The US tax code taxes diesel fuel at one rate and taxes the ultra clean burning and domestically produced liquified natural gas at a rate that is 70% higher. This should be corrected!
The United States is now the largest producer of natural gas in the world. This is a positive development and will help us reliably and inexpensively heat our homes, power our economy, and fuel our vehicles. Moreover, it will reduce our dependence on unreliable foreign sources of energy.
Despite this good news, there is a bit of bad news. When natural gas is liquified and used as a transpiration fuel, our tax policy puts it at a huge disadvantage as compared to diesel fuel. We tax diesel at one rate and then tax the ultra clean burning and domestically produced liquified natural gas (LNG) at a rate that is 70% higher than diesel fuel based on its energy content. This is counter productive and disincentivizes the use of a reliable domestic energy resource.
Our tax policy should not be picking winners and losers and it shouldn’t be favoring one source of energy while penalizing another. Yet, that is precisely what the current tax code does to LNG and propane.
Some in the House and the Senate want to reduce the taxes on LNG and propane so that they are equalized with the taxes on diesel fuel. This amounts to a tax cut for LNG and propane so that it is taxed a the same rate as diesel fuel based on its energy content, rather than at substantially higher rates. We strongly support such a tax cut!
The Senate plan to extend federal funding for transportation projects into the summer of 2015 includes this important tax fairness and equalization provision. It is also an important economic growth provision. While we cannot support every measure within the Senate highway bill, this is a provision that we believe should be included in the final bill. It is fair. And it will help the economy grow because it will remove an arbitrary tax penalty and a counterproductive tax disincentive on an important homegrown energy resource.
We call upon the House to compromise by including this tax reduction and tax fairness provision in their highway transportation bill. We also call upon Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to be willing to compromise with the House on the final bill and allow the legislative process to proceed. In our estimation, the House transportation bill has a great deal to recommend it. But by taking the strengths of the House bill and the Senate bill, we will end up with a better outcome.
The famous adage that nothing is certain in this world but death and taxes should probably be amended. At least insofar as politics and policy are concerned, there is a third inevitability: lawsuits.
Before they even know the details of a major environmental regulation, affected industries start looking for ways to get it thrown out in court. That’s definitely the case for President Obama’s newly proposed regulation on CO2 emissions from existing power plants. Republican-controlled states will be joining the legal assault too because the power-plant rule, like Obamacare, would impose mandates on state governments. Continue reading
Reports of the demise of coal-fired power plants are greatly exacerbated by reality. Using coal to make electricity isn’t going away any time soon. And the coal plants that are going away the soonest account for relatively little carbon emissions.
One of the state’s two largest investor-owned utilities (PSO) is moving away from coal, but it won’t be out of the coal business until at least 2026. The other utility, Oklahoma Gas and Electric Co., remains committed to coal even though it will require expensive upgrades to its generating station near Red Rock.
Coal remains the cheapest way to make power, which is one reason it will stay in the fuel mix despite the Obama administration’s attempt to get rid of it and the environmental community’s demand that coal be kept underground for as long as it has been already. Continue reading
by Ben Geman
EPA’s big new draft regulations to cut power-plant carbon dioxide emissions name-check all kinds of tools that states can use to comply with the standards.
They include renewable-power growth, efficiency programs, switching coal plants to natural gas, and cap-and-trade initiatives, which are already underway in California and among Northeastern states. Not mentioned: Imposing state-level carbon taxes on power-plant emissions.
It’s not something the agency is likely to tout at a time when top Republicans are already trying to frame the whole rule as a “national energy tax.” But EPA officials, when asked, made it clear Monday that a state could indeed choose to go the carbon tax route. Continue reading
By Peter Roff
Does the “Oracle of Omaha” really need another tax break? It’s a fair question, given the way billionaire Warren Buffet made headlines several years ago with his complaints that his secretary paid more in taxes to the federal government than he did.
Of course, that was back when he was campaigning in support of higher taxes on the so-called “wealthiest Americans” in furtherance of the class envy strategy Democrats like himself, President Barack Obama and their allies in Washington have honed to a razor sharp edge. But now he’s got his hand out for corporate tax breaks that improve the bottom line for his Berkshire Hathaway company and the stock price of all the companies he’s invested in. Continue reading
“Despite what some argue, North American energy independence is not out of reach. The massive production gains expected in Canada combined with the output from Mexico and US domestic reserves could total 2.75 billion barrels per year by 2030. This figure exceeds expected US petroleum consumption by such a wide margin. This is only possible if increased volumes of Canadian petroleum can reach more distant US markets for competitive cost. To that end, pipeline projects such as Keystone XL are vital to any strategy of displacing oil imports from outside North America. Without them, Canadian oil will remain uncompetitive with foreign oil arriving by tanker, and even dramatic increases in Canadian production figures would not result in a reduced dependence on OPEC for most regions of the United States.”
by Kenneth Bloomquist
In 2013, the United States imported 16% of the total energy it consumed from all sources, 86% of which was petroleum. Reducing these imports is therefore the primary obstacle to attaining energy independence. To achieve this by 2030, approximately 2 billion barrels of imported petroleum will need to be displaced, either on the supply side by increasing domestic production or on the demand side by reducing consumption. Continue reading
by Peter Roff
It did not exactly come as a surprise when the Obama administration announced that it was pushing the decision regarding whether or not to go ahead with the Keystone XL pipeline off again. Politically, it’s a difficult issue, one that splits the left-liberal coalition that put him in the White House.
On one side are the so-called environmental groups who are opposed to keeping fossil fuels in the American energy mix. They think the completion of the pipeline, which will take oil from the Canadian tar sands south to the refineries located on the American Gulf Coast, will only add to the problems they have already imagined the productivity of mankind has created. On the other are congressional Democrats, private sector unions and energy company executives who also helped Obama come to power and who want the oil and the jobs the pipeline will bring. Continue reading
by Phil Kerpen
The decision to yet again delay the final permit for the popular Keystone XL pipeline was made not in the White House or at the State Department, but in a posh private residence in the Sea Cliff neighborhood in northwestern San Francisco. It was there on February 19 that former vice president Al Gore and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid made the pilgrimage to Tom Steyer’s home to kiss the ring of the hedge fund-billionaire turned super-donor, in exchange for $400,000 that night and a promise of $100 million more to come. Steyer’s sole demand? Stop the pipeline.
There were six Senate Democrats present: Reid, Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island, Patrick Leahy of Vermont, Ben Cardin of Maryland, Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire, and Mark Udall of Colorado. All had voted against the pipeline in a test vote offered as a budget amendment last year, although 17 Democrats voted for the bipartisan measure. Continue reading
It appears increasingly clear that the proposed Keystone XL oil sands pipeline project is being studied to death as President Obama dithers over whether to approve it. The massive project to move Canadian oil to American refineries should already be under construction, but the president can’t decide whether to pander to Big Green environmentalists who rabidly oppose it or to the trade unions who want to build it and benefit from the thousands of jobs that it would create. So he keeps moving the goal posts, from one study to the next, desperate to avoid responsibility for the final decision.
The latest study, released Jan. 31 by the State Department, found that the pipeline would not significantly increase greenhouse gas emissions, confirming the results of a draft version that was released in March 2013. That conclusion should put to rest Obama’s professed concern that the pipeline would add to the problem of greenhouse gases. Other studies have concluded that not approving Keystone XL could do more environmental damage because Canada will sell its oil to China. The Asian giant’s environmental standards fall far short of America’s. Continue reading
White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough discussed with NBC News’ David Gregory the administration’s foot-dragging on the Keystone XL pipeline. The Sunday interview came in the wake of the State Department’s latest report on the project, which again found no good reason to block construction of an oil pipeline from western Canada to Steele City, Neb.
The chat produced this rich quote from Mr. McDonough on President Barack Obama’s refusal to approve the privately funded project thus far: “He’s been very clear that he’s going to insulate this process from politics.”
But politics are indeed driving the president’s Keystone inaction, thanks largely to climate change and environmental alarmists. How else to explain the more than five-year wait for approval of the Keystone pipeline, a project that requires no tax money, is shovel ready and loaded with good-paying jobs? The State Department’s Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement, released Jan. 31, concludes: “During construction, proposed Project spending would support approximately 42,100 jobs (direct, indirect, and induced), and approximately $2 billion in earnings throughout the United States.” Continue reading
by Christopher Harper
The United States has become the largest producer of oil and natural gas in the world, surpassing Russia and Saudi Arabia, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.
You may have missed this important story. That’s because the media virtually ignored it.
How did the United States reach this goal? Two simple words, which were excluded from the Department of Energy press release and the single U.S. news report I found: hydraulic fracturing, better known as “fracking.”
Fracking has become a dirty word in much of the media because of protests from environmentalists and Hollywood stars about the unproven charges of water contamination and environmental damage. Continue reading
Fixated as we Americans are on Canada’s three most attention-getting exports — polar vortexes, Alberta clippers, and the antics of Toronto’s addled mayor — we’ve somewhat overlooked a major feature of Canada’s current relations with the United States: extreme annoyance.
Last week, speaking to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Canada’s foreign minister calmly but pointedly complained that the U.S. owes Canada a response on the Keystone XL pipeline. “We can’t continue in this state of limbo,” he sort of complained, in what for a placid, imperturbable Canadian passes for an explosion of volcanic rage.
Canadians may be preternaturally measured and polite, but they simply can’t believe how they’ve been treated by President Obama — left hanging humiliatingly on an issue whose merits were settled years ago. Continue reading
by CJ Ciaramella
Emails between the Sierra Club and the EPA produced through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit show the green group and senior officials at the nation’s top environmental enforcer met and corresponded frequently about the agency’s work on new coal regulations.
The EPA published its long-awaited New Source Performance Standards for new coal-fired plants on Wednesday, four months after the agency announced their creation.
The EPA has repeatedly said the regulations on coal-fired power plants will not be a death blow to the industry. However, the agency was working closely behind the scenes with the Sierra Club, an environmental organization that was pushing the agency to adopt standards that would be impossible for power plants to meet. Continue reading
President Barack Obama has claimed his administration will “restore science to its rightful place,” but his policies are increasingly faith-based. Obama’s insistence on mandating alternative energy use, regardless of the real-world consequences, is just the latest example.
The president last week signed a memorandum directing the federal government to nearly triple its use of renewable energy sources for electricity by 2020. Under that directive, the government will be expected to get 20 percent of electricity from renewable sources, up from the previous goal of 7.5 percent.
We have nothing against alternative energy — wind, solar, whatever — but those energy sources haven’t overtaken fossil fuels for one simple reason: Alternative energy production costs more and is less reliable. Thus, Obama’s memo is ordering the federal government to spend more for less. Continue reading
Deception: There he goes again. The president is taking credit for an economic recovery that isn’t happening and a surge in oil production he’s had nothing to do with. If he can’t be honest, it’s up to us to set the record straight.
While touring an Ohio steel mill Thursday, President Obama talked about jobs and the economy bouncing back.
He prattled on about factories “reopening their doors” and businesses “hiring new workers.” He even went so far as to imply that his administration has “been trying” to “rebuild a new foundation for growth and prosperity to protect ourselves from future crises.”
Meanwhile, in the real world, the U.S. economy continues to struggle under his watch. Continue reading