March 2011 CEA Newsletter
Issue 48


The Difference A Month Makes

A month ago, when I sat down to write this letter and outline the challenges ahead, I was focused on the need to increase drilling activity in the Gulf of Mexico and the ways a stronger national oil industry could create jobs and support economic recovery. Although CEA has long emphasized the need to develop our own energy resources and the dangers of depending on foreign oil, we could not have foreseen how rapidly uprisings would erupt in Egypt, Libya and throughout the Middle East.

The events of the past month have certainly underscored how fragile our ties are with many of the countries on which we depend on for oil. But as I reflect on these still unfolding events, I am struck by how little some things have changed. Uprisings far from home have awakened some to the serious flaws in our national energy policy; CEA has long recognized those flaws and supported policies to promote domestic energy production.

This month, I want to keep the focus on the vast oil reserves that lie within the United States and off its shores. With all the attention the Gulf of Mexico has received since last year’s drilling moratorium, Alaska does not always get the attention it deserves. The fact is, Alaska is not only a massive source of oil and gas, but like the Gulf, it has seen some of its most promising drilling projects held up by delays and red tape. The federal government estimates that Alaska’s Outer Continental Shelf holds more than twice the amount of oil and natural gas that has been produced at Prudhoe Bay which has for decades been a key source of domestic oil. But for a fifth year now, oil companies have been unable to drill 680 leases they acquired off the coast of Alaska. The cause of the delay is not environmental or safety concerns, but the same old “technicalities” that many of us in the oil sector have come to expect.

What is at stake in Alaska? For one thing, jobs. Development of oil and gas resources in Alaska’s Outer Continental Shelf would not only yield about 9.9 billion barrels oil but would create tens of thousands of jobs. In the coming days, CEA will release more detailed research on the impact new drilling in Alaska would have on regional and nationwide employment. During this time of massive federal and state budget deficits, Alaska OCS oil and gas production would also provide billions of future revenues to help offset those deficits.

Finally, oil and gas production in Alaska is a serious national security issue. Because the oil produced there is transported via the 800-mile-long Trans-Alaska-Pipeline, the pipeline is a critical component of our national energy policy. Yet today, the pipeline faces an early demise in the face of diminished shipments from Prudhoe Bay. Without new sources of Alaskan crude, the pipeline could become uneconomical by the end of the decade.

Construction of the Trans-Alaska-Pipeline was an engineering feat back in the 1970s, undertaken at a time of both high unemployment and tense relations with Mideast oil suppliers. It is ironic that decades later, as we face many of the same challenges we saw back then, we are neglecting some of the best resources we have at our disposal.

We have certainly started the year with a full plate. But whether we are talking about jobs, deficits or national security, the search for solutions always leads us back home.

David Holt

CEA Call to Action: Encourage Natural Gas Development and Economic Growth
In response to legal action, the Delaware River Basin Commission – a regional authority that oversees the water resources of the Delaware River in Pennsylvania, New York, Delaware and New Jersey – has proposed a series of stringent regulations that will effectively ban natural gas production in its jurisdiction.

Parts of the Marcellus Shale, which could be the second largest natural gas field in the world, may be kept off limits if the Commission proceeds with some of these regulations. Every day, millions of American consumers rely on stable, affordable supplies of natural gas for electricity, heating and end-uses such as fertilizer, chemicals and medicines. Given the abundant supplies the United States has, we must support homegrown energy and the economic and energy security benefits it produces. Please visit the website here to learn more and TAKE ACTION!

As Energy Day 2011 approaches, momentum is really picking up. There has been a couple of interesting Energy Day developments throughout the month of February. On February 24th the first Energy Day Steering Committee meeting took place at the Briar Club in Houston. Also, Consumer Energy Alliance has received an official letter from the office of Houston Mayor Annise Parker in support of Energy Day 2011. The letter applauds CEA and its continued efforts to educate the public in how energy affects our daily lives.

Here are our confirmed sponsors so far:
ABC-13, American Public Power Association , Apache, Bug Ware, Inc., Caterpillar, City of Houston, Consumer Energy Alliance , Consumer Energy Education Foundation, Cooperative for After-School Enrichment (CASE), CSTEM Teacher & Student Support Services, Earth Quest Institute, Eco-Holdings Engineering, Energy People Connect, Environmentally Friendly Drilling Project, Greater Houston Partnership, Green Mountain Energy, Halliburton, Harris County Dept. of Education , Houston Advanced Research Center, Houston Area Land Rover Centers, Houston Independent School District, Museum of Natural Science, Wiess Energy Hall , Houston Renewable Energy Network, Houston Technology Center, KBR, Inc. , Lone Star College, Momentum Luxury Group , NASA-Johnson Space Center , National Algae Association , Offshore Energy Center, Science & Engineering Fair of Houston, Shell, 60 Plus Association, Solar Tour Houston , Statoil, Texas Alliance for Minorities in Engineering, The Wind Alliance, TransCanada, TXU, Western Energy Alliance , University of Houston

We need your participation and involvement to make this an outstanding event! Please email Kathleen at for details.

CEA Announces New Energy Day Partner – CSTEM

Headquartered in Houston, the Energy Capital of the World, CSTEM (Communication, Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics), a non-profit organization, was founded to assist teachers in integrating STEM content across grades (P-12) and courses, promote effective, relevant instruction, and offer applied learning opportunities for students. CSTEM recognizes that in order to maintain an economy driven by innovation and ingenuity it is essential that students become college and career ready at an early age to develop the skills and abilities required in the 21st century. The partnership between CSTEM and the Consumer Energy Alliance offers an invaluable opportunity for children and their families to connect classroom learning to real-world experiences. Dr. Reagan Flowers, CSTEM’s Founder and CEO, said “With this changing economy the choices we make as consumers and the investments we make in education are critical in determining our nation’s financial future. As advocates we are positioned to improve and encourage families as well as P-12 classrooms to take a more proactive role in society whether it is through practicing energy saving tips, or understanding the impact recycling waste has on job creation.”

CEA Weighs in at Offshore Leasing Hearings

Over the past two weeks, Consumer Energy Alliance has been busy participating in a series of public hearings to discuss the future of offshore development. The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE) held meetings in Houston, New Orleans, Mobile, Anchorage and DC, as well as a handful of meetings in coastal villages in Alaska, to solicit input from the public on its next five-year leasing plan.
Specifically, the BOEMRE is examining areas to be included in its Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) –a key step toward deciding where leasing for oil and gas development will occur between 2012-2017, the timeframe of the next five-year plan.
Throughout these meetings, CEA focused on two primary sentiments: the economic potential of offshore production and the energy security benefits increased production can have for consumers. In the Gulf Coast, hard economic times have been compounded by a de facto moratorium on offshore drilling that has forced companies to idle workers, send rigs overseas and even file for bankruptcy. Conversely, Alaska’s future remains in question as even exploratory offshore drilling has been halted by permitting delays. Without new production to make up for declining onshore production, the Trans-Alaska Pipeline may be forced to close taking thousands of jobs and billions in revenue with it.
In New Orleans, Houston and DC, the crowds were fairly small and only a good handful of people spoke. In each meeting, the speakers were fairly divided between those who supported offshore development versus those who do not, with some in the middle who simply supported the BOEMRE process.
In Mobile and Anchorage, on the other hand, both events demonstrated the strong public support for offshore development. In Mobile, a much larger crowd of over 80 people attended, and several speakers echoed the need for expanded leasing and further decried the permitting issues that have plagued the region. In Anchorage, scores of pro-development advocates attended and over 100 people signed up to testify.
Overall, the BOEMRE hearings demonstrated the public’s desire to proceed with safe, responsible offshore production as a means to spur economic growth and provide better energy security. CEA was happy to attend and voice our support for consumer needs, and we hope the federal government heard our message loud and clear.

Take This Bill…and Measure It

Finding a starting point from which to measure is often the hardest first step to evaluating the efficiency of your home’s energy usage. The U.S. Department of Energy is helping us evaluate our households and compare them to others across the country so that we may better understand how to begin to prioritize and conserve. You will need the following information to calculate your “score”:
  1. Your last 12 months of utility bills
  2. Energy sources from your home (i.e. natural gas, electricity, fuel oil, propane, kerosene, etc.)
  3. The square footage of your home
  4. 5 minutes to plug in the information and get your results!
Visit the website today to receive your totals, compare to others across the country, and get recommendations for improvement!

National Energy Education Development Project (NEED) 

The NEED Project was founded in 1980 to design and deliver objective energy education curriculum and teacher training to students and teachers in grades K-12.  As a 501(c)(3) organization, NEED works in partnership with local, state, and federal government energy agencies, private corporations and trade associations interested in encouraging greater energy literacy among teachers, students, and families.  NEED’s vast portfolio of energy curriculum spans the science of energy (forms and transformations), renewable and nonrenewable energy sources, electricity, transportation, and residential and institutional energy efficiency.  NEED works with partners to develop special signature curriculum modules like the LNG: Exploring Liquified Natural Gas (in partnership with Southern LNG) and the recent Exploring Carbon Capture and Storage completed with the support of the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Fossil Energy and the United States Energy Association.  NEED provides over 600 teacher training programs a year, serving all 50 states and the U.S. territories.  From installing solar and wind on schools to hosting workshops about offshore oil and gas development, NEED programs provides  educators the content knowledge needed to teach about energy confidently in the classroom and provides the resources to engage students in effective teaching and learning – inspiring today’s kids to consider careers in the energy industry of tomorrow.  Furthermore, NEED hosts the National Youth Awards for Energy Achievement in Washington, D.C. each June and the National Energy Conference for Educators each July (this year in Denver, Colorado July 10-14).

“NEED is proud to be a CEA member and support CEA’s efforts to educate decision makers and the general public about the energy issues we face today and tomorrow.  The partnerships we have with many CEA members increase the possibility for tomorrow’s leaders to make smart energy decisions, “said Mary Spruill, executive director.

CEA members seeking a partner for energy education and outreach efforts may want to visit for more information.