Friday, November 11, 2011

U.S. coal, oil and gas going overseas: How does that bring us 'Energy Independence'?

Report: ‘Energy Independence’ thwarted as U.S. oil and gas heads overseas

November 7, 2011 By Neil Shader
Credit: Lens Envy, flickr creative commons
These days the phrase ‘energy independence’ has become code for drilling  our wild public lands. But what some may not realize is that oil and gas from our wildlands is not staying in the United States.
As it turns out, the oil, gas, and coal that is drilled and mined from right here in the U.S. is actually leaving American shores to fuel cars and furnaces in places like Europe, China, and India.
A new Wilderness Society report titled Exporting America’s Heritage details just how high the exports have risen.
Among the stats revealed:
  • The U.S. currently exports more than 690,000 barrels refined petroleum products per day like kerosene.
  • Gasoline exports have more than doubled since 2007 and are on pace this year to exceed 150 million barrels, triple the amount in 2007—even as gas prices remain high.
  • In the first quarter of 2010, the United States exported more than 17.8 million short tons of coal. American coal exports increased by nearly 50% in the first quarter of 2011.
  • Two permits for natural gas export terminals have been approved, with several more proposed to send gas from the Marcellus Shale overseas.
Meanwhile American taxpayers are subsidizing the oil companies’ huge profits to the tune of billions per year. In essence we’re spending billions of dollars every year to allow multinational oil and gas corporations to plunder American lands. The profits from sales on the world market go to energy companies and Americans foot the bill. 
The report comes out just as the hugely controversial Keystone XL Pipeline continues to unfold this month.
The Keystone XL Pipeline would take oil dug up from Canadian forests and shipped across the American heartland – threatening communities from Montana to Louisiana. Much of the tar sands oil that would come from Canada through the proposed Keystone XL pipeline isn’t earmarked for domestic U.S. consumption.  The companies at the end of the pipeline are intending to ship much of it to South America, Europe and Asia. Meanwhile, American communities would be ones on the hook for dealing with the aftereffects of a pipeline spill or burst – like the one that threatened the Yellowstone River earlier this year.
So much for energy independence.
It is clear that the fossil fuel companies don’t need the money American taxpayers are giving them in the form of subsidies – especially if they are then just going to ship much of the oil, gas, and coal to Europe and Asia.  It is time to bury the ancient and unnecessary fossil fuel subsidies and instead encourage the development of clean energy that will stay right here at home—and ultimately lead to the energy independence we seek.
A good step in that direction is to prevent the destructive Keystone XL Pipeline from being built. Tell President Obama to stop the Keystone XL pipeline!

Tags: coal, energy exports, gas, Keystone XL pipeline, oil, oil subsidies, solar, wind, Energy

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Showing 19 comments

  • Dryad50 2 comments collapsed Collapse Expand
    Man is not the only species on this planet.... but our past actions in regards to the welfare of other species, their habitat and stewardship of this planet has been abysmal.  There has been a few well placed farsighted individuals in our history that have managed to pass laws and establish protected wildlands for the future.  When the wild areas are gone, so will mankind.... we are all connected and without clean air, water and protected environments life as we know it now will cease to exist and in fact life will not be worth living. 
    The human race has been functioning as a plague of locusts consuming resources rapidly due to greed and being concerned only with what we need with little regard for the other life forms that share the planet with us.  All are valuable and are interconnected to our very own existance.  Mankind is the only species on this planet that has the ability to adversely affect this planet and we've done a bang up job of destroying it piece by piece. At the rate we are going we will create a sparse rock devoid of beauty, with its water polluted beyond redemption, the air fouled and the spark of life extinguished,spinning in space with little to commend it and nothing left of what had been vital and teeming with diverse rich life and all that remains is a gargantuan garbage heap of human discards.
    We need to take steps and leaps to protect and perserve what we have. We need to become better at being stewards of this planet. We need to look outside of ourselves and reconnnect with the life around us, it depends on us, our planet depends on us, our very survival depends on us.  As each life form becomes extinct without notice, as wild habitats disappear in the pursuit of finite fossil fuel resources such as oil, coal and gas with little importance given to alternate cleaner energy sources by our politicians who are have the oil/gas industries padding their campaign pockets.... is our own extinction  so very far behind?

  • Lenticular 1 comment collapsed Collapse Expand
    I could not agree with you more.  We are 7 billion people on this planet.  That, in itself, is enough to make a person cringe.  I can envision a planet of automation, little or no wildlife, barren soil, thick and polluted air, oceans and waterways fouled with oil and toxins and humans packed together like sardines in a tin.  Our chance to save this planet is slipping by and still the politicians, big oil corporations and money mongers run the show.  This is a horrible preview of our immediate future and I cannot suggest strongly enough ---  WAKE UP PEOPLE!!!  LOOK AND SEE WHAT'S HAPPENING TO OUR WORLD RIGHT NOW!!!

  • Avery Leinova 1 comment collapsed Collapse Expand
    It's time to stop relying on fossil fuels altogether.  We have so many other options:  wind, solar, hydroelectric power, to fuel our home, business and cars.Discontinuing use of fossil fuels would not only be healthier for the planet, but it would contribute hundreds of thousands of jobs, converting infrastructure and creating new buildings and cars.

  • Denis 1 comment collapsed Collapse Expand
    We import crude and export refined product. I wouldn't mind this practice if it improved our balance of trade deficit. Since the cost of oil is set on the world market it's irrelevant where it's drilled. However having said this, I do not support fossil fuels as a basic energy source. We definitely have to move towards renewable energy.

  • earthcrying 1 comment collapsed Collapse Expand
    I wouldnt mind subsidizing them as long as they stopped this and used it for projects like solar power and wind farms.  As a 60 year old, i feel for the future generations that will pay the price for what we are doing to the planet now and in the past.  very sad

  • Pj1fwb 1 comment collapsed Collapse Expand
    We must move forward and stop this continued use of fossil fuels! I live in Florida and the people in Tallahassee should have put into place a solar bill concerning  new homes! I work in the construction industry here and it just makes me so mad to see a new home being built without solar hot water heating! There is no excuse for it! We have the technology ,but the mind-set is still in the 50"s! I hope the next generation will see the error and correct it!

  • SandyK46 1 comment collapsed Collapse Expand
    This makes my blood boil.  What will it take for most Americans to do something !!!!

  • Bob 1 comment collapsed Collapse Expand
    Multinational corporations have are continuing to ruin this country. They buy politicians and get votes that they need to continue doing this sort of thing. Huge tax breaks or worse no tax's at all at the end of the day. As a country we should stop this kind of thing now.

  • P.F. Bruns, I'm a voice guy. 1 comment collapsed Collapse Expand
    And if we're supposed to be "energy independent," how about we force the oil and gas companies to stop artificially raising demand for petroleum products by exporting them and by running existing refineries below capacity?

  • luckypuck 1 comment collapsed Collapse Expand
    The real shame and crime here is that the global oil markets have been using this process for decades, but notwithstanding, we have parroted the mind-numbing mantra of "energy independence" for almost as long.

  • Shoseysr 1 comment collapsed Collapse Expand
    The oil industry doesn't deserve any more breaks!

  • Elsivs69 1 comment collapsed Collapse Expand
    Enough is enough already! We need to go the clean energy way so the future generation can have a planet they can live on healthy and happy. Worse case scenario, we have oil reserves here in this country that we should be taping which could help the economy by creating more jobs and reducing the cost of energy for those who live right here in the USA.

  • Michael Kish 1 comment collapsed Collapse Expand
    You folks complain about big oil and yet many of you will still drive your cars to work? Watch TV tonight? Sitting on your computer? Own an iPhone or iPad? All of these things are compliments of big oil.

    I love scenic areas. I love wilderness. I love being in the wilderness. I'm blessed to make a living photographing wild places. But I also understand that we currently NEED oil. My camera, computer, and printer are all made of plastic. You simply can't eliminate oil from the picture (pun intended). Some say stop all drilling and others will say drill everything to hell.....neither approach is right. We have to strike a balance.

  • Mdeycaza 1 comment collapsed Collapse Expand
    Nationalize the oil companies and use the profits for health and education like many other countries do.

  • Chisholm 1 comment collapsed Collapse Expand
    We need help in Wisconsin. Big Oil has invaded farms and forests mining "frack sand", waging war against farmers and land owners with the help of Real Estate Ageents urging land owners to sell or lease their properties.  This is the first step in fracking and fracturing the viscera, deep in the earth to release the oil and gas.  Watch  "Gaslands." Shall I send  photos of the processing plants and the deep wounds in Mother Earth? We have been fighting the invasion and losing for more than three years. I have not heard anything from The Wilderness Society . this is the home of Also Leopold. The Land Ethic is meaningless to Big Oil or the farmers whose ancestors tilled the soil, the cut over the and burned top soil after all the Pine was dicimated.

  • mdmonahan, Just another tall good looking Irishman. 1 comment collapsed Collapse Expand
    I appreciate the information.  Puts the lie to much of the jaw flapping about "energy independence".  Just code words for "energy company freedom to increase profits" at the expense of the American tax payer.

  • Teresa Weeks 1 comment collapsed Collapse Expand
    If we spent more time and energy taking care of our own first, we would be more able to share with the rest of the world

  • deb 1 comment collapsed Collapse Expand
    Keep the stuff here!  who do I vote for to keep it here????

  • Fernando 1 comment collapsed Collapse Expand
    Then the G20 talks about "fiscal paradise" and threatens countries listed as a fiscal paradise; However, the biggest fiscal paradises are most of the members of the G20.