Susan, allow me to respond to some erroneous assertions in your blog.
"The present administration has shut down much of what the U.S. produced for themselves" - petroleum production in the US is up over the years of the current administration. Oil companies are closing productive wells in anticipation of even higher future prices.
"now looking to close many coal mining areas." My research shows the latest information to be Ken Salazar's announcement that an additional 2.35 billion tons of coal mining would be allowed. Also, in the example of only one state, West Virginia's coal mining employment is at a 20 year high.
Regulation is not a real issue although it is an effective smokescreen. No oil refining capacity has been added in the US in years. And that's not because of regulations. There haven't been any applications. Why? Because the oil companies can refine as much oil as they need to keep prices where their profit margins need to be to keep investors happy.
And, "We've been somewhat kept in the dark" isn't true for anyone who cares to read. There is a wealth of information available on fossil fuels and renewable sources. But it requires research and reading. A lot of research because many sources are biased towards one or the other.
I will agree that it is very difficult to get a balanced overview of our energy concerns and alternatives. Politicians want to blame the current or the past administration. Or blame this or that , or those people, or that agency, or whatever. Without considering the entire picture - which not only involves us, but China, India and other rapidly developing nations with an increasing thirst for energy - any energy policy is doomed to failure.
Government will be involved in energy one way or another. To stress the status quo and the continued reliance on fossil fuels is to take a political position-- namely the position favored by Republicans,a position that ,in my opinion, leaves little room for innovation.
Bryant, allow me to, in turn, respond to some erroneous assertions in your blog.
"petroleum production in the US is up over the years of the current administration”.
“Regulation is not a real issue although it is an effective smokescreen.”
Because of the restrictions this administration has placed on accessing public land, as well as the ever-increasing amount of red tape, the energy industry has moved to produce oil and gas on private lands," said Karen Harbert, president of the Chamber of Commerce's Institute for 21st Century Energy. "The fact that the administration would repeatedly try to take credit for this shows a troubling lack of understanding of energy production in this country."
"now looking to close many coal mining areas." True.
The Obama run EPA has issued new regulations for coal burning power plants that are virtually impossible to meet. The intent is to shut down coal mining or make it uneconomical to mine. Because coal is what fires most electrical power plants this will make Obamas declared intention of causing the cost of electricity to “necessarily skyrocket”
“No oil refining capacity has been added in the US in years. “
Three new biofuel refining facilities have been opened in the last four years, highly subsidized by taxpayer money.
The truth is that the government has decreed, against all the laws of common sense, that cheap, plentiful and available energy will be abandoned in favor of a green energy based on faith, hope and algae. If anything is guaranteed to reverse any signs of recovery that may be taking place from Obamas recession, this inane approach will do it.
Passin - the fact remains that oil production is up in the past four years. Regardless of whether on public or private lands. And the quote you used from Ms. Harbert does not address the fact that oil companies are idling producing wells. Deepwater Horizon was being shut down when it spilled millions of gallons of oil into the Gulf.
As to the coal limitations, those criteria can be met though not cheaply. Also, the impact may be far less than you think since many utilities - Duke Power among them - had no intentions to build new coal plants. They're going with natural gas for new plants and conversion of older coal fired plants.
And as to the final assertion - I should have said, petroleum refining capability.
The point that you seem to be missing, Bryant, is that the government has imposed so much red tape, bureaucratic requirements and restrictive permits on fed lands that many oil companies have had to cut back, temporarily plug or shut down numerous wells. They are not “idling” from choice. There are no such problems on private or state lands as the government has no control ovr them, consequently oil companies are less restricted and more productive. This is typical the case when comparing government with private industry.
Your observation that oil production is up over the last four years, while it may be strictly true, is apparently intended to falsely credit the Obama government. This falls under the category of misinformation, proving the old maxim that that the truth, like the devil, resides in the details.
“As to the coal limitations, those criteria can be met though not cheaply”
Not so, the EPA intends to impose CO2 restrictions that will effectively ban the construction of coal fired power plants. The intention is to restrict emissions to 1000 lbs. /MW hour, knowing full well that coal fired power plants emit 1800lbs/MW hour and cannot realistically meet this.
“the impact may be far less than you think”
Doubtful, any attempt to meet these requirements will double the cost and half the efficiency of the current plants. Coal is the cheapest, most efficient and most readily available fuel for electrical power plants. Banning coal will mean “skyrocketing” cost to the consumer, the closure of coal mines, associated industries and an accompanying increase in unemployment.
The only way to avoid this disastrous situation is to get SCOTUS to reverse the ruling that carbon dioxide is a pollutant or persuade people to stop exhaling.
A more practical way may be to ensure that the current administration does not get elected to another term so that the EPA can be taken back and used for the good of the environment not to impose an unwanted and unnecessary agenda on the people.
Sorry, passin, but I find no information to support your assertion that " government has imposed so much red tape, bureaucratic requirements and restrictive permits on fed lands that many oil companies have had to cut back, temporarily plug or shut down numerous wells" . Anything you can provide to enlighten me I would be glad to read.
EPA has established regulations for new wells and fracking facilities requiring the capture of methane and other byproduct gases. But those regulations do not go into effect until 2015 inorder to address industry concerns.