Commentary

If you Like your $2.00 gasoline and heating oil, You can Keep It

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Well, not so much. The Obama Administration last week through the EPA issued the 2nd punch into the oil and gas development industry by issuing rules regulating fugitive methane emissions from drilling. Claiming that methane emissions are a serious threat to climate change.

A few weeks ago, the EPA issued rules lowering the ozone standard to a level that would make Yellowstone national park fail on a hot summer day due to the off gassing of its pine trees. I am not making that up.

These two sets of rules will ultimately chill any further creation of affordable energy. Up to now, the administration has been unable to prevent exploration and production on private lands. It had to be happy with rescinding most drilling permits on federal land and preventing transnational pipelines from  (Keystone XL) being permitted.

In this administration’s effort to destroy the brightest economic  activity for the US and its citizens, the EPA issued these new rules.

Rules that are meaningless in their application as the science behind the new methane regulations is at best suspect because no one really knows what science the EPA used to develop the rules. Apparently, efforts to reveal the science, as is usually required if the government seeks to regulate is simply being ignored. I guess we need to pass it to see what’s in it, if we ever do get to see what’s behind this. According to the oil and gas industry, even if you believe in catastrophic man-made climate change, these rules will have no effect.

The phenomenal expansion of the shale natural gas and oil exploration and extraction in the United States has been a magnificent boon to the US economy. In Maine, the more than $1 per gallon reduction in heating oil is worth over $300,000,000 dollars to our citizens that can be used for dining out, art purchases, Yoga classes, solar panels, organic local foods – luxury items that may have previously been out of reach for the average person.

The reduction for gasoline and diesel fuel is another $1,000,000,000 left in the pockets of Maine people. The ripple effect of reducing energy costs transmits throughout the economy. Everything that is manufactured with petroleum and natural gas –you would be surprised at the ubiquitness of the everyday products that we use that are derived from natural gas and oil. Just the reduction in transportation costs alone will have a deflationary effect on goods and services.

Think about your local taxes. The municipal budgets that include gasoline, diesel fuel, heating fuels, asphalt and so on now have a windfall. Hopefully that translates into lower taxes but that’s for another day.

The constant drumbeat which manifests itself in public policy at the local, state and Federal levels that seeks to eliminate the efficient use of oil and natural gas (coal too) is slowly but definitely killing our way of life. Perhaps that is the goal.

Egged on by the hundreds of well funded environmental, social justice and progressive movements, we see energy infrastructure projects being hounded out of existence. The South Portland pipeline, the propane facilities in Searsport and Portsmouth, Natural gas pipelines in Vermont, electric transmission in New Hampshire, to name a few stymied local development projects.

At some point, the people need to say we like our $2 gasoline and heating oil and we want to keep it.  That time would be now.

About Jamie Py

Jamie Py is the President and CEO of the Maine Energy Marketers Association.

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