Americans Skeptical of Federal Energy Dictates

WASHINGTON – A new survey released today by the American Energy Alliance found that most American voters have serious reservations about the federal government’s involvement in their energy choices—specifically with regard to policies like the wind Production Tax Credit (PTC) and the EPA’s proposed power plant rule.

“The American people don’t have faith in the federal government to make their energy choices for them—and for good reason,” said AEA president Thomas Pyle.

“The federal government has been giving special treatment to green energy for decades, either directly through handouts like the wind PTC or indirectly through red tape like EPA’s proposed power plant rule. These types of policies have led to higher energy prices, eroding the states’ ability to make their own energy choices. The survey makes clear that Americans are growing weary of the blatant cronyism that runs rampant through our political system, and the failed federal policies that stifle innovation and increase the cost of the reliable energy we need to move America forward,” Pyle added.

“Voters are pretty skeptical of all facets of the wind production tax credit,” said Mike McKenna, president of MWR Strategies, which conducted the survey.

The survey indicates that the majority of voters are skeptical of preferential subsidies like the two-decades old wind PTC:

  • 81 percent of respondents do not think foreign companies should get tax breaks from the federal government.
  • 65 percent believe that 20 years’ worth of tax credits is long enough.
  • 77 percent do not trust Congress to hand out tax advantages in the most efficient and effective way.
  • 56 percent think that companies who are already turning a profit should not get tax breaks for using or producing that technology.

The survey also indicates that many Americans are skeptical of EPA’s proposed power plant rule:

  • 60 percent of respondents indicated it was a bad thing that the EPA’s proposed power plant rule would impose a mandate on citizens to buy certain amounts of renewable energy.
  • 52 percent said it was mostly a bad thing that EPA could punish States that did not comply.

Lastly, the survey indicates that there is skepticism among the American people about who should be driving innovation and who should be making public policy decisions:

  • 46 percent of respondents said that the most likely way to develop and improve alternative sources of energy was to rely on innovators developing new technologies; just 18 percent said that federal tax credits were the way to go.
  • 68 percent said that they did not trust the federal government to be responsible for the entire electrical system of the United States.
  • 65 percent said that States should be responsible for deciding how electricity gets generated and used.

MWR Strategies conducted the nationwide survey with a sample of 1005 likely voters and a margin of error of 3.1 percent.

Click here to see the full survey results.


Does Senator Hagan Oppose Affordable Energy?

WASHINGTON — The American Energy Alliance today released the following statement asking Sen. Kay Hagan to put politics aside as public hearings on proposed hydraulic fracturing rules are set to begin in North Carolina.

“With North Carolina’s moratorium on hydraulic fracturing set to be lifted next year, Kay Hagan should embrace America’s energy revolution that will create good paying jobs, protect access to affordable energy, and provide added revenue to strengthen local communities,” said AEA President Thomas Pyle.

“For over 60 years, hydraulic fracturing has been used to unlock our energy resources. But for too long, the powerful national environmental lobby has strong-armed public leadership into siding with more red tape, which has led to fewer jobs, higher energy costs, and reduced opportunity. Sen. Hagan should stop playing politics, stand up to the special interests, and fully commit to supporting American innovation and ingenuity,” he added.

Hydraulic Fracturing Helps Local Communities
Duke University Research Finds Hydraulic Fracturing Helps Local Government Coffers; Revenues Exceed Costs: “The researchers found that the net impact of recent oil and gas development has generally been positive for local public finances.” (Richard Newell & Daniel Raimi, “Local Government Financial Impact of Recent Oil and Gas Development,” Duke University Energy Initiative, Accessed 8/18/2014)

Hagan Opposed North Carolina’s Efforts to Advance Affordable Energy

Hagan Opposed State Legislation That Would Lift The Moratorium On North Carolina’s Hydraulic Fracturing For Shale Gas In 2015: “In her speech, Hagan blasted the Republican legislature for rolling back environmental regulations.” (John Frank & Renee Schoof, “US Sen. Kay Hagan and her challenger House Speaker Thom Tillis at odds over climate change,” Raleigh News & Observer, 5/31/2014)

Hagan Is Trying to Have It Both Ways On Energy
Hagan Is a Skilled Politician Who Knows Her Audience: “In a speech to an environmental group in Raleigh last week, Hagan expressed support for the EPA’s role [in regulating power plants].” (John Frank & Renee Schoof, “US Sen. Kay Hagan and her challenger House Speaker Thom Tillis at odds over climate change,” Raleigh News & Observer, 5/31/2014)
But Days Earlier, With A Wink & A Nod To Environmentalists: “Hagan expressed concern about the timeline for implementing the rules, asking in a letter to the EPA that the public comment period be doubled to 120 days. She declined to sign a stronger-worded letter backed by 45 senators asking for the same extension.” (John Frank & Renee Schoof, “US Sen. Kay Hagan and her challenger House Speaker Thom Tillis at odds over climate change,” Raleigh News & Observer, 5/31/2014)
Fearing Blowback From Environmentalists, Hagan Has Been Reluctant to Support Sensible Energy Policies for North Carolina: “Hagan took a more careful approach to describe where she stands on energy issues, straddling a line that may frustrate environmentalists.” (John Frank, “Hagan blasts Tillis on environment,” Raleigh News & Observer, 5/27/2014)

Hagan Also Flip-Flopped On Her Support For A Carbon Tax

FLIP: The Hill: “Hagan Campaign Says She Opposes Carbon Tax.” (Zack Coleman, “Hagan Campaign Says She Opposes Carbon Tax,” The Hill, 9/6/13)
FLOP: Sen. Kay Hagan Urged Harry Reid To Make A Carbon Tax A Top Priority. On July 16, 2010, Sen. Kay Hagan, along with 11 other senators, sent a letter to the Majority Leader calling for a “price on greenhouse gas emissions.” (Letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, 7/16/14)


ICYMI: Big Wind Doesn’t Need Welfare

“Congress has a decision to make: Will they stand with American families or with Big Wind’s high-powered lobbyists?” -AEA President Thomas Pyle
WASHINGTON – The American Energy Alliance has long argued that the wind industry should no longer receive the taxpayer-funded wind Production Tax Credit (PTC).  In a recent interview with the Casper Star-Tribune, Power Company of Wyoming CEO Bill Miller stated that the 3,000-megawatt Chokecherry and Sierra Madre wind facility in Wyoming does not require the wind PTC:
“Because of the size and the quality of the resource we have for the project, this project can be done without the production tax credit.
“Quite frankly, though, it would be very beneficial to the project and the market if it were available, but it is not necessary for it to be viable. There are probably not a lot of projects today that could say it doesn’t matter. It does matter, but it is not absolutely required.”
Click here to read the full story in the Casper Star-Tribune.

“This reinforces what we have known all along—the wind industry is no longer an infant and should not be treated like one,” said AEA President Thomas Pyle.

“For over two decades, Americans have been pouring their tax dollars into propping up an industry that has been around for over a century. Extending this handout will cost American families billions of dollars. Congress has a decision to make: Will they stand with American families or with Big Wind’s high-powered lobbyists?” He added.

SURVEY: Americans Reject Costly EPA Proposal

WASHINGTON – A new survey released today by the American Energy Alliance found that the majority of American voters oppose EPA’s recently proposed power plant regulations when confronted with the real world impacts of the rule. The survey was conducted among registered voters in Arkansas, Colorado, Iowa, Montana, and North Carolina.

“At a time when Americans are struggling with cost of living and still asking the question ‘where are the jobs’, there is concern about the proposed EPA regulation and the economic impact it will have,” said David Winston, President of the Winston Group, which conducted the survey.

Highlights from the survey:

  • The majority of voters in all five states believe that improving the economy and creating jobs should be the top priority of the Obama administration.
  • Before receiving any information about the regulations, no less than 57 percent of voters in any state supported the regulations. But after listening to key facts about their impact (both positive and negative), no more than 44 percent in any state supported it.

“When faced with the harsh economic reality of the EPA’s new rule, the majority of Americans reject this unprecedented attack on American energy security,” said AEA President Thomas Pyle.

“From the start, the Obama administration has not been forthright with the American public about the exorbitant costs of this rule. Unfortunately, this has become the norm for the ‘most transparent administration in history’: regulating from the shadows and deliberately hiding the consequences of their actions from the American people. And the myriad consequences of the EPA’s new rule are all too real. From lost jobs to rising electricity bills, the EPA’s most recent effort to undermine affordable energy hurts low income families the most.”

“The American people, especially those who live from paycheck to paycheck, cannot afford higher energy costs. Unfortunately for Americans, President Obama seems intent on delivering on his promise to make electricity prices ‘necessarily skyrocket.’”

The survey was conducted for the American Energy Alliance by the Winston Group among 500 registered voters in each of the following states: Arkansas, Colorado, Iowa, and North Carolina, and 503 registered voters in Montana for a total of 2,503 registered voters. The margin of error is +/- 4.4 per state.

To view the results, click here


ICYMI: Lessons from Australia’s Carbon Tax Debacle

WASHINGTON — American Energy Alliance Vice President of Policy Daniel Simmons penned an op-ed for Roll Call titled “Lessons Congress Can Learn from Australia’s Carbon Tax Debacle.” The text of the op-ed follows:

“Lessons Congress Can Learn From Australia’s Carbon Tax Debacle”
By Daniel Simmons

For the past few years, Australia has been lauded by environmentalists as an example other countries should emulate. The adulation began in 2012, when the country enacted its “carbon tax” — a $21.50 charge (in U.S. dollars), increasing annually, on each ton of carbon dioxide emitted by the country’s power plants. Australia’s list of admirers extended all the way to the White House, where President Barack Obama described the country’s actions as “good for the world.”

Yet Australia is now the first country to eliminate its carbon tax. In so doing, it struck a blow in favor of sound public policy — and American legislators should pay attention.

Last September, the Institute for Energy Research released a comprehensive study on the effects of Australia’s carbon tax. The tax was a disaster. In its first year of existence, the tax increased household electricity prices by 15 percent — the highest quarterly increase in the country’s history. Businesses fared no better — their electricity prices jumped 14.5 percent in a single year.

It doesn’t take an economist to see how this stifled the country’s economic growth. Rising electricity costs mean higher prices for almost all goods and services. They also mean fewer future job opportunities for businesses trying to stay in the black. Australia’s unemployment rolls rose by an astounding 10 percent over the course of a year — the equivalent of the United States adding 950,000 people to the unemployment line by next July.

Meanwhile, there was no environmental benefit to speak of. According to the Australian government’s own data, carbon emissions actually increased after the tax was enacted. Even if the carbon tax were still in operation, the country’s emissions levels weren’t expected to fall below current levels until 2045.

No wonder Australians turned against the tax. They’d have to endure three decades of fewer jobs and higher prices on every day goods just to achieve negligible environmental gains.

But this isn’t just a lesson for Australia. For years, American environmentalists have clamored for a similar carbon tax. They have been joined by a dozen U.S. senators, who several years ago sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid demanding Congress levy “a price on greenhouse gas emissions” — a carbon tax by another name.

Among the letter’s signatories are several Democratic senators facing re-election this year, including New Hampshire’s Jeanne Shaheen, Alaska’s Mark Begich and North Carolina’s Kay Hagan.

Yet the effects would be little different in America than they were in Australia. The Heritage Foundation, using data provided by the Energy Information Administration, recently estimated the effects that a slightly more aggressive carbon tax would have (the EIA data assumed a $25/ton tax, compared to Australia’s $21.50/ton rate).

Heritage found that America could be looking at an economic disaster.

In its first four years, the tax could cut a family of four’s income by nearly $2,000 a year. It could raise the same family’s electricity bills by more than $500 per year and increase gas prices by 50 cents per gallon. Finally, it could eliminate more than a million jobs in the first few years.

Yet Americans’ economic despair would ultimately be for naught. Using assumptions from the data from the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s assessment report, a recent analysis found America could eliminate all of its carbon emissions and still only lower global temperatures by 0.137 Celsius by 2100 — a statistically insignificant amount.

Put another way: A carbon tax is all economic pain and no environmental gain. Surely we can agree that sapping the economy and stifling innovation won’t make it any easier for us to promote a healthy environment.

Australians learned that the hard way.

It only took them two years of higher prices, fewer jobs, and no environmental benefits before they abandoned their carbon tax. America’s environmentalists and the legislators who listen to them should take note. There’s no need for history to repeat itself in a different hemisphere.

Click here to see the original post. 


AEA Enlists New House Leaders to End Wind Welfare

WASHINGTON – American Energy Alliance President Thomas Pyle sent a letter today to House Leadership congratulating the newly elected Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Majority Whip Steve Scalise. The letter also urges them to remain opposed to an extension of the recently expired Wind Production Tax Credit (PTC). AEA also ran a full page ad in today’s edition of Politico as part of a broader paid initiative that includes digital and social media.

Excerpts from the letter:

The PTC expired as of January 1, 2014. However, green pressure groups and the wind lobby are working to revive this costly policy as part of a tax extenders package and also have it be retroactively reinstated. We urge you to oppose such an action.

We agree with Majority Leader McCarthy that subsidies for wind have “had their time”. Majority Whip Scalise, you have similarly condemned the PTC. In late 2012, you joined with 44 fellow Representatives in a letter stating, “Twenty years of subsidizing wind is more than enough.” This decades old subsidy has far outlived its usefulness. The wind industry should be left to compete in the free market based on its own merits, not rely on taxpayer dollars. We ask that you stand by your previous positions and remain in opposition to an extension of this wasteful subsidy.

The effect of providing a subsidy worth half or more of the wholesale price of electricity has already negatively impacted electricity reliability, because the artificial price structure created by the PTC encourages the development of uneconomic wind while undermining the economics of reliable full-time generation such as coal, natural gas, and nuclear. Investor Warren Buffett made this fact very clear when her recently said, “…On wind energy, we get a tax credit if we build a lot of wind farms. That’s the only reason to build them. They don’t make sense without the tax credit.”

To read the full letter, click here.

Rahall is Not Doing Enough

“President Obama’s war on coal is really a war on West Virginia families and Nick Rahall simply has not done enough to protect West Virginia from Washington’s anti-coal regulations.” -AEA President Thomas Pyle
WASHINGTON – The American Energy Alliance continued today its energy accountability initiative with another round of television and online ads in West Virginia. These ads come on the heels of the EPA’s recently proposed rules for existing power plants—one of the costliest regulations in history. The ads hold Congressman Nick Rahall accountable for shielding this and several other of President Obama’s anti-coal regulations from facing an up or down vote in Congress. The total ad buy is for $140,000 and the ads will air for three weeks.
Thomas Pyle, president of the American Energy Alliance, released the following statement:

“When coal takes a hit, so do West Virginia families, and the EPA’s anti-coal policies are having very real and devastating impacts on the state, including higher energy costs and lost jobs. But instead of protecting West Virginians from these threats, Congressman Rahall voted to shield the Obama Administration’s radical anti-coal agenda from the scrutiny of Congress. Rahall’s vote against reining in EPA’s regulatory power and his support for budgets that advance the carbon tax agenda prove that when push comes to shove, Nick Rahall stands with President Obama instead of standing up to him.

“President Obama’s war on coal is really a war on West Virginia families and Nick Rahall simply has not done enough to protect West Virginia from Washington’s anti-coal regulations.”

To view the ad, click here.

To read the fact sheet for the ad, click here.


Pyle Urges Senate to Cut Red Tape on Energy Development

WASHINGTON — American Energy Alliance President Thomas Pyle sent a letter today to Sens. Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell urging them to use the debate over the Shaheen-Portman bill to discuss policies that would cut red tape on American energy development. The letter reads:

The Shaheen-Portman bill will not grow the economy nor will it reduce energy prices for American families. At best, it will increase the government’s micromanagement of our daily lives, something Americans are growing increasingly concerned about. If the Senate intends to debate the Shaheen-Portman bill, it is imperative that there be a thorough discussion of policies to end the red tape that is shackling energy development in America. Here are some important issues that should be part of any discussion of an energy bill:

  • Electricity Security and Affordability Act. EPA’s GHG regulations will drive up electricity prices and according to EPA itself will not affect climate change in any meaningful way. Congress must step in to stop these regulations that provide no gain, but will further imperil our struggling economy.
  • American Energy Renaissance Act. Oil production increased by an impressive 61 percent on private lands between 2009 and 2013, but oil production fell on federal lands over the same time period.  Federal lands contain the largest known energy reserves in the world, but the federal government keeps these resources off limits. The AERA will allow for the development of some of these resources and rein in the red tape that is strangling our economy.
  • Encourage the exports of LNG to ensure that production of natural gas in the United States will remain strong, which will, in turn, keep prices low for American consumers.
  • Allow the Keystone XL pipeline to be built. Getting more oil from Canada is in the national interest. It is that simple. It should not take five years to figure out if transporting oil from Canada in the most environmentally sensitive and economic way possible is a good thing. We cannot sit by and let the Obama administration continue to play politics when we could be getting people back to work.

To read the full letter, click here.

No More Wind Welfare

WASHINGTON — The American Energy Alliance joined today with 30 other organizations in a letter to the House Ways and Means Committee urging them to oppose an extension of the wind Production Tax Credit. The letter comes as the committee prepares to examine a tax extenders bill. The letter reads:

“Choosing to extend the wind PTC further will only serve to place more burden on taxpayers. The projected cost of another one-year extension is $6.1 billion dollars and a five-year concession would cost $18.5 billion. The American people deserve a full airing of the cumulative economic impacts of wind subsidies.

“What is so dangerous about the wind PTC is not only that we are choosing to throw away money on a technology completely incapable of keeping the lights on, but the PTC is designed to harm reliable sources of energy like nuclear and coal  through predatory negative prices that the PTC enables. The PTC is so large that it allows wind producers to pay the electricity grid to take their electricity and still make money.

“The PTC has been a failure for taxpayers and ratepayers. In exchange for tens of billions of dollars in handouts to wind producers, the states with the highest wind production have seen their electricity rates increase nearly five times faster than the national average. In fact, states with at least 7 percent wind power have seen their electricity rates increase at an average of 17.4 percent over the last 5 years compared to an increase of only 3.5 percent for the U.S. as a whole”

To read the full letter, click here.


The PTC Has Overstayed Its Welcome

WASHINGTON – American Energy Alliance President Thomas Pyle issued the following statement responding to attempts to include the wind PTC in the Senate Finance Committee’s tax extenders bill:

“The death of the wind PTC in 2013 was a victory for taxpayers. Unfortunately, this wasteful subsidy is once again rearing its ugly head. Although not included in the initial extenders bill, Senator Grassley has made it clear that he intends to amend the bill to include the PTC. This is a case of cronyism trumping the interests of the American people.

“Rather than cutting wasteful handouts that would save taxpayer dollars, Senator Grassley and other PTC proponents continue to carry water for Big Wind’s well-heeled lobbyists who have been claiming for decades that the wind industry is on the cusp of economic competitiveness. Handouts like the PTC have serious implications for taxpayers and they should be debated out in the open, not behind the closed doors of the Senate halls.

“The notion that the wind industry is an infant that needs the PTC to get on its feet is simply not true. The PTC has overstayed its welcome and any attempt to extend it would do a great disservice to the American people.”