Wind Energy Production

Windmills producing power in Texas

The Union of Concerned Scientists calls wind 'one of the cleanest and most sustainable ways to generate electricity.'

House Republicans plan to hold a vote this week on the Lower Energy Costs Act, a package of proposals to boost fossil fuel drilling and roll back environmental regulations, which they claim will promote an "all-of-the-above energy policy," meaning tapping every renewable and nonrenewable source available. But several amendments being pushed by GOP lawmakers would undermine the development of the production of wind energy, a power source experts say must be a major component of efforts to avert catastrophic climate change.

The GOP package would cut taxes on natural gas; reduce environmental safety regulations; and make it easier for oil and gas companies to drill on public lands, build pipelines, and export their products. It is designated as H.R. 1, a number typically reserved for a bill representing a top priority for the majority party.

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy said in a statement posted to his official website:

H.R. 1, the Lower Energy Costs Act, focuses on two main priorities: increasing the production and export of American energy and reducing the regulatory burdens that make it harder to build American infrastructure and grow our economy. … To lower costs for Americans and grow our economy, we need to get the federal government out of the way. The Lower Energy Costs Act will fast-track American energy production, and includes comprehensive permitting reforms that will speed construction for everything from pipelines to transmission to water infrastructure.

Before the vote on the bill itself, the House will vote on amendments to it, including three proposals by anti-wind energy Republicans to put the federal government in the way of wind energy development.

Florida Rep. Anna Paulina Luna will offer two proposed amendments to the bill.

One of Luna's amendments would require the Government Accountability Office to produce and publish a study of the impacts of wind, "including the adverse effects of wind energy on military readiness, marine environment, and tourism," before the administration could move forward with wind farm leases in Eastern Gulf of Mexico Planning Area, the South Atlantic Planning Area, and the Straits of Florida Planning Area.

Luna's second amendment would put Congress on record as warning "that major components of wind infrastructure, including turbines, are imported in large quantities from other countries including countries that are national security threats, such as the Government of the People's Republic of China."

New Jersey Rep. Chris Smith's amendment would compel the Government Accountability Office to carry out a "study of sufficiency of the environmental review process for offshore wind."

New Jersey Rep. Jeff Van Drew, who once backed wind energy and even previously served as co-chair of the House's Offshore Wind Caucus, proposed changes that would similarly force the nonpartisan research agency "to publish a report on all potential adverse effects of wind energy development in the North Atlantic Planning Area."

These amendments would force the government to devote time and energy to creating reports telling only one side of the story. And Luna’s amendment would also halt progress until that research is done.

All three lawmakers have taken a significant amount of campaign cash from nonrenewable energy interests. Luna took $33,369 in political action committee donations from oil and gas during her 2022 campaign; Van Drew received $32,000 from the oil and gas sector and $22,500 from electric utilities for his 2020 and 2022 races; and Smith has accepted $2,000 from oil and gas PACs and $17,000 from electric companies since his 2012 campaign.

According to a 2013 explainer published by the Union of Concerned Scientists, wind power creates some environmental concerns that need to be mitigated, such as making sure turbines are built in places that disrupt land use as little as possible.

But the group noted: "Harnessing power from the wind is one of the cleanest and most sustainable ways to generate electricity as it produces no toxic pollution or global warming emissions. Wind is also abundant, inexhaustible, and affordable, which makes it a viable and large-scale alternative to fossil fuels."

The Sierra Club also endorses wind farming as a safe and climate-friendly energy source: "Wind energy plays an important role in fighting climate change and weaning us off fossil fuels. In 2018, wind energy avoided 201 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions. It is also one of the lowest-priced sources of energy available today."

The Republican Party has long rejected calls to curb climate change and reduce fossil fuel use, frequently framing their energy policies as an "all-of-the-above" approach.

The party's 2016 platform, left unchanged in 2020, states: "Together, the people of America's energy sector provide us with power that is clean, affordable, secure, and abundant. Their work can guarantee the nation's energy security for centuries to come if, instead of erecting roadblocks, government facilitates the creation of an all-of-the-above energy strategy."

House Majority Whip Tom Emmer told Politico on March 6 that this was the strategy behind the GOP's energy package. "Everybody will have a little different perspective," the Minnesota Republican said. "But when you want to attack inflation in this country, it starts with an all-of-the-above energy policy, and I think that will be the more unifying thing."

On March 9, Van Drew hosted a House field hearing in Wildwood, New Jersey, on the dangers of offshore wind development.

Local environmental leaders criticized the hearing and Van Drew's position on the subject.

Ed Potosnak, executive director for the New Jersey League of Conservation Voters, said in a statement that climate change is the real threat to the state's residents.

"As co-chair of the Offshore Wind caucus in the House of Representatives, Van Drew was once regarded as the 'most progressive Republican' on climate and environmental issues," Potosnak noted. "Now, he's a shill for the fossil fuel industry, flip-flopping on his promises to support New Jersey's growing clean energy economy and pushing lies implying that offshore wind development is killing marine life."

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has already proclaimed the bill dead on arrival should it reach the Senate. President Joe Biden's office said that he would veto it if it reached his desk.

Reprinted with permission from American Independent.

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Biden takes credit for falling gas prices

President Joe Biden

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President Joe Biden "shut down American energy," Rep. Steve Scalise hollered with great confidence. The Louisiana Republican was nominating Kevin McCarthy for House speaker when he appended some commentary unburdened by facts.

Scalise painted a sad, sad picture of American families "who can't even afford to put gas in their tanks." They can't "make it to the grocery store because we have such horrible energy policy," he said.

The evidence fails to support the melodrama. "National gas prices drop to 18-month low," Forbes reported on Dec. 20, "and could hit $3 By Christmas."

In Louisiana, a gallon of regular now averages $2.90. This reality may be spied in the prices hanging outside Baton Rouge gas stations. And if we're not mistaken, Biden is still president.

Scalise went on to warn of threats to our energy security. "There's absolutely no reason that we need to rely on foreign countries to produce our energy," he stated.

Scalise is right about that. We don't need to rely on others to produce energy. But guess what, we don't.

"Exxon, Chevron Focus on Oil Projects in the Americas," read a Wall Street Journal headline that very day. The growth of U.S. shale has eased Western oil companies' concerns about securing oil, according to the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Exxon is now spending big to raise oil and gas production by 500,000 barrels a day by 2027. It is selling assets in Africa and the Middle East and plans to expand in the Permian Basin of New Mexico and West Texas — and elsewhere in this hemisphere. The U.S. has just granted Chevron a new license to again pump oil in Venezuela.

Measuring energy independence by exports-minus-imports, 2021 saw our highest level of energy independence in history. Biden was president, then, as well.

Is Biden set on moving us to new low-carbon technologies? He is, and Exxon and Chevron say they are planning to expand in that direction, too. We can assume they know the energy business.

Natural gas prices in Europe have fallen below what they were before Russia invaded Ukraine. Fears that cutoffs of Russian energy would freeze much of Europe this winter have not materialized. Why? Because giant ships carrying U.S. liquefied natural gas (LNG) are sailing to Europe from ports in Louisiana and Texas.

"U.S. LNG has become a foundation for European energy security," said energy historian Daniel Yergin. Warmer weather helped reduce demand, for sure, but American natural gas more than met the demand.

The United States is now the world's biggest producer of natural gas. Cooling it to a liquid state makes it a lot easier to transport long distances.

LNG shipments to Europe more than doubled last year. As a result, gas storage facilities in Germany, once very dependent on Russian natural gas, are now near full. And lower energy prices helped France's inflation rate fall to 6.7 percent.

America's biggest LNG terminal is located near the Sabine Pass River, between Louisiana and Texas. There are others in Louisiana, with more on the way. U.S. exporters enjoyed record revenues in 2022, meanwhile, and expect more of the same this year.

If Scalise and his Republican colleagues limited their complaints to Biden's border policy, they might have had a point. But they kept beefing about rising gas prices that were actually falling — and higher food prices that were also going down. Not distinguishing yesterday's news from today's news is something we've gotten used to. We don't expect much in the way of updates tomorrow.

But Joe Biden is definitely president. And there is zero evidence of his "shutting down" American energy, at least for those of us stuck in the world of reality.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is Joe Biden's energy policy?

Ans: President Joe Biden has outlined a comprehensive energy policy to transition the United States to clean, renewable energy sources while creating jobs and addressing climate change. This includes a plan to invest in energy-efficient infrastructure, electrify the transportation sector, and increase the use of clean energy sources such as wind and solar power.

What has the Republican Party said about Joe Biden's energy policy?

Ans: Some members of the Republican Party have criticized President Biden's energy policy, claiming that it will lead to higher gas prices and harm the economy. However, these claims are not supported by the facts. In reality, gas prices have declined under President Biden, and his energy policy is expected to create jobs and stimulate economic growth.

Reprinted with permission from Creators.