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AEA President Discusses Fuel Economy Mandates on Voice of America

American Energy Alliance President Thomas Pyle was recently interviewed by “Voice of America” to discuss federal fuel economy mandates. You can view the full segment below:

AEA’s Tom Pyle Discusses Energy Policy in the Trump Administration

American Energy Alliance President Thomas Pyle recently joined the show “Devil’s Advocate w/Jon Caldara” to discuss federal energy policy under the Trump administration. You can watch the full interview below:

President Trump’s Energy Executive Order Puts Americans First

WASHINGTON — American Energy Alliance President Thomas Pyle issued the following statement about President Trump’s executive order on energy and climate policy:

“President Trump’s executive order should be welcome news for America’s middle class and those living in poverty, who would be hardest hit by the previous administration’s harmful climate regulations. Americans depend on affordable, reliable electricity for their livelihood, but regulations like the Clean Power Plan would send electricity prices skyrocketing. Not only would this regulation harm Americans’ pocketbooks, but it would have virtually no impact on global average temperatures.

“On top of being a morally bankrupt regulation, the Clean Power Plan was an unprecedented power grab by the previous administration that was built on a shaky legal foundation. This executive order won’t get rid of the regulation overnight, but it’s an important first step that reaffirms President Trump’s commitment to protecting American families from higher energy costs.

“President Trump is standing up for American coal miners by ordering the Interior Department to lift the arbitrary and unnecessary ban on new federal coal leases. This action is crucial for putting coal miners back to work producing our country’s vast coal resources. It’s clear that the Trump administration is serious about reviving America’s energy sector, awakening our economy, and creating jobs for people who were cast aside by the previous administration.

“The Trump administration’s decision to review the ‘social cost of carbon’ is a victory for anyone who favors sound rulemaking. The social cost of carbon is an arbitrary and speculative metric that should never have been used to shape federal energy policy.

“Missing from this executive order, however, is any mention of the Paris climate agreement or the endangerment finding. We urge the president to fulfill his campaign promises to remove the U.S. from the Paris agreement and to review the endangerment finding. Though more challenging, it is crucial that the Trump administration address these two important issues. Failure to do so could risk the remainder of President Trump’s attempts to rein in the regulatory state and undo the harmful climate policies of the previous administration.

“There is still much more work to be done to reset the Obama administration’s punitive climate policies, but today’s executive order is a critical step forward.”

Click here to read the Institute for Energy Research’s formal comment on the Social Cost of Carbon.

Click here to view President Trump’s responses to AEA’s candidate questionnaire.


ICYMI: There’s Nothing Conservative About a Carbon Tax

Ignore the ‘free market’ bells and whistles: A tax is a tax is a tax.
By Thomas Pyle
Published on March 23, 2017, in National Review Online

Conservatives have long been the voice for limited government, lower taxes, free markets, and individual liberty. But recently, a small but persistent group of Republicans are trying to persuade conservatives to abandon these principles and embrace a national energy tax.

The idea of taxing carbon isn’t new. Bill Clinton and Al Gore tried to pass a BTU tax in 1993. Its defeat helped usher in a Republican-controlled Congress for the first time in nearly 40 years. In 2009, Barack Obama proposed a cap-and-trade plan that was rejected by a Democratic-controlled Congress. The Democrats ended up losing the House in 2010. More recently, Hillary Clinton’s campaign policy team was reportedly considering a carbon tax.

What is new, however, is that some Republicans are attempting to pass off a carbon tax as a conservative policy. The most recent attempt is from the Climate Leadership Council, a group led by James Baker and George Shultz. The group recently met with the Trump administration to encourage the adoption of a $40-per-ton carbon tax.

My organization, the American Energy Alliance, joined with several conservative leaders in opposition to the Climate Leadership Council’s proposal. In response, Shultz and Ted Halstead, another member of the Council, took to these pages to try to convince conservatives that their proposal is a “free-market” approach to addressing climate change. There is nothing free-market about their massive new tax hike, no matter how they dress it up.

A carbon tax would punish users of natural gas, oil, and coal, which make up 80 percent of the energy we consume. This means that all American families would face higher electricity bills and gasoline prices. In fact, it’s estimated that the Council’s carbon tax would hike gasoline prices by 36 cents per gallon. While everybody will pay more, these hikes would have a disproportionate impact on poor and middle-class families, who spend a higher percentage of their income on energy. It also means Americans would pay more for goods and services across the board.

How does the Climate Leadership Council propose to alleviate this burden? Shultz and Halstead want to offset the tax by redistributing to the American people the $300 billion in anticipated revenue from the carbon tax.

This is not practical in the real world. The idea that Washington politicians would perpetually refund a massive new revenue stream is incredibly naïve, especially coming from a former Treasury secretary. The more likely scenario is that the government would eventually begin to spend the new revenue on federal programs, saddling Americans with yet another new tax while diminishing America’s competitiveness in the process. Sounds like big-government liberalism to me.

The Baker- and Shultz-led council need only look at real-world examples to see the flaws in their proposal. Last year, Washington State soundly defeated a carbon-tax ballot measure, partly because the proponents could never agree on how they wanted to divvy up the expected revenue. British Columbia has also run into problems with its “revenue-neutral” carbon tax. Officials there promised citizens that the tax would be used to reduce other taxes. However, a new study from the Fraser Institute shows that after just a few years, British Columbia’s carbon tax netted $377 million in new revenue.

Carbon taxes make energy more expensive. They also destroy jobs, particularly in the manufacturing sector, which President Trump has promised to revive. Shultz and Halstead shrug off this concern by pointing to a “border carbon adjustment” provision in their plan.

Under their plan, U.S. producers would have to pay a carbon tax if they sold their product to American consumers, but not if they sold it to countries without a carbon tax. Likewise, foreign producers would have to pay a carbon tax to sell to American consumers, but not if they sold to other countries. This is a raw deal for both American companies and consumers.

The readers of this publication know that tax hikes hurt business and raise prices for consumers. Shultz and Halstead try to argue that imposing this new tax on imports from China, for example, will somehow be good for American prosperity. However, slapping a new tax on imports just takes away options from American consumers and makes it harder for U.S. companies to export their products.

Finally, the Climate Leadership Council’s proposal would swap out Obama-era climate regulations for a carbon tax. However, President Trump has already vowed (and begun) to undo President Obama’s climate regulations. This raises the question of why they would include this provision in the first place — unless, of course, they had a Hillary Clinton administration in mind when they wrote the proposal.

Shultz and Halstead claim that failing to replace these regulations with a carbon tax would “leave open the door to greater government intervention should Democrats retake power in the future.” This is extremely misleading. Nobody can guarantee that a future administration or Congress won’t pursue some type of regulatory controls on carbon, nor could this plan prevent it from happening. The nearly identical carbon-tax plan considered by the Clinton campaign, for example, would have imposed a carbon tax while maintaining carbon regulations such as the Clean Power Plan. And several environmental groups have already criticized the Council’s proposal, insisting that we need both a carbon tax and regulations.

Simply calling something “conservative” or “free-market” doesn’t make it so. The Climate Leadership Council’s carbon tax is an affront to the principles that conservatives have championed for decades. Most important, a carbon tax would destroy American jobs, encourage more wasteful spending from Washington, and burden consumers with higher energy costs. You’d be hard pressed to find a more damaging policy for American families.

No matter how many bells and whistles Shultz and Halstead throw onto their proposal, it still ends up being a new and incredibly regressive tax on working-class Americans. Yet Secretary Baker was so bold as to suggest that it would have had Ronald Reagan’s blessing. I’d like to think that President Reagan, who once said “simple fairness dictates that government must not raise taxes on families struggling to pay their bills,” would probably feel otherwise.

— Thomas Pyle is the president of the American Energy Alliance and the Institute for Energy Research.

AEA Praises President Trump’s Budget Proposal

The Trump Budget:
A Commitment to Restoring America’s Promise, Returning Power to the People

WASHINGTON — American Energy Alliance President Thomas Pyle issued the following statements on President Trump’s budget proposal:

“President Trump has put forth the most significant budget blueprint in generations. The Trump budget offers a much-needed resetting of the relationship between the federal government, the states, and the American people. In particular, the DOE, EPA, Interior, NOAA, NASA, and the State Department budgets eliminate the architecture of President Obama’s politically motivated climate action plan and reemphasize the core mission at each of these agencies.

“While this is just an early step in the budget process, President Trump’s plan sets the tone for reining in wasteful spending and costly, duplicative regulations. Let’s just hope that Congress follows the President’s lead and enacts these much-needed reforms.”

The Department of Energy

“The Department of Energy has veered way off course, wasting billions of dollars on politically preferred energy sources and subsidizing their commercialization and deployment, which has hampered true energy innovation in the private sector. This is a far cry from agency’s core function of protecting our nuclear arsenal and conducting groundbreaking research and development. With this proposal, the president is protecting and strengthening our nuclear weapons, getting our nuclear waste program back on track, and sending a clear message that DOE should get out of the business of making loans and instead refocus on its core capabilities in science and energy research.”

The Environmental Protection Agency

“The Environmental Protection Agency is no longer in the business of protecting our air and water. It has become one of the most politicized agencies in the federal government, pursuing job-destroying and poverty-inducing regulations and programs. The American people have been forced to pay twice for EPA’s costly climate policies: first in their taxes, then through higher electricity rates.

“President Trump is sending a clear message that the EPA will no longer waste taxpayer dollars to carry out the previous administration’s climate action plan. The argument that this proposal would keep EPA from doing its job holds no water. President Trump’s budget blueprint will not only eliminate wasteful spending at EPA, but will also allow the agency to return to a more constructive relationship with states and the private sector in ensuring that our air is pure and our water is clean and safe.”

The Interior Department

“The Interior Department has an obligation to ensure that the American people enjoy the full benefits of their public lands, whether it be from recreation or resource development. Under the previous administration, the Interior Department adopted a ‘keep-it-in-the-ground’ approach that prevented the responsible development of our energy resources, especially natural gas, oil, and coal. On top of this, the Interior Department has wasted precious time and resources to acquire even more federal lands or put existing lands further and further off limits. President Trump’s Interior proposal will address the backlog of maintenance needs at our national parks and streamline the process for responsible energy development on multiple-use lands, both onshore and offshore.”

The State Department

“The State Department faces many great challenges abroad. Cutting checks to the United Nations’ climate slush fund and putting the threat of a changing climate ahead of combating terrorism distracts from the State Department’s mission. President Trump is fulfilling his campaign promise of untangling the U.S. from U.N. climate programs and focusing our foreign policy and diplomacy efforts towards addressing the true threats to our security and safety.”​


Key Vote: BLM Planning 2.0 CRA

The Senate is set to consider H.J. Res. 44, a Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolution to overturn the Bureau of Land Management’s “Planning 2.0” rule. This regulation would redefine the “multiple use” concept for federal lands laid out in the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 (FLPMA). It would also diminish state and local officials’ roles in managing lands within their communities by consolidating more power in the federal government. We urge Senators to vote YES to overturn this unnecessary Obama-era regulation.

The FLPMA mandates that federal lands be managed for “multiple use and sustained yield.” The law also provides that “the public lands be managed in a manner which recognizes the Nation’s need for domestic sources of minerals, food, timber, and fiber from the public lands.”

The BLM Planning 2.0″ rule redefines this “multiple use” concept, which could impede responsible development of America’s oil, gas, and coal resources on federal lands. This would deny the American people the economic benefits of developing these resources, such as jobs, higher wages, and more state and local revenue. The Institute for Energy Research has evaluated the economic benefits of opening federal lands for energy production in this study.

This regulation also diminishes the role of regional, state, and local officials by weakening local authority over resource- and land-use decisions and centralizing more power in the hands of Washington bureaucrats.

Senators should oppose this bureaucratic overreach and vote YES on the CRA resolution repealing the BLM “Planning 2.0” rule.

ICYMI: Give affordable energy a seat at table

American Energy Alliance President Tom Pyle recently penned an op-ed for the Coloradoan titled, “Give affordable energy a seat at table.” The text of the piece follows:

The Coloradoan
Give affordable energy a seat at table
By Thomas Pyle

There’s an old and unfortunate truth about Washington, DC: “If you don’t have a seat at the table, you’re probably on the menu.”

For the past eight years, the Obama administration’s “keep-it-in-the-ground” policies have kept the oil and gas industry “on the menu” and stymied responsible energy development and threatened to make energy more expensive for Colorado families.

Fortunately, much has changed with the election of Donald Trump as the 45th president of the United States. The new administration, along with Republican majorities in the House and Senate, provide a real opportunity to enact pro-growth policies that get Washington out of the way of Colorado’s energy producers.

Unleashing our country’s energy resources was an integral part of President Trump’s economic pitch to the American people, and after just a few weeks in office, it appears he’s following through on that commitment.

For example, one of President Trump’s first actions was reviving the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines — signaling that he is serious about delivering affordable energy to American families, invigorating the economy, and creating more opportunities for future generations. And Congress passed a resolution to repeal an unnecessary Obama-era methane regulation aimed at discouraging oil and gas development on federal lands. This resolution now heads to the president’s desk.

This is likely just the beginning. Opening up more federal lands — including those in Colorado — for energy development, evaluating taxpayer-funded green energy subsidies, and reining in unelected Washington bureaucrats are all on the president’s menu.

This is welcome news to a state like Colorado, where energy production is a critical driver of economic growth. In fact, according to the most recent edition of Resource Rich Colorado, an annual study published by Denver Metro Economic Development Corp, there are 44,370 direct fossil fuels workers supporting an additional 118,020 indirect workers, with an economic impact of $10.3 billion. In 2015, the average annual salary for a fossil fuels worker in Colorado was $106,996. With that level of economic impact, it is critical that there are policies in place that encourage more energy development, not discourage it.

However, while the tenant at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue has changed, the radical “keep-it-in-the ground” campaign remains.

In recent years, Colorado has become a hotbed for this campaign, which is dedicated to ending the use of our most affordable and reliable energy resources. Last fall, my organization released a report exploring the dangers of this effort and analyzing the ramifications of their agenda. It’s clear that promoting hydraulic fracturing bans, monstrous drilling setbacks, unattainable ozone standards, and ending oil and gas development on federal lands is just the first course.

Some may brush off these protesters on television as mere agitators, but it’s what’s happening behind the scenes that should concern any Coloradan who cares about low-cost energy for their family and jobs that keep the state’s economy moving forward.

The “keep-it-in-the-ground” campaign isn’t a ragtag group of activists, but rather a highly organized, multi-million dollar effort by the national environmental lobby. If successful, this campaign will rob Coloradans of the jobs, opportunities for future generations, and the energy we all need to work and grow the economy.

While the Trump administration’s platform presents an opportunity, change doesn’t come easy. We have the resources, we have the technology, and we have the men and women ready to go to work. All we need are the right policies in place. That’s why it’s critical that Coloradans and all Americans make sure their voices are heard in Washington.

Fortunately, the facts and intellectual ammunition are on our side. The key is to utilize that information to educate administration officials, lawmakers, state leaders, and the American people so they embrace a pro-energy, pro-growth platform with one voice.

Only then can we steer the conversation toward policies that favor affordable energy for Colorado families and ensure that the Centennial State has its place at the table and not on the menu.

Click here to view the original piece.

AEA Congratulates Secretary Perry

WASHINGTON — American Energy Alliance (AEA) President Thomas Pyle issued the following statement after the Senate voted to confirm Governor Rick Perry as the Secretary of Energy:

“AEA congratulates Governor Rick Perry on being confirmed as the next Secretary of Energy. As the longest-serving Governor of Texas, Perry has a proven track record as an effective manager. We are confident that under Secretary Perry’s leadership, the Department of Energy will harness the intellectual power of our national labs, work toward substantive nuclear waste reform, protect and modernize our strategic nuclear arsenal, and remove politics from the science and research functions of the agency.

“In recent years, the agency has overstepped its mission by tipping the scales in favor of certain technologies like wind and solar power. We look forward to Secretary Perry returning the Department of Energy to its core mission and making sure the agency acts in the best interest of the American people.”


House Science Subcommittee Holds Hearing on the Social Cost of Carbon

This week, the House Science Committee Subcommittee on the Environment held a hearing exploring the social cost of carbon (SCC) and its use in policy-making. The Subcommittee sought to discover what, precisely, carbon dioxide emissions cost the economy. Unsurprisingly, the panel reached a verdict that there was no consensus. The SCC is an arbitrary metric and should not be used in federal rulemaking.

AEA has noted the unscientific, flawed nature of the SCC in the past. The metric fails on three major fronts: incorrect use of discount rates, inaccurate economic modeling, and the improper calculation of costs and benefits as it pertains to Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Guidance. These arguments are summarized here.

Kevin Dayaratna of The Heritage Foundation also notes that the SCC, in its current iteration, fails on another front — the time horizon. The Interagency Working Group that came up with the SCC based their work on three separate models that would calculate how much carbon emissions would theoretically “cost.” As Dr. Dayaratna explained, “It is essentially impossible to forecast technological change decades, let alone centuries, into the future. Regardless, however, these SCC models are based on projections 300 years into the future.”

Making economic assumptions three centuries into the future, and basing public policy off these assumptions, is unwise. In fact, there seemed to be general agreement on the panel that the SCC is improperly calculated. Dr. Ted Gayer of the Brookings Institute highlighted the trend of federal agencies to use the SCC to assess domestic costs while assuming global benefits. As AEA has argued before, this is akin to comparing apples and oranges. It is also in clear violation of OMB Circular A-4, which states that agencies must calculate costs and benefits domestically (they are permitted to separately provide information for global benefits). Dr. Gayer agrees:

I believe that the exclusive focus on a global measure runs counter to standard benefit–cost practice, in which only the benefits within the political jurisdiction bearing the cost of the policy are considered. It also seems at odds with the expressed intent of long-standing executive orders and of authorizing statutes…

Dr. Gayer continues:

By using the global social cost of carbon, the agencies are claiming that their rules—which impose substantial domestic costs—provide benefits that in fact largely accrue to foreign citizens. Of course, many Americans are altruistic and care about the welfare of people beyond our borders. But foreign aid decisions should be made openly, not hidden in an obscure metric used in rulemaking.

Accountability is paramount when it comes to public policy formation. Bureaucrats must be held to a standard that ensures compliance with Congressional and Executive direction, and the data and metrics produced and used should be transparent. It is abundantly clear that the SCC is improper, and its use should be discontinued. As Dr. Patrick Michaels of the Cato Institute alluded to during the hearing, the SCC simply is not ready for the Big Game.

Fortunately, Congress has acted in the past on this issue. Last Congress, several Representatives introduced the Transparency and Honesty in Energy Regulations Act. This bill sought to rein in rulemaking via the SCC (and the similar “social cost of methane”) and force a review of all regulations that use them as justification. This is a great first start to ensuring public policy be made using sound information and data. Congress should look to further explore the SCC and work to prevent its use in federal rulemaking.

With Zinke Finally Confirmed, Let’s Get to Work Unleashing America’s Potential

WASHINGTON – The American Energy Alliance (AEA) congratulates Ryan Zinke on being confirmed as the next Secretary of the Interior. AEA President Thomas Pyle issued the following statement:

“I am confident that Secretary Zinke will follow through on President Trump’s campaign promises to put America’s onshore and offshore energy resources back in the game. We are an energy-rich nation with some of the greatest natural gas, oil, and coal resources in the world—much of which are located on federal lands. In recent years, leaders at the Interior Department have disregarded the multiple-use concept for federal lands and have been outright antagonistic toward oil, gas, and coal leasing. By opening more areas for energy exploration, President Trump and Secretary Zinke have a great opportunity to deliver more jobs, higher wages, and much-needed economic growth to the American people. We look forward to the administration seizing that opportunity.”

“ICYMI: Trump Cites IER Study in Speech on Energy,” by the Institute for Energy Research

“The Economic Effects of Immediately Opening Federal Lands to Oil, Gas, and Coal Leasing,” by Dr. Joseph Mason

“Trump’s Interior Dept. Has Opportunity to Turn Around Dismal Leasing Policies,” by the Institute for Energy Research