May 2011 CEA Newsletter
While you read this newsletter
In the time it takes you to read this month’s newsletter, the United States will have imported thousands of barrels of oil at a cost of hundreds of thousands of dollars. And that’s if you’re a fast reader.
We hear so much about the large volumes of oil that we import and the economic impact of all this oil from abroad, but, like all large numbers, these figures can be difficult to comprehend. CEA has recently introduced a handy tool, the Imported Oil Counter, a running ticker to illustrate just how rapidly all the oil we buy from abroad is adding up: Since the start of this year alone, the U.S. has imported well over one billion barrels of oil at a cost of more than 115 billion dollars. That’s a lot of money being sent to foreign countries that could be put to better use here at home.
The Imported Oil Counter is part of a larger CEA effort, More Energy Now, aimed at building support for policies that encourage more domestic energy production through more efficient permitting processes, more expansive leasing, along with continued support for alternative energy development. While recognizing that North American energy – including vital supplies from Canada and the need for an expanded pipeline to carry Canadian oil sands – must be made a priority, More Energy Now features a petition to President Obama, enabling visitors to the site to quickly sign up and voice their support for policies encouraging use of our natural resources.
As of this writing, the average price for a gallon of gasoline in the U.S. is rapidly approaching $4 a barrel. This chart illustrates how close today’s prices are to levels seen during the summer of 2008, when surging fuel costs quickly exacerbated a fledgling recession. There are, of course, many long-term reasons related to national security and economic stability that the U.S. cannot sustain its dependence on imported oil. But today, with the national economy perched on the most fragile of recoveries, the need to boost domestic production and bring down oil prices is particularly urgent. With the More Energy Now campaign, we also hope to impress upon consumers and lawmakers alike, that the national energy strategy we need, is at its core, quite simple. We need policies that will provide greater access to our energy reserves, and we need them now.
Tell the Obama Administration We Need Greater Energy Security and Lower Fuel Prices
In the face of rising prices at the fuel pump and global events that threaten our oil supply, Americans have a unique opportunity to take action. The Keystone XL pipeline, which will carry oil from our ally Canada to Gulf Coast refineries, will mean greater national security, a stable fuel supply, and economic growth in the US. However, the project must be approved by the Department of State before construction can begin. Unfortunately, instead of approving the project on its merits, the Obama Administration continues to stall.
If the Obama Administration decides not to grant the Presidential Permit, Americans will continue to be at the mercy of oil-producing countries like Saudi Arabia and Venezuela. It will also mean that we’ll continue to pay more at the pump. For more information on the benefits of Keystone XL, click here.
The State Department is currently seeking public input on the pipeline’s Supplemental Draft Environmental Impact Statement. Please write Secretary Clinton and tell the Obama Administration that Americans want more energy security and lower fuel prices – not the other way around. The comment period closes June 6, 2011.
High Electricity Bills Too? Sure, If the EPA Has Its Way
It’s no secret Americans are struggling with the high costs of daily living – food, gasoline and even the price of diapers have all risen in the past few months. Right when you thought enough was enough, your electricity bill may become the next victim if Washington bureaucrats don’t get it right. Currently, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is developing new regulations on power plants that could inadvertently close dozens of U.S. utilities and manufacturing plants, and there’s no backup power switch for consumers to turn to. And as everyone knows, less supply and more demand equal higher prices.
If implemented, these new rules could force approximately 400 facilities to install unnecessary or ineffective environmental technologies to their16 cooling system operations. Scientific studies have demonstrated these plants have little if any negative effect on surrounding ecosystems. Moreover, these upgrades will cost facilities millions of dollars – costs that will inevitably be passed on to consumers. Consumers may not be left in the dark, but they will be left with a significantly higher electricity bill.
The EPA is currently accepting comments on its proposed power plant cooling systems regulation. Below is a draft letter that includes a few ways we think this regulation can be amended to ensure consumers aren’t left with the bill. But, please feel free to edit the letter as you see fit.
For more information, please reference these materials from our CEA affiliate, Nuclear Energy Institute. In addition, the federal register notice can be found here. The comment period closes July 19, 2011.
As Energy Day 2011 approaches, momentum is really picking up. There has been a couple of interesting Energy Day developments throughout the month of April. On April 12th the second Energy Day Steering Committee meeting took place at City Hall in downtown Houston. CEA began its work on the ECAP program with three exciting events; The Science and Engineering Fair of Houston (SEFH), the CSTEM International Challenge and Energize! Houston. Each event was a huge success and we look forward to the upcoming ECAP events.
We are now meeting with the individual sponsors to get details on exactly what type of display they will be having on hand at Energy Day. There will be plenty of eye opening and interactive displays so don’t miss out on this exciting opportunity to see what innovations the Energy Industry has to offer.
Here is the list of confirmed Energy Day sponsors:
ABC-13, Air Transport Association, American Public Power Association, Apache, Bug Ware, Inc., Caterpillar, City of Houston, ConocoPhillips, Consumer Energy Alliance, Consumer Energy Education Foundation, Cooperative for After-School Enrichment (CASE), CSTEM Teacher & Student Support Services, Earth Quest Institute, Eco-Holdings Engineering, El Paso Corporation, Energy People Connect, Environmentally Friendly Drilling Program, Foundation for Energy Education, Greater Houston Partnership, Green Mountain Energy. Halliburton, Harris County Department of Education, Houston Advanced Research Center, Houston Area Land Rover Centers, Houston Independent School District, Houston Museum of Natural Science, Wiess Energy Hall, Houston Northwest Chamber of Commerce – Energize! Houston, Houston Renewable Energy Network, Houston Technology Center, HoustonWorks USA, Independent Natural Resources, KBR, Inc., Knowledge Is Power Program (KIPP), 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 , University of Texas, U.S. Chamber of Commerce Institute for 21st Century Energy, YES Prep Public Schools
We need your participation and involvement to make this an outstanding event! Please email Kathleen atKKoehler@consumerenergyalliance.org for details.
Energy Day Academic Awards Program- Upcoming Events
While Energy Day is still a little over six months away, the Energy Day Academic Awards Program got started in April with 3 events and will continue with one event in the month of May. Each event will count towards the Energy Capital Academic Program (ECAP) for all of those who attend. For more details on the Energy Day Academic Awards Program or the Energy Capital Academic Program please email Craig at CKoshkin@consumerenergyalliance.org.
Houston: Energy City of the Future 2050 Competition
May 13, 2011
Houston Community College: Northeast Campus Energy Institute, Houston, Texas
The Houston: Energy City of the Future 2050 Competition provides Houston-area middle and high school students with an opportunity to explore Houston and its energy industry. The project is designed to focus on workforce development and to encourage youth to pursue careers in the energy and engineering fields. Student participants will spend the spring 2011 semester working in four-person teams to learn about energy and petroleum-based industries.
Over the course of the program, youth participants will engage in energy related enrichment activities and meet with energy and petroleum based industry representatives. Students will be asked to: 1) create a scale model of Houston for the year 2050 demonstrating energy development, usage and delivery; 2) develop a marketing campaign explaining how the energy industry will play a vital role to Houston in the future; and 3) design a public service announcement that sells their energy efficient plan to the greater Houston community. At the culminating event, volunteers from the local energy industry will judge student entries in all three areas.
The culminating event for the Houston: Energy City of the Future 2050 Competition will be held on Friday, May 13, 2011 at the Houston Community College: Northeast Campus Energy Institute, located at 555 Community College Drive, Houston, Texas, 77013. Winning student teams will receive an award and recognition from Consumer Energy Alliance during the Energy Day event on October 15, 2011.
This project is implemented by CASE, the Cooperative for After-School Enrichment, a division of Harris County Department of Education. The CASE mission is to strengthen, support and sustain after school for all children. The Houston: Energy City of the Future 2050 Competition is sponsored by Consumer Energy Alliance and is supported with in-kind contributions from the Houston Community College: Northeast Campus Energy Institute and the Greater Houston Partnership.
Spring Clean Your Energy Use!
Each year, people across America take part in the annual tradition of spring cleaning their homes, garages, work places and lifestyles, but consumers should give their energy use a good once over too!
Heating and cooling costs are a significant part of household budgets throughout America – on average 43 percent of utility bills! There are many free and low-cost strategies consumers can put into action to lower these costs. Spring cleaning energy use is beneficial because not only does it save consumers a few bucks, but it also focuses consumers on being good stewards of energy resources.
This spring, there are five top steps to take in streamlining your energy use: 1) Look for assistance from your local utility or state; 2) Conduct an energy audit; 3) Have your cooling system serviced; 4) Find and seal your air leaks; and 5) Install a programmable thermostat, according to EnergySavers.gov, a U.S. Department of Energy website devoted to providing tips to the American public on energy consumption.
The five spring to-dos are part of EnergySavers.gov’s “Stay Cool, Save Money” campaign, which focuses on providing consumers with ways to save money during the spring and summer. Find out more ways to prepare for summer’s energy costs…