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617-406-1821

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212-616-1396

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Washington, DC Office
202-572-3357

 

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  • Back Barrier Marsh: A Key Component of Caminada Headland Restoration

    Earlier this week, Louisiana’s Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA) highlighted completion of the Caminada Headland beach & dune restoration project. The restored areas of this headland are an essential part of one of our priority projects, Belle Pass to Caminada Pass Restoration – but they are only part of the picture! There’s more to barrier islands and headlands than sandy beaches and dunes. An important part of healthy barrier islands and headlands is what’s called “back barrier marsh.” This ...

    The post Back Barrier Marsh: A Key Component of Caminada Headland Restoration appeared first on Restore the Mississippi River Delta.

    Read more »
  • Trump Decision to Approve the Keystone Pipeline “Wrong on the Merits”
    Read more »
  • 6 Ways President Trump’s Energy Plan Doesn’t Add Up

    By EDF Blogs

    Jeremy Proville and Jonathan Camuzeaux 

    Just 60 days into Trump’s presidency, his administration has wasted no time in pursuing efforts to lift oil and gas development restrictions and dismantle a range of environmental protections to push through his “America First Energy Plan.” An agenda that he claims will allow the country to, “take advantage of the estimated $50 trillion in untapped shale, oil, and natural gas reserves, especially those on federal lands that the American people own.”

    Putting aside the convenient roundness of this number, its sheer size makes the policy sound appealing; but, buyer beware. Behind the smoke and mirrors of this $50 trillion is an industry-commissioned Institute for Energy Research (IER) report that lacks serious economic rigor. The positive projections from lifting oil and gas restrictions come straight from the IER’s advocacy arm, the American Energy Alliance. Several economists reviewed the assessment and agreed: “This is not academic research and would never see the light of day in an academic journal.”

    Here are six reasons Trump’s plan can't deliver on its promises.

    1. No analytical back up for almost $20 trillion of the $50 trillion
    Off the bat, it’s clear that President Trump’s plan relies on flawed math. What’s actually estimated in the report is $31.7 trillion, not $50 trillion, based on increased revenue from oil, gas, and coal production over 37 years (this total includes estimated increases in GDP, wages, and tax revenue). The other roughly half of this “$50 trillion” number appears to be conjured out of thin air.

    2. Inflated fuel prices

    By using inflated oil and gas prices and multiplying the benefits out over 37 years, the author dismisses any volatility or price impacts from changes in supply.


    An average oil price of $100 per barrel and of $5.64 per thousand cubic feet of natural gas (Henry Hub spot price) was used to calculate overall benefits. Oil prices are volatile: in the last five years, they reached a high of $111 per barrel and a low of $29 per barrel. They were below $50 a barrel a few days ago. A $5.64 gas price is not outrageous, but gas prices have mostly been below $5 for several years. By using inflated oil and gas prices and multiplying the benefits out over 37 years, the author dismisses any volatility or price impacts from changes in supply. There’s no denying oil and gas prices could go up in the future, but they could also go down, and the modeling in the IER report is inadequate at best when it comes to tackling this issue.


    6 Ways President Trump’s Energy Plan Doesn’t Add Up
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    3. Technically vs. economically recoverable resources
    The IER report is overly optimistic when it comes to the amount of oil and gas that can be viably produced on today’s restricted federal lands. Indeed, the report assumes that recoverable reserves can be exploited to the last drop over the 37-year period based on estimates from a Congressional Budget Office report. A deeper look reveals that these estimates are actually for “technically recoverable resources,” or the amount of oil and gas that can be produced using current technology, industry practice, and geologic knowledge. While these resources are deemed accessible from a technical standpoint, they cannot always be produced profitably. This is an important distinction, as it is the aspect that differentiates technically-recoverable from economically-recoverable resources. The latter is always a smaller subset of what is technically extractable, as illustrated by this diagram from the Energy Information Administration. The IER report ignores basic industry knowledge to present a rosier picture.

    The IER report ignores basic industry knowledge to present a rosier picture.

    4. Lack of discounting causes overestimations
    When economists evaluate the economic benefits of a policy that has impacts well into the future, it is common practice to apply a discount rate to get a sense of their value to society in today’s terms. Discounting is important to account for the simple fact that we generally value present benefits more than future benefits. The IER analysis does not include any discounting and therefore overestimates the true dollar-benefits of lifting oil and gas restrictions. For example, applying a standard 5% discount rate to the $31.7 trillion benefits would reduce the amount to $12.2 trillion.

    The IER analysis does not include any discounting and therefore overestimates the true dollar-benefits of lifting oil and gas restrictions.

    5. Calculated benefits are not additional to the status quo
    The IER report suggests that the $31.7 trillion would be completely new and additional to the current status quo. This is false. One must compare these projections against a future scenario in which the restrictions are not lifted. Currently, the plan doesn’t examine a future in which these oil and gas restrictions remain and still produce large economic benefits, while protecting the environment.

    6. No consideration of environmental costs
    Another significant failure of IER’s report: even if GDP growth was properly estimated, it would not account for the environmental costs associated with this uptick in oil and gas development and use. This is not something that can be ignored, and any serious analysis would address it.

    We know drilling activities can lead to disastrous outcomes that have real environmental and economic impacts. Oil spills like the Deepwater Horizon and Exxon Valdez have demonstrated that tragic events happen and come with a hefty social, environmental and hard dollar price tag. The same can be said for natural gas leaks, including a recent one in Aliso Canyon, California. And of course, there are significant, long-term environmental costs to increased emissions of greenhouse gases including more extreme weather, damages to human health, and food scarcity to name a few.

    The real issue is what is being sacrificed if we set down this path: That is, a clean energy future where our country can lead.

    The Bottom Line: The $50 Trillion is An Alternative Fact but the Safeguards America will Lose are Real
    These factors fundamentally undercut President Trump’s promise that Americans will reap the benefits of a $50 trillion dollar future energy industry. Most importantly, the real issue is what is being sacrificed if we set down this path. That is, a clean energy future where our country can lead the way in innovation and green growth; creating new, long-term industries and high-paying jobs, without losing our bedrock environmental safeguards. If the administration plans to upend hard-fought restrictions that provide Americans with clean air and water, we expect them to provide a substantially more defensible analytical foundation.

    This post originally appeared on our Market Forces blog and is the first in an occasional series about the economics of President Trump's Energy Plan.

    Read more »
  • Six Ways President Trump’s Energy Plan Doesn’t Add Up

    By EDF Blogs

    This blog was authored by Jeremy Proville and Jonathan Camuzeaux 

    Just 60 days into Trump’s presidency, his administration has wasted no time in pursuing efforts to lift oil and gas development restrictions and dismantle a range of environmental protections to push through his “America First Energy Plan.” An agenda that he claims will allow the country to, “take advantage of the estimated $50 trillion in untapped shale, oil, and natural gas reserves, especially those on federal lands that the American people own.”

    Putting aside the convenient roundness of this number, the sheer size of it makes this policy sound appealing, but buyer beware. Behind the smoke and mirrors of this $50 trillion is a report commissioned by the industry-backed Institute for Energy Research (IER) that lacks serious economic rigor. The positive projections from lifting oil and gas restrictions come straight from the IER’s advocacy arm, the American Energy Alliance. Several economists reviewed the assessment and agreed: “this is not academic research and would never see the light of day in an academic journal.”

    Here is why Trump’s plan promises a future it can’t deliver:

    1. No analytical back up for almost $20 trillion of the $50 trillion.

    Off the bat, it’s clear that President Trump’s Plan relies on flawed math. What’s actually estimated in the report is $31.7 trillion, not $50 trillion, based on increased revenue from oil, gas and coal production over 37 years (this total includes estimated increases in GDP, wages, and tax revenue). The other roughly half of this “$50 trillion” number appears to be conjured out of thin air.

    2. Inflated fuel prices

    An average oil price of $100 per barrel and of $5.64 per thousand cubic feet of natural gas (Henry Hub spot price) was used to calculate overall benefits. Oil prices are volatile: in the last five years, they reached a high of $111 per barrel and a low of $29 per barrel. They were below $50 a barrel a few days ago. A $5.64 gas price is not outrageous, but gas prices have mostly been below $5 for several years. By using inflated oil and gas prices and multiplying the benefits out over 37 years, the author dismisses any volatility or price impacts from changes in supply. There’s no denying oil and gas prices could go up in the future, but they could also go down, and the modeling in the IER report is inadequate at best when it comes to tackling this issue.

    3. Technically vs. economically recoverable resources

    The IER report is overly optimistic when it comes to the amount of oil and gas that can be viably produced on today’s restricted federal lands. Indeed, the report assumes that recoverable reserves can be exploited to the last drop over the 37-year period based on estimates from a Congressional Budget Office report. A deeper look reveals that these estimates are actually for “technically recoverable resources,” or the amount of oil and gas that can be produced using current technology, industry practice, and geologic knowledge. While these resources are deemed accessible from a technical standpoint, they cannot always be produced profitably. This is an important distinction as it is the aspect that differentiates technically recoverable from economically recoverable resources. The latter is always a smaller subset of what is technically extractable, as illustrated by this diagram from the Energy Information Administration. The IER report ignores basic industry knowledge to present a rosier picture.

    4. Lack of discounting causes overestimations

    When economists evaluate the economic benefits of a policy that has impacts well into the future, it is common practice to apply a discount rate to get a sense of their value to society in today’s terms. Discounting is important to account for the simple fact that we generally value present benefits more than future benefits. The IER analysis does not include any discounting and therefore overestimates the true dollar-benefits of lifting oil and gas restrictions. For example, applying a standard 5% discount rate to the $31.7 trillion benefits would reduce the amount to $12.2 trillion.

    5. Calculated benefits are not additional to the status quo

    The IER report suggests that the $31.7 trillion would be completely new and additional to the current status quo. This is false. One must compare these projections against a future scenario in which the restrictions are not lifted. Currently, the plan doesn’t examine a future in which these oil and gas restrictions remain and still produce large economic benefits, while protecting the environment.

    6. No consideration of environmental costs

    Another significant failure of IER’s report: even if GDP growth was properly estimated, it would not account for the environmental costs associated with this uptick in oil and gas development and use. This is not something that can ignored, and any serious analysis would address it.

    We know drilling activities can lead to disastrous outcomes that have real environmental and economic impacts. Oil spills like the Deepwater Horizon and Exxon Valdez have demonstrated that tragic events happen and come with a hefty social, environmental and hard dollar price tag. The same can be said for natural gas leaks, including a recent one in Aliso Canyon, California. And of course, there are significant, long-term environmental costs to increased emissions of greenhouse gases including more extreme weather, damages to human health and food scarcity to name a few.

    The Bottom Line: The $50 Trillion is An Alternative Fact but the Safeguards America will Lose are Real

    These factors fundamentally undercut President Trump’s promise that Americans will reap the benefits of a $50 trillion dollar future energy industry. Most importantly, the real issue is what is being sacrificed if we set down this path. That is, a clean energy future where our country can lead the way in innovation and green growth; creating new, long-term industries and high-paying jobs, without losing our bedrock environmental safeguards. If the administration plans to upend hard-fought restrictions that provide Americans with clean air and water, we expect them to provide a substantially more defensible analytical foundation.

    Photos by lovnpeace and KarinKarin

    This post originally appeared on EDF's Market Forces blog.

    Read more »
  • Alternative Facts: 6 Ways President Trump’s Energy Plan Doesn’t Add Up

    By Jeremy Proville

    Photos by lovnpeace and KarinKarin

    This blog was co-authored with Jonathan Camuzeaux and is the first in an occasional series on the economics of President Trump's Energy Plan

    Just 60 days into Trump’s presidency, his administration has wasted no time in pursuing efforts to lift oil and gas development restrictions and dismantle a range of environmental protections to push through his “America First Energy Plan.” An agenda that he claims will allow the country to, “take advantage of the estimated $50 trillion in untapped shale, oil, and natural gas reserves, especially those on federal lands that the American people own.”

    Putting aside the convenient roundness of this number, the sheer size of it makes this policy sound appealing, but buyer beware. Behind the smoke and mirrors of this $50 trillion is a report commissioned by the industry-backed Institute for Energy Research (IER) that lacks serious economic rigor. The positive projections from lifting oil and gas restrictions come straight from the IER’s advocacy arm, the American Energy Alliance. Several economists reviewed the assessment and agreed: “this is not academic research and would never see the light of day in an academic journal.”

    Here is why Trump’s plan promises a future it can’t deliver:

    1. No analytical back up for almost $20 trillion of the $50 trillion.
    Off the bat, it’s clear that President Trump’s Plan relies on flawed math. What’s actually estimated in the report is $31.7 trillion, not $50 trillion, based on increased revenue from oil, gas and coal production over 37 years (this total includes estimated increases in GDP, wages, and tax revenue). The other roughly half of this “$50 trillion” number appears to be conjured out of thin air.

    2. Inflated fuel prices
    An average oil price of $100 per barrel and of $5.64 per thousand cubic feet of natural gas (Henry Hub spot price) was used to calculate overall benefits. Oil prices are volatile: in the last five years, they reached a high of $111 per barrel and a low of $29 per barrel. They were below $50 a barrel a few days ago. A $5.64 gas price is not outrageous, but gas prices have mostly been below $5 for several years. By using inflated oil and gas prices and multiplying the benefits out over 37 years, the author dismisses any volatility or price impacts from changes in supply. There’s no denying oil and gas prices could go up in the future, but they could also go down, and the modeling in the IER report is inadequate at best when it comes to tackling this issue.

    3. Technically vs. economically recoverable resources
    The IER report is overly optimistic when it comes to the amount of oil and gas that can be viably produced on today’s restricted federal lands. Indeed, the report assumes that recoverable reserves can be exploited to the last drop over the 37-year period based on estimates from a Congressional Budget Office report. A deeper look reveals that these estimates are actually for “technically recoverable resources,” or the amount of oil and gas that can be produced using current technology, industry practice, and geologic knowledge. While these resources are deemed accessible from a technical standpoint, they cannot always be produced profitably. This is an important distinction as it is the aspect that differentiates technically recoverable from economically recoverable resources. The latter is always a smaller subset of what is technically extractable, as illustrated by this diagram from the Energy Information Administration. The IER report ignores basic industry knowledge to present a rosier picture.

    4. Lack of discounting causes overestimations
    When economists evaluate the economic benefits of a policy that has impacts well into the future, it is common practice to apply a discount rate to get a sense of their value to society in today’s terms. Discounting is important to account for the simple fact that we generally value present benefits more than future benefits. The IER analysis does not include any discounting and therefore overestimates the true dollar-benefits of lifting oil and gas restrictions. For example, applying a standard 5% discount rate to the $31.7 trillion benefits would reduce the amount to $12.2 trillion.

    5. Calculated benefits are not additional to the status quo
    The IER report suggests that the $31.7 trillion would be completely new and additional to the current status quo. This is false. One must compare these projections against a future scenario in which the restrictions are not lifted. Currently, the plan doesn’t examine a future in which these oil and gas restrictions remain and still produce large economic benefits, while protecting the environment.

    6. No consideration of environmental costs
    Another significant failure of IER’s report: even if GDP growth was properly estimated, it would not account for the environmental costs associated with this uptick in oil and gas development and use. This is not something that can ignored, and any serious analysis would address it.

    We know drilling activities can lead to disastrous outcomes that have real environmental and economic impacts. Oil spills like the Deepwater Horizon and Exxon Valdez have demonstrated that tragic events happen and come with a hefty social, environmental and hard dollar price tag. The same can be said for natural gas leaks, including a recent one in Aliso Canyon, California. And of course, there are significant, long-term environmental costs to increased emissions of greenhouse gases including more extreme weather, damages to human health and food scarcity to name a few.

    The Bottom Line: The $50 Trillion is An Alternative Fact but the Safeguards America will Lose are Real
    These factors fundamentally undercut President Trump’s promise that Americans will reap the benefits of a $50 trillion dollar future energy industry. Most importantly, the real issue is what is being sacrificed if we set down this path. That is, a clean energy future where our country can lead the way in innovation and green growth; creating new, long-term industries and high-paying jobs, without losing our bedrock environmental safeguards. If the administration plans to upend hard-fought restrictions that provide Americans with clean air and water, we expect them to provide a substantially more defensible analytical foundation.

    Read more »
  • How Do We Know That Humans Are Causing Climate Change? These Nine Lines of Evidence

    By Ilissa Ocko

    While most Americans acknowledge that climate change is happening, some are still unsure about the causes.

    They are often labeled “climate skeptics,” but that label can cause confusion or even anger.

    Isn’t the nature of science to be skeptical? Isn’t it good to question everything?

    Yes, but —

    Here’s what is getting lost in the conversation:

    Scientists have been asking these questions for nearly 200 years. The scientific community has been studying these questions for so long that collectively they have amassed an overwhelming amount of evidence pointing to a clear conclusion.

    A similar situation is smoking and cancer. Nowadays, no one questions the link between smoking and cancer, because the science was settled in the 1960s after more than 50 years of research. The questions have been asked and answered with indisputable evidence.

    We can think of the state of human activities and climate change as no different than smoking and cancer. In fact, we are statistically more confident that humans cause climate change than that smoking causes cancer.

    Our confidence comes from the culmination of over a century of research by tens of thousands of scientists at hundreds of institutions in more than a hundred nations.

    So what is the evidence?

    The research falls into nine independently-studied but physically-related lines of evidence, that build to the overall clear conclusion that humans are the main cause of climate change:

    1. Simple chemistry that when we burn carbon-based materials, carbon dioxide (CO2) is emitted (research beginning in 1900s)
    2. Basic accounting of what we burn, and therefore how much CO2 we emit (data collection beginning in 1970s)
    3. Measuring CO2 in the atmosphere to find that it is indeed increasing (measurements beginning in 1950s)
    4. Chemical analysis of the atmospheric CO2 that reveals the increase is coming from burning fossil fuels (research beginning in 1950s)
    5. Basic physics that shows us that CO2 absorbs heat (research beginning in 1820s)
    6. Monitoring climate conditions to find that recent warming of the Earth is correlated to and follows rising CO2 emissions (research beginning in 1930s)
    7. Ruling out natural factors that can influence climate like the Sun and ocean cycles (research beginning in 1830s)
    8. Employing computer models to run experiments of natural vs. human-influenced “simulated Earths” (research beginning in 1960s)
    9. Consensus among scientists that consider all previous lines of evidence and make their own conclusions (polling beginning in 1990s)

    (You can also see these nine lines of evidence illustrated in the graphic below)

    Skeptics sometimes point to the last two supporting lines of evidence as weaknesses. They’re not. But even if you choose to doubt them, it is really the first seven that, combined, point to human activities as the only explanation of rising global temperatures since the Industrial Revolution, and the subsequent climate changes (such as ice melt and sea level rise) that have occurred due to this global warming.

    The science is settled, and the sooner we accept this, the sooner we can work together towards addressing the problems caused by climate change – and towards a better future for us all.

     

    Read more »
  • California Becomes Latest State to Regulate Oil and Gas Methane Emissions
    Read more »
  • New LSU Study Underscores Regional Economic Costs of Coastal Land Loss
    Read more »