Posts Tagged ‘Energy’
That means the average American family is paying $2,200 more per year in gas today than when Obama came into office. And that is only the increased spending on gas. As gas prices increase, the cost of just about every other product increases as well.
And Obama is to blame… That’s because instead of taking action to dramatically expand American energy production, Obama has resisted new offshore drilling, rejected the Keystone pipeline that would give America access to Canada’s vast oil reserves, and kept much of our known domestic oil reserves off limits. Obama is so opposed to significant increases in domestic oil production that he goes so far as to claim that “increased [domestic] production doesn’t lower gas prices.” Instead, the President has once again “doubled down” on his so-called Green Energy agenda — an agenda that already is over-funded by our tax dollars with little return in actual energy production.
+ + How Obama’s “Green” Agenda Hurts Families
The fact is, Obama’s energy policies have damaged our economy by putting a stranglehold on American energy – - driving up gas prices, taking away American jobs and worsening our dependence on foreign oil.
The key to our energy independence is not more wind farms or taxpayer-funded Solyndra boondoggles or crazy EPA “work at home” guidelines. It’s much simpler
– AMERICA MUST PRODUCE MORE OF OUR OWN OIL AND NATURAL GAS!
And the Left’s claim that we lack the natural resources is simply not true. Analysts say Canada and the U.S. together have 400-800 YEARS of recoverable oil resources! Plus, domestic oil production creates jobs and strengthens our economy.
A former Chief Economist at the U.S. Trade Commission says that doubling our domestic oil production would add 2.5 million jobs and $250 billion to our economy – and cut our dependency on foreign oil and the terrorist-laden oil producing nations in half.
In the past week, Obama once again blocked increased domestic production by requiring another “environmental study” that could take 3-5 years. We must break the Obama stranglehold on American oil. Our economy is suffering and our families are paying a high price because Obama and the Left are pushing their radical green agenda over the interests of the American people.
Steve Elliott, Grassfire Nation
Oil is plentiful as new discoveries continue to be made, natural gas exploration and production is up, the dollar has strengthened, it’s an election year, and so gasoline prices are going which direction? Down? Well, no, according to the experts, gasoline prices are rising and could top $6 per gallon by summer.
Each of the above conditions usually results in lower prices at the gas pump. If supply goes up on constant demand, then price should at least remain steady or go down. As new discoveries are made then supply goes up and at constant demand, price should go down. Even as production lags discovery, markets build in the worldwide supply figures. Natural gas production is soaring allowing for cheaper substitution for oil.
But Obama holds it high by telling everyone that algae will power our cars. Tell him to use it in Airforce One.
Posted by: Barry Secrest
The new year has greeted Americans with the highest January gas prices ever, and some analysts say prices could get close to $5 a gallon in some areas during the warm-weather driving season.
The average price for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline in the United States on Monday was $3.39, according to motorist group AAA. That’s nearly 30 cents higher than a year ago.
Obama Administration: “Somehow we have to figure out how to boost the price of gasoline to the levels in Europe,”
The national average reached a peak of $4.114 in July 2008.
Experts say there are a variety of factors placing upward pressure on prices at the pump. For one thing, the U.S. economy appears to be in a modest recovery, heralding a likely uptick in gasoline demand.
For another, the possibility of conflict with Iran over its threat to close the Strait of Hormuz has driven a rally in crude oil prices over the past few weeks, increasing input costs for refineries.
The Strait of Hormuz is a critical shipping lane, with 17 million barrels of oil per day passing through in 2011, according to the U.S. Energy Information Agency. That’s about one-sixth of global oil production and nearly 20% of all the oil traded worldwide.”The potential surrounding the Iranian situation is much worse than Libya,” said Patrick DeHaan, senior petroleum analyst at gas price reporting website GasBuddy.com, recalling the oil spikes that accompanied Libya’s civil war last year. “The stakes are much higher.”
Gas prices on the rise again
Looking ahead, continued geopolitical risk as well as speculative interest in oil and emerging market demand could push prices higher.
Although U.S. demand is still lukewarm, American refineries are increasingly exporting gasoline abroad, where strong demand is keeping prices high, said Kyle Cooper, director of research at IAF Advisors.
“The U.S. consumer is competing with the emerging market consumer, namely Brazil, China, and India,” Cooper said. “You throw on top of that the fear of anything happening with Iran, and most likely prices are not going to come down significantly in the next few months.”
But Cooper only sees a modest boost in gasoline prices coming, to an average of around $3.50 per gallon by the beginning of the summer.
GasBuddy.com expects bigger increases coming, predicting that the median U.S. gas price will stand at $3.95 a gallon in May.
Some cities could experience record prices by Memorial Day, GasBuddy says, with Chicago residents paying up to $4.95 a gallon and New Yorkers shelling out up to $4.55.
But other analysts say consumers may get some relief in the months to come.
Gas spending and prices by state
Richard Soultanian, co-president of NUS Consulting, said that barring a confrontation with Iran or some other disruption in the Middle East, some of the current risk premium in the market “is going to be leaking out.” That should bring gas prices back to the low $3 range, he said.
Peter Beutel, an oil analyst at Cameron Hanover, said prices would likely drop by the end of February, since Iran is unlikely “to go through with any of its threats.” He expects prices to bounce back beyond that, but was hesitant to make a precise prediction, saying consumers are likely in for another roller-coaster year.
“I don’t see any way to get rid of volatility,” he said.
As the Obama administration weighs the demands of environmental groups who oppose the Keystone XL Pipeline project against labor unions who want the jobs it would produce, there’s a new twist: Following allegations of bias and corruption in the vetting process, the Office of Inspector General at the State Department has indicated it will launch a “special review” into the matter.
In a memo dated Nov 4, Inspector General Harold W. Geisel said the primary objective of the review is “to determine to what extent the Department … complied with Federal laws and regulations.”
That review could buy more time for the administration as it remains caught between two key constituencies: environmentalists and labor unions.
Thousands showed up to protest at the White House on Sunday, including Courtney Hight, who says she worked for the Obama White House.
“I left because it was clear to me that climate change was not a top priority to the administration,” Hight lamented.
The groups strongly supported Obama as a candidate in 2008, but many say that he hasn’t lived up to their hopes and that their enthusiasm is waning.
If approved, the pipeline would run about 1,700 miles from Canada to the Texas Gulf Coast. Critics say it would do irreparable harm to the environment, though the State Department’s Environmental Impact Review concluded it would not.
Supporters point to the jobs that would be created by the project. Mark Ayers of the AFL-CIO estimates it could generate about 20,000 jobs directly, along with another 500,000 jobs indirectly.
“As President Obama has rightfully declared when it comes to the creation of jobs, ‘We can’t wait,’” Ayers said.
Matthew Koch of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce hopes the administration will conclude that the benefits clearly outweigh any downside.
“This is a private-sector job investment that is a tremendous benefit to this country and to workers,” Koch said, adding, “It would be to the Obama administration as well.”
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said again Monday the ultimate decision rests with the State Department. However, Obama has made numerous public statements about the fact that he is the one reviewing reports and weighing a number of factors when it comes to the pipeline project.
In Monday’s White House briefing, Carney acknowledged, “In the end we fully expect that the decision … will reflect the president’s views.”
A decision is due by Dec. 31, but supporters of the project fear that the IG review could cause a delay of several months. Some even speculate the decision could be punted until after the 2012 election, meaning the administration could avoid weighing in on the controversial topic while courting key portions of its base.
On Friday the Obama White House essentially refused to turn over documents subpoenaed by House Republicans on bankrupt solar firm Solyndra, blasting off a feisty letter saying that the request would put an “unreasonable burden on the president’s ability to meet his constitutional duties.”
“The Committee’s extremely broad request for documents — now a subpoena — is a significant intrusion on Executive Branch interests,” the letter continued.
Fox News adds:
White House Counsel Kathryn Ruemmler, in her letter, scolded GOP lawmakers for demanding more documents, noting the Obama administration has already turned over 85,000 pages of documents in the course of their investigation. Without explicitly refusing to comply with the subpoena, Ruemmler repeatedly described the order as “overbroad.”
“The Committee’s extremely broad request for documents — now a subpoena — is a significant intrusion on Executive Branch interests,” Ruemmler wrote, saying she can only conclude the subpoena was “driven more by partisan politics than a legitimate effort to conduct a responsible investigation.”
Republican Congressman Fred Upton, chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, wondered what the Obama administration is attempting to “hide” by issuing such a response.
“We have been reasonable every step of the way in this investigation, and it is a shame that the Obama administration and House Democrats continue to put up partisan roadblocks to hide the truth from taxpayers,” he said. “Now, we need to know the White House’s role in the Solyndra debacle in order to learn the full truth about why taxpayers now find themselves a half billion dollars in the hole. The White House could have avoided the need for subpoena authorizations if they had simply chosen to cooperate.”
The White House said in the letter Friday that “there is no basis for such a broad request,“ claiming the administration has acted in ”good faith” to accommodate the requests so far.
Ruemmler said the White House is “willing” to continue working with the committee but suggested they “negotiate the scope” of the documents they want produced.
Given the administration’s dubious track record where Solyndra is concerned, it is perhaps not a shock that it is reacting this way.
An energy company that received a $43 million loan guarantee through the same federal program that backed Solyndra has followed the path of the failed solar firm and filed for bankruptcy.
Beacon Power Corporation filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Sunday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Delaware. The company, which develops energy storage systems based on what are known as “flywheels,” had received the federal guarantee for a 20-megawatt energy storage plant in Stephentown, N.Y., back in August 2010.
The loan was expected to cover the lion’s share of the $69 million project, one of several that Beacon was developing across the country.
But the company’s CEO said in a statement to the court that all those projects are “capital intensive,” and the firm is struggling to attract the additional investment needed to keep everything running. The fact that the company faced being de-listed from the NASDAQ didn’t help, he said.
“At present, the revenues generated from the operation … are not sufficient to fully support those business operations, and the debtors currently operate at a loss,” CEO F. William Capp said in the court statement. “In addition, the current economic and political climate, the financing terms mandated by DOE and Beacon’s recent de-listing notice from NASDAQ have together severely restricted Beacon’s access to additional investments through the equity markets.”
The Massachusetts-based company also received $29 million in grants from the Energy Department and the state of Pennsylvania through separate programs for a plant in Hazle Township, Pa.
Beacon Power Corporation has not responded to a request for comment from FoxNews.com.
The bankruptcy filing comes as members of Congress dig deeper in their investigation into the billions of dollars in federal loan guarantees that were committed to alternative energy companies, including Solyndra. The Obama administration has also opened an inquiry.
Rep. Morgan Griffith, R-Va., who sits on the House Energy and Commerce oversight subcommittee probing the program, said the news about Beacon Power is troubling.
“We’re very, very concerned about this and many other loans that have been made by the Department of Energy over the last several years,” he told Fox News on Monday. Griffith said plenty of companies in the U.S. would make “good prospects” for federal help, but the committee investigation is trying to find out whether the government was “just trying to get the money out the door.”
Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., ranking member of the Senate Banking Committee, called the revelation of the bankruptcy another example of “the reckless abuse of taxpayers’ dollars in the pursuit of green jobs.” He also suggested that crony capitalism had a hand in the decision to give Beacon a loan.
One of the most controversial aspects of the Solyndra case — aside from the sheer size of the $535 million guarantee — was a decision earlier this year to prioritize private investors over taxpayers in case of bankruptcy. Republicans have accused the administration of giving precedence to investors in the companies who are also Obama backers.
“As with Solyndra, the head of Beacon Power appears to have been a supporter of President Obama’s,” Sessions said in a statement.
“Increasingly, we are moving away from our capitalist heritage and towards a system where most Americans play by the rules while some are able to rig the game in their favor. The real divide is not split along income lines, but between the politically-connected and those—whether businesses or individuals—who just want the freedom to earn a living.”
But an Energy Department spokesman said the agreement with Beacon included “many protections for the taxpayer” and that the government is the only “senior, secured lender” in the project.
“Protecting taxpayer dollars remains the top priority for Secretary (Steven) Chu and the department,” spokesman Damien LaVera said in a statement. “The department’s loan guarantee is for the project Stephentown Regulation Services, LLC, not the parent company, and the loan was set up in a way that ensures the department is not directly exposed to the liabilities of the parent company.”
LaVera noted that the New York plant, “which is operational and generating revenue,” is a “valuable collateral asset” for the company as it enters bankruptcy proceedings.
“Under the terms of our loan guarantee agreement, Stephentown Regulation Services, LLC currently has cash reserves and proceeds from the plant that it was required to hold as collateral on the loan,” LaVera said.
According to court filings, the company owes the government $39.1 million under the loan – though it had authority to borrow up to $43 million. LaVera said the company did not borrow the full amount because the plant was under budget.
When the project was approved, the Energy Department reported that the loan guarantee would help save or create 14 permanent jobs and 20 construction jobs.
Capp emphasized in the court filing that the company has a number of positive factors going for it.
After investing $200 million on “research and development” and racking up nearly three dozen patents, Capp said the company’s “long-term prospects are strong.”
He said the company’s “engineering and other technical personnel are excellent” and can produce “niche” products demanded by the marketplace.
He also noted a recent Federal Energy Regulatory Commission decision would make grid operators pay more for faster services — and said Beacon’s systems, which “react in seconds,” should allow the company to “earn significantly increased revenues” this way.
Energy Department spokesman Dan Leistikow also cited the FERC decision in touting the Beacon loan guarantee on an Energy Department blog Monday. He said the decision could help the company generate more revenue.
Defending the decision to back Beacon, Leistikow said the company is trying to address a lack of energy storage in the U.S., which accounts for a weakness in the country’s power grid.
“Even a small increase in America’s energy storage capacity would make our system more flexible, stable, and reliable, and play an important role in our overall effort to reduce the number of costly power disruptions each year,” he said. “One promising new technology for dealing with the moment-to-moment fluctuations in our power grid is flywheel energy storage.”
Flywheels like those developed by Beacon, he said, “are ‘charged’ by using electricity to spin them faster and ‘discharged’ by using flywheels to spin a turbine and generate electricity.”
He described the Beacon plant as a “shock absorber” for the grid, and said it was the first of its kind in the world.
He also noted that, unlike with Solyndra, the plant funded with help from DOE is still operational.
Campaign finance records show top Beacon officials contributing to Democratic candidates. Capp apparently was an Obama supporter, giving at least $500 to the Obama campaign in 2008. He also donated to Rep. Niki Tsongas, D-Mass.
Beacon employee Matthew Polimeno has donated $750 since 2008 to Tsongas’ campaign and another $250 to the failed campaign of Massachusetts Democratic Senate candidate Martha Coakley. CFO James Spiezio also donated $250 to the Coakley campaign in 2009.