Our weekly update to unravel the industry and political spin around the energy debate
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
U.S. IS EXPORTING OIL
According to The Wall Street Journal, the United States is set to become a “net exporter of petroleum products in 2011 for the first time in 62 years.” The report comes at time when oil and gas activity is the highest any point since the Reagan Administration. This calls into question that more domestic oil production means more energy independence. Right now, excess supply is going to our neighbors and not lowering gas prices here in the U.S.
INDUSTRY-BACKED CANDIDATES FOR THE WIN
Checks and Balances Project has been investigating the gas-industrial complex of Garfield County, Colo. As E&E News reports those political ties have made Judy Jordan a victim of the industry. Her bosses at Garfield County told her to be neutral but it become apparent that the gas industry ran the show. When it become clear that she was not meeting gas companies’ expectations she was replaced, and industry-backed candidate filled her seat.
ANOTHER DAY, ANOTHER PIPELINE LEAK
In what is becoming an all-too-common trend, another pipeline is leaking. This time, it is a Suncor pipeline in Denver, Colo. The pipeline is leaking “black goo” into the Sand Creek and posing a dangerous threat to the environment and local citizens. The Checks and Balances Project has been following pipeline accidents over the past year and it is clear that the thousands of miles of aging pipelines crisscrossing the country are unstable. And now that a cleanup has been ordered, the tab will no doubt fall on the taxpayers to cover it.
BIG OIL BATS A THOUSANDS, AMERICANS PAY MORE AT THE PUMP
As The Hill puts it, the “oil industry is batting 1.000.” Despite budget debates, deficit concerns, the oil industry managed to preserve all of the tax breaks and subsidies handed out by Congress. It’s a wonder too, this year the big five oil companies raked in more than $100 billion in just the first three quarters of 2011. Meanwhile industry analysts are predicting gas prices could reach a record high in 2012, which means more cash in the pockets of the oil and gas industry.
DID YOU KNOW?
OIL SHALE A GAMBLE ON WATER SUPPLIES
Oil shale speculation in western states has long been heralded as the savior to our energy woes – despite 100 years of failure and billions in taxpayer subsidies to turn oil shale rock into commercial oil. But the rock is also a gamble on water supplies. Should there ever be a technological breakthrough, there might not be the water for development. The BLM estimated that industrial scale oil shale could take as much 150% the amount of water currently used by the Denver Metro region. With western water supplies such as the Colorado River already stretched beyond their limits, it calls into question whether the water exists to ever make oil shale viable.
Speaking of water, on Thursday, December 8 the Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing on challenges to domestic and global water supply. We think the committee should consider the huge strain that energy development puts on our water – whether it be oil and gas fracking water demands, threats from oil shale speculation, or pollution occurring from poorly managed well sites on public lands in the Rockies.
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