Drudge’s top storylines for the morning feature energy shortage problems in a number of states across the country because of the exceptionally cold weather. Increased demand from the inclement weather has put strains on suppliers, and in some cases, the weather itself has adversely affected energy output.
New Mexico is calling for a state of emergency because of natural gas shortages, natural gas pipes in Texas are experiencing low pressure, and several other states are managing rolling blackouts and record-high energy usage. While the recent energy turmoil is a result of extreme weather conditions, it is symbolic and a grim foreshadowing of what our energy policy in the United States has become: an anti-energy agenda.
Although the following examples are not all related to electricity use, the following stories showcase the misguided anti-energy agenda from the Obama Administration.
•The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will start regulating emissions from new power plants and major expansions of large greenhouse-gas-emitting-plants that emit more than 25,000 tons of carbon dioxide per year. This has led to a contentious battle between the state of Texas and the EPA over new permits that have been issued. A number of states, businesses, and industry groups filed lawsuits, mostly on the grounds that the EPA’s 2009 endangerment finding did not include conclusive evidence that greenhouse gases are a threat to human health and public welfare.
•The EPA recently revoked a coal-mining permit in West Virginia. Pulling a previously issued clean water permit is a clear affront to the coal industry and sets a dangerous precedent moving forward. Having a regulator that is willing to seemingly arbitrarily obstruct energy development projects will have a drastic negative impact on expanding domestic energy sources. A number of groups—including National Realtors Association, the American Road and Transportation Builders Association, and the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association—have already expressed concern to the White House after the EPA revoked the permit, writing that “every similarly valid permit held by any entity—businesses, public works agencies and individual citizens—will be in increased regulatory limbo and potentially subject to the same unilateral, after-the-fact revocation.”
•Shell Oil nixed its plans to drill for oil in the Arctic’s Beaufort Sea in 2011, citing the EPA’s egregious regulatory delays. Vice president of Shell Alaska Pete Slaiby said at a press conference, “We’ve been trying to [obtain] an air permit for five years … and now the continuous regulatory delays have forced us to make a decision … to forgo drilling in 2011.”
•The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement is sitting on 103 exploratory drilling permits.
•Obama Administration rescinded drilling permits already issued in the Chukchi Sea in Alaska and in December announced that the eastern Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic and Pacific coasts will not be part of the government’s 2012–2017 Outer Continental Shelf program.
•On natural gas, the EPA evasively posted a new rule on hydraulic fracturing that requires a company to obtain permits if the company uses diesel when fracking. The EPA ignored the process of posting the rule in the Federal Register and completely forwent the comment period.
•Despite 25 years of research and $10 billion invested, President Obama, without a shred of scientific or technical justification, directed his Department of Energy to arbitrarily end the Yucca Mountain nuclear materials repository project. This creates a huge obstacle to the broad expansion of nuclear power in the United States.
The rolling blackouts should now be a wakeup call for the Administration that we need a pro-energy agenda that does not include needless regulations. It should be a priority for Congress to rein in the EPA’s regulatory invasions and unilateral decision making on our economy.
Furthermore, Congress should focus on a pro-energy policy that opens access to America’s resources and creates a predictable, efficient regulatory framework for all energy sources.