percent more greenhouse gases in the early years compared with conventional gasoline. While biofuels are better in the long run, the study says they won't meet a standard set in a 2007 energy law to qualify as renewable fuel. The conclusions deal a blow to what are known as cellulosic biofuels, which have received more than a billion dollars in federal support but have struggled to meet volume targets mandated by law. About half of the initial market in cellulosics is expected to be derived from corn residue.

 

21) Conservative Heavyweights Have Solar Industry in Their Sights
from Los Angeles Times by Evan Halper

 

The political attack ad that ran recently in Arizona had some familiar hallmarks of the genre, including a greedy villain who hogged sweets for himself and made children cry. But the bad guy, in this case, wasn't a fat-cat lobbyist or someone's political opponent. He was a solar-energy consumer. Solar, once almost universally regarded as a virtuous, if perhaps over-hyped, energy alternative, has now grown big enough to have enemies. The Koch brothers, anti-tax activist Grover Norquist and some of the nation's largest power companies have backed efforts in recent months to roll back state policies that favor green energy. The conservative luminaries have pushed campaigns in Kansas, North Carolina and Arizona, with the battle rapidly spreading to other states. Alarmed environmentalists and their allies in the solar industry have fought back, battling the other side to a draw so far. Both sides say the fight is growing more intense as new states, including Ohio, South Carolina and Washington, enter the fray.

 

A message from the American Petroleum Institute:

 

November’s election gives voters a powerful choice on energy. Smart energy policies can grow our economy, create jobs and establish America as a global energy leader. The oil & natural gas industry supports $1.2 trillion of America’s GDP. America is now the world’s number-one natural gas producer and is projected to be number one in oil by 2015. This election, get involved at ChooseEnergy.org: http://bit.ly/1ibtGlZ

 

 

OPINIONS, EDITORIALS, PERSPECTIVES

 

22) Tom Steyer’s Keystone Victory

from Wall Street Journal

 

The Koch brothers may get the media attention, but the billionaire getting the most political bang for his buck is Tom Steyer. The hedge-fund politico has pledged to raise $100 million to help Democrats keep the Senate, and on Friday he received a major return on his investment when the State Department again delayed its decision on the Keystone XL pipeline. State's excuse is that it wants to wait on the outcome of a legal challenge in Nebraska, but that's no reason for the federal government not to declare itself. Earlier this year State's latest environmental review found no net climate harm from the pipeline, which would take oil from Alberta to refineries on the Gulf Coast. State found that the oil sands will be developed even if the Keystone XL isn't built. The real reason for the delay is Democratic politics. Mr. Steyer and the party's liberal financiers are climate-change absolutists who have made killing Keystone a non-negotiable demand. But the White House doesn't want to reject the pipeline before November because several Senate Democrats running for re-election claim to favor it. We say "claim" because Louisiana's Mary Landrieu and others can't even get Majority Leader Harry Reid to give them a vote on the floor.

 

23) Running Out of Time

from New York Times by Editorial Board

 

Next year, in December, delegates from more than 190 nations will gather in Paris to take another shot at completing a new global treaty on climate change. This will be the 21st Conference of the Parties under United Nations auspices since the first summit meeting in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. For the most part, these meetings have been exercises in futility, producing just one treaty — in Kyoto in 1997 — that asked little of the big developing countries and was never ratified by the United States Senate. But if the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s most recent report is to be taken seriously, as it should be, the Paris meeting may well be the world’s last, best chance to get a grip on a problem that, absent urgent action over the next decade, could spin out of control.

 

24) Does Fracking Cause Quakes? California Needs to Know.

from Los Angeles Times by Editorial Board

 

Many concerns have been raised about hydraulic fracturing — also known as fracking — but the one scientists know the least about is the potential for earthquakes. Until recently, evidence linking earthquakes to fracking — the high-pressure injection of water and chemicals into rock to release the oil or gas locked within — has pointed to post-drilling operations as the culprit. In other words, the problem didn't seem to be the original fracking but the re-injection of wastewater into wells. That suggested that if a safer disposal method could be found for the wastewater, perhaps the risk could be avoided. New events, though, indicate that the fracking process itself might also cause seismic instability. Ohio geologists reported last week that a small swarm of earthquakes in the state appeared to be linked to fracking wells; there were no re-injection wells near the area. Ohio had already announced rules to keep fracking operations a certain distance from earthquake faults and to require monitoring of even the lowest levels of seismic activity. The earthquakes that are possibly connected to both fracking and re-injection have been small, to be sure. But large-scale fracking has not yet taken place in active earthquake territory. It's unknown what the effect would be in California, with its networks of active faults capable of large temblors.


25) Deepwater Horizon Disaster Continues to Harm Environment

from Houston Chronicle by Susan Kaderka

 

This week, as we mark the fourth anniversary of the April 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill, evidence of that catastrophe's effects on wildlife continues to emerge. Despite sunny assurances from BP, the largest oil spill in U.S. history is leaving its mark on everything from marine mammals to mollusks….At the same time that BP is putting a happy face on Gulf recovery, its lawyers are dragging out the litigation over the company's civil liability for as long as possible. Despite a massive public relations campaign promising to "make it right," BP's real strategy seems to be "make them wait." Maybe people will forget. Maybe coastal communities will get preoccupied by other problems. Maybe impaired and declining populations of Gulf fish and wildlife will become the new normal. The citizens of the Gulf Coast should not let this happen. We should continue to insist that the Justice Department and our national leaders hold BP fully accountable for its actions.

 

26) Guest Column: How the Renewable Fuel Standard is Costing You at Restaurants

from Michigan Live by Brian DeBano

 

The President’s recent decision to sign the much-anticipated farm bill in Michigan is a testament to the leading role state farmers play in the nation’s food supply. As a major hub for U.S. food production, it’s now time for Michiganders to focus on another federal policy that has and will continue to affect our food producers and providers — the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). The RFS was created in 2005 with the noble intention of decreasing our reliance on foreign oil through the required blending of first generation biofuels into the U.S. gasoline supply along with the federally-assisted development of advanced biofuels to be introduced into the market by 2011. Unfortunately, the latter never happened despite the countless tax breaks and subsidies provided by the U.S. government, and the many foregone promises from the biofuels industry. Instead, corn-based ethanol continues to fulfill 80 percent of the RFS mandate. The heavy reliance on ethanol to meet the mandate has diverted corn away from food growth toward fuel production…As corn prices remain artificially inflated due to RFS blending requirements, restaurant costs continue to rise affecting the industry and consumers alike. Corn is a key input into the production of a wide variety of food products, from baked goods to meat production, which means its price greatly affects countless menu items.

 

 

A message from the American Petroleum Institute:

 

America is now the world’s number-one natural gas producer and is projected to be number one in oil by 2015. The oil & natural gas industry supports $1.2 trillion of America’s GDP. November’s election gives voters a powerful choice on energy. Smart energy policies can grow our economy, create jobs and establish America as a global energy leader. This election, get involved at ChooseEnergy.org: http://bit.ly/1ibtGlZ

 

 

RESEARCH REPORTS, ISSUE BRIEFS, CASE STUDIES

 

27) Biofuels from Crop Residue Can Reduce Soil Carbon and Increase CO2 Emissions
from Nature by Adam J. Liska, Haishun Yang,Maribeth Milner et al.

 

Removal of corn residue for biofuels can decrease soil organic carbon and increase CO2 emissions because residue C in biofuels is oxidized to CO2 at a faster rate than when added to soil…Unless lost C is replaced, life cycle emissions will probably exceed the U.S. legislative mandate of 60% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions compared with gasoline.

28) Extending Residential Energy Policies Affects Some End Uses More than Others

by Energy Information Administration

 

Many federal energy programs target residential consumption, such as appliance standards, building energy codes, and tax credits for energy efficient equipment. Because the Annual Energy Outlook 2014  Reference case is intended to reflect current laws and regulations, two side cases show the effects of the continued availability of incentives and further strengthening of standards beyond levels already established under existing laws or regulations…These policies tend to affect certain end uses more than others. For instance, energy consumption by residential space cooling equipment (air conditioners) is projected to increase in the Reference case projection by about 45% from 2012 to 2040 mainly because of the growth in the number of households, growth in the size of homes, and population movements to warmer climates.