Our weekly update to unravel the industry and political spin around the energy debate
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
WHAT MORATORIUM? GULF LEASE SALE BRINGS IN $337 MILLION
Last Wednesday, the Interior Department’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE) continued its work to increase offshore energy development by holding the first gulf-area lease sale since the BP disaster last year. BOEMRE put 21 million acres up for auction. Companies put in more than $700 million in total bids, and the U.S. Treasury walks away with a cool $337 million in high bids.
KEYSTONE DEAL FAILS TO DELIVER
On Saturday, the Senate made a deal to protect American families by safeguarding the payroll tax cut for another couple of months – but only after Senate Republicans won a provision to force President Obama to decide whether to approve the Keystone XL pipeline almost a year before all the research into its safety is complete. But not even that giveaway was enough to satisfy House Republicans who refuse to support the compromise and continue to press for more negotiations.
SAVING INDUSTRY AND THE SAGE GROUSE
The Interior Department convened a meeting with Wyoming Governor Matt Mead, praising Wyoming’s approach to protect core habitat for the sage grouse. The prairie bird once numbered at 16 million now has a population of 500,000 – half of which live in Wyoming. Interior is looking to take the approach west wide in hopes of staving off a listing under the Endangered Species Act. The approach is critical for facilitating future energy development and saving the sage grouse.
DID YOU KNOW?
KEYSTONE – A NET LOSER OF JOBS
There is no shortage of controversy surrounding the Keystone XL pipeline, including whether the project actually creates jobs. According to a Cornell University Global Labor Institute report, industry job projections have been shoddy at best and there would actually be job losses due to “additional fuel costs in the Midwest, pipeline spills, pollution and the rising costs of climate change. Even one year of fuel price increases as a result of Keystone XL could cancel out some or all of the jobs created by the project.”
BIG OIL’S RETURN ON INVESTMENT
Needless to say, it was a big year for Big Oil. Not only did companies rake in record profits topping $101 billion in the first three quarters of the year, they continue to receive $15 billion in Americans tax dollars through government handouts. The industry spent big bucks to protect their taxpayer-funded handouts and contributed about $6.3 million to members of the House and Senate. Despite White House efforts to end corporate welfare to oil companies and use the savings to help close the deficit, Congress preserved $78 billion in subsidies for oil and gas companies over the next five years.
Will House Republicans actually hold-up a Senate Republican victory for Big Oil and the Keystone XL pipeline provision all for political posturing? We’ll find out this week.