March 2012 Newsletter

March 2012 CEA Newsletter
Issue 60


Energy: The Election Year Issue

Not that long ago, we kicked off the year 2012 by reminding consumers that energy ought to be a key election issue. In the weeks since then, economic conditions have aligned in such a way that gas prices have become front and center as we head into some key primary elections and tomorrow’s Super Tuesday contest.

Now, no one is pleased with the high prices that have gotten all the candidates talking about affordable gasoline, but to anyone who might be cynical about the political process, the events unfolding today might restore a little faith. For one thing, the 2012 race is turning out to be a contest in the true sense of the word, with no clear nominee several weeks into the process. For another, voters are demanding that those running for office address the issues that matter most to them.

By the end of February, nationwide gasoline prices had reached about $3.60 a gallon, and had become a key topic in stump speeches and Presidential debates. “The American people want to see the president trying to do something about it,” Mitt Romney said in a recent speech in Michigan, where he noted that importing foreign oil amounts to “sending money outside the country … in many cases to the people who don’t like us very much.” Barack Obama has spoken of the complexity of the problem and the need to make a sustained, serious effort to tackle it. And, during the recent Colorado Election Energy Summit co-hosted by CEA, Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum also spoke about the devastating effects that high gasoline prices could have on the nationwide economy.

CEA also recently hosted a “telephone townhall” for Alaskans, featuring Newt Gingrich.  With few candidates able to make the trip to Alaska – an incredibly important energy state – this event allowed Speaker Gingrich to communicate directly with Alaska voters and gave them an opportunity to ask him questions live on the call.

On March 12, CEA will be co-hosting another forum for the Republican Presidential hopefuls in Biloxi, Mississippi.  Like the Colorado Election Energy Summit, the Gulf Coast Energy Summit will give the candidates and other policy makers the opportunity to discuss their views on energy policy.

Energy policy is complex, but by almost all accounts, importing large quantities of foreign oil is the wrong policy. Misguided energy policies ripple through our economy, hurting consumers and businesses alike. The good news is that people in power are talking about this very important issue; the bad news is that it remains difficult for us as consumers to sort through all the talk. And history has shown that attention to this important topic does not in itself mean that we are moving toward solutions. While it’s important that we hear what those running for office have to say about energy policy, it will be vital that we hold them accountable in office and keep them focused on energy policy, fuel prices and the ways consumers are impacted.

David Holt
President

Protect Affordable Electricity Costs: Tell Congress to Manage Nuclear Waste

Nuclear energy is one of the most affordable, reliable and cleanest forms of electricity, supplying about 20 percent of America’s electricity. However, the management of nuclear waste has become an increasingly costly process because the federal government has completely abdicated its responsibility to provide long-term storage.  American consumers and nuclear utilities have paid over $30 billion into a Nuclear Waste Trust Fund, which was created by Congress in 1982 to fund the construction and operation of a long-term storage facility. Yet, nearly 30 years later, the federal government has failed to advance a solution. Therefore, utilities have resorted to storing the waste at existing reactors at the costs of millions of dollars a year – costs that are passed on to ratepayers.

The Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future has published a report recommending that the federal government develop and build an interim storage facility to store the waste at one or more underground sites until a long-term storage facility is online.  These interim storage facilities could be ready within five years, whereas a long-term solution to dispose of the waste may be decades away.

Tell your Congressman to support safe storage of nuclear waste and ease the burden on America’s ratepayers.

Looking Forward to Energy Day 2012

Now that the inaugural Energy Day festival has come and gone, it is time we look forward to the future and Energy Day 2012. Energy Day 2012 will take place at Hermann Square, City Hall in Downtown Houston, Texas on Saturday, October 20, 2012. The festival will once again feature  live music, food, contests and most importantly interactive exhibits and demonstrations showcasing all forms of energy from oil and natural gas to solar and hydropower and everything in between, as well as efficiency and conservation.

CEA will also continue working with our Academic Partners to engage students in energy education through the Energy Day Academic Program (EDAP).  EDAP was created to reward students who strive for greatness in energy-related academic competitions that run throughout the school year.   Those who win at an Energy Day Academic Program event will be awarded for their excellence and commitment to energy and education.  The 2012 Energy Day Academic Program consists of the following competitions:

March 1-3, 2012: The Science and Engineering Fair of Houston

March 31, 2012: The CSTEM Challenge

May 2012: Houston: Energy City of the Future 2050 Competition

May 19, 2012: The Children’s Museum of Houston Young Inventors’ Showcase

Spring 2012: The HGS/HMNS/CEA Art, Essay & Media Contests

For more information on Energy Day 2012 or the 2012 EDAP events, please contact Kathleen Koehler at KKoehler@consumerenergyalliance.org.

CEA In the News

CEA rolled on through the month of February with a strong media presence.  Throughout the month CEA received media hits from all forms of media including radio, TV, blogs, news articles, press releases and more.  The topics with significant contributions to this success are the Colorado Energy Summit and rising gas prices.

A few of the highlights of CEA’s recent media success:

  • Colorado Energy Summit
    • Click here to view CNN’s coverage of the Colorado Energy Summit.
    • CSPAN also extensively covered the event.  To view please click here.
    • The Washington Times wrote this piece which discusses the Colorado Energy Summit.
    • USA Today discusses the Colorado Energy Summit and the speeches presented by hopeful GOP Presidential candidates
  • Rising Gas Prices
    • CEA President David Holt authored this piece which appeared on the blog Big Government.
    • CEA Executive Vice-President Michael Whatley contributed to a U.S. News & World Report piece that focuses on the rising cost of gasoline.
    • Michael Whatley was also featured on Neil Cavuto’s Fox News Program.  To see the interview click here.

That is just a small sampling of CEA’s public presence in the media over the past 29 days.  If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Craig Koshkin at CKoshkin@consumerenergyalliance.org.

Upcoming Events

Science and Engineering Fair of Houston
March 1-3, 2012
George R. Brown Convention Center, Houston, Texas

Since 1960, SEFH has promoted the “learning and applications of science and technology” for Texas junior and senior high schools students in Houston and the surrounding 23-county area. SEFH is a regional fair, associated with the INTEL International Science & Engineering Fair and is one of the largest pre-college STEM activities in the U.S.

March 1 is project registration and setup day; March 2 is judging day; and on March 3, the projects are on public display from 9:00 a.m.-2:30 p.m. in Hall D of the George R. Brown Convention Center. The Awards Ceremony is from 2:30-5:30 p.m. in Hall D.

For information on entering or questions, please visit www.sefhouston.org.

Winning students will be recognized at the SEFH Awards Ceremony, will receive awards at Energy Day, and will be invited to display their projects at Energy Day on October 20, 2012.

The CSTEM Challenge
March 31, 2012
George R. Brown Convention Center, Houston, Texas

The CSTEM Challenge in its seventh year impacts more than 10,000 students representing grades Pre K through 12, from schools across the country and the Dominican Republic.  This year, CSTEM will again host its signature event in downtown Houston at the George R. Brown Convention Center in concert with the Shell EcoMarathon.  The partnership between the two entities allows students, participants and spectators to experience the unveiling of projects ranging from sculptures to robotics to futuristic vehicles running on alternative energy resources.  Both events are free to the public.

For information on entering or questions, please visit http://www.cstem.org/Registration/tabid/850/Default.aspx

Local Houston area winning schools will be recognized at the international CSTEM Challenge competition awards ceremony, receive awards at Energy Day and will be invited to display their projects at Energy Day on October 20, 2012.


Missourians for a Balanced Energy Future

Missourians for a Balanced Energy Future (MBEF) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization comprised of small and large businesses, chambers of commerce, labor organizations, farmers associations, trade groups and Missouri citizens who understand that securing Missouri’s affordable, reliable energy sources for tomorrow means making common sense decisions today.

We believe that alternative and clean energy development is a powerful engine that will fuel Missouri’s economy and create thousands of new jobs.

MBEF’s co-chairs are distinguished Missourians from diverse backgrounds, who work to promote the betterment of our state. We also have support from Missouri’s Rural Electric Cooperatives, municipal electric providers, investor-owned utilities and the organized labor community.

MBEF calls on Missouri legislators and state leaders to educate Missourians about energy issues and enact legislation that promotes more balanced and sustainable energy solutions while providing accountability and regulatory oversight in the interest of Missouri consumers.

For more information please visit the Missourians for a Balanced Energy Future website: www.moenergyfuture.org.

American Iron and Steel Institute 

CEA affiliate member American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI) has recently put together a video detailing exactly how important US shale and natural gas developments are to the manufacturing industry.  In the attached video you will see AISI Chairman John P. Surma detail exactly how these developments have impacted American manufacturing.

For more information AISI please visit http://www.steel.org/.