Energy Wars: The Oil Boom
Year 2018 has begun as a promising year for oil production, as seen in headlines posted by Real Clear Energy on 01/02/18.
Oil production in the USA received a long-waited boost on 12/22/17 when President Trump signed into law the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Included in that legislation is a provision to open a portion of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil production.
From Petroleum News: “The Senate legislation requires the secretary of the interior to hold at least two area wide lease sales within the 10-year budget window, with the first sale taking place within four years of the legislation being enacted and the second within seven years. Each lease sale must encompass at least 400,000 acres, including areas with the highest potential for hydrocarbon discoveries.”
Lest anyone claim that 800,000+ acres of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge will be ruined, this is what the legislation says about the actual acreage to be covered by production facilities:
“The Secretary [of Interior] shall authorize up to 2,000 surface acres of Federal land on the Coastal Plain to be covered by production and support facilities (including airstrips and any area covered by gravel berms or piers for support of pipelines) during the term of the leases under the oil and gas program under this section.”
Paul Driessen writes, “To claim the minimal impact on 2,000 acres of a 19-million acre refuge will despoil the entire refuge is like saying an airport on North Carolina’s northern border would ruin scenery and kill wildlife throughout the state.”
Although the oil boom is good for America’s economy, not everyone is thrilled to see it take place.
In her 12/18/17 column for Axios, Amy Harder writes, “The massive tax bill Congress is set to approve this week does little to simplify complicated tax laws that impact the energy industry, keeping intact most energy subsidies totaling tens of billions of dollars. The prospect of a tax on carbon emissions, which would both raise revenue for the federal government and help level the playing field between polluting and non-polluting energy resources, never had a chance.”
Harder is an advocate for Congress imposing a tax on carbon emissions. In her column, she spells out what a carbon tax is supposed to do.
“Adele Morris, an economist at the Brookings Institution who recently hosted an event about a carbon tax that I spoke at, says a carbon tax achieves two things on top of raising government revenue, that subsidies don’t:
1. Transition from dirtier energy technologies to cleaner ones.
2. Energy conservation through higher prices.”
Yes, Harder wants to allegedly “level the playing field between polluting and non-polluting energy resources” by making Americans pay more money at the gas pump.