Saturday, April 14, 2012

News Release: Obama Administration Announces New Partnership on Unconventional Natural Gas and Oil Research

Message 3
From: U.S. EPA <>
Date: 04/13/2012
Subject: News Release: Obama Administration Announces New Partnership on Unconventional Natural Gas and Oil Research

EPA: and 202-564-4355
DOE: 202-586-4940
DOI: 202-646-6416

April 13, 2012

Obama Administration Announces New Partnership on Unconventional Natural Gas and Oil Research
WASHINGTON – Today, three federal agencies announced a formal partnership to coordinate and align all research associated with development of our nation’s abundant unconventional natural gas and oil resources. The partnership exemplifies the cross-government coordination required under President Obama’s executive order released earlier today, which created a new Interagency Working Group to Support Safe and Responsible Development of Unconventional Domestic Natural Gas Resources. This new partnership will help coordinate current and future research and scientific studies undertaken by the U.S. Department of Energy, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of the Interior – better positioning the Obama Administration to ensure that continued expansion of natural gas and oil production happens safely and responsibly as part of an all-of-the-above approach to American energy in which science plays a guiding and critical role.

As the president has made clear, domestic natural gas and oil resources will continue to play a key role in America’s energy future. Already, technological advancements like hydraulic fracturing – innovation supported by public research – have allowed development of previously uneconomic natural gas and oil deposits. In fact, since 2008, U.S. oil and natural gas production has increased each year. In 2011, U.S. crude oil production reached its highest level in 8 years, increasing by an estimated 110,000 barrels per day over 2010 levels to 5.59 million barrels per day. And U.S. natural gas production grew in 2011 as well – the largest year-over-year volumetric increase in history – easily eclipsing the previous all-time production record set in 1973. Overall, oil imports have been falling since 2005, and oil import dependence declined from 57 percent in 2008 to 45 percent in 2011 – the lowest level since 1995.

As the United States continues to expand domestic natural gas and oil production, it is critical that the public has full confidence that the right safety and environmental protections are in place – guided by the best available science. Leveraging each agency’s core competencies and strengths will enhance efforts to explore the significant new resource development opportunities made possible in recent years by hydraulic fracturing and other new technologies, and meet high-priority challenges in a coordinated and common-sense way.

“Science, research and innovation continue to play a vital role in our efforts to further expand oil and gas production in the United States and make sure it’s done safely and responsibly,” said Department of the Interior Deputy Secretary David J. Hayes. “Improvements in technologies like hydraulic fracturing are responsible for greatly increasing our capacity to develop America’s abundant unconventional resources in recent years. Through a close collaboration across the government that reduces redundancy and streamlines our research, we are positioning the Obama Administration to best meet the critical need of increasing public understanding and public confidence of these critical technologies so that we can continue safe and responsible exploration and production for many decades to come.”

“The development of American shale gas resources is having a transformative impact on the U.S. energy landscape, helping to improve our energy security while spurring economic development and job creation around the country,” said Acting Under Secretary of Energy Arun Majumdar. “The Energy Department remains committed to the safe and responsible development of this American resource, and continued cooperation between government and private industry partners under President Obama’s all-of-the-above approach to American energy.”

"We are moving into a new era of American energy, one that has the potential to create jobs, strengthen our energy independence and security, and cut pollution. President Obama has created this interagency working group to ensure that these energy innovations happen safely and responsibly, without compromising the environment or the health of the American people," said EPA Deputy Administrator Bob Perciasepe. "We will continue to rely on the best available science to oversee the responsible development of these energy sources."

A primary goal of this effort will be to identify research topics where collaboration among the three agencies can be most effectively and efficiently conducted to provide results and technologies that support sound policy decisions by the agencies responsible for ensuring the prudent development of energy sources while promoting safe practices and human health. The new research partnership is an example of the Obama Administration’s effort to coordinate activities across the federal government to support development of our abundant domestic natural gas resources in a safe and responsible way. Today the administration announced that a broader set of activities will be coordinated under an executive order issued by President Obama to create a new Interagency Working Group to Support Safe and Responsible Development of Unconventional Domestic Natural Gas Resources. 

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Renewable Energy Information Sessions in Otsego County

Fostering Economic Development - Inaugural Series Takes a Look at Community Sized Energy Projects

Oneonta, New York; February 28, 2011- A new company that is dedicated to facilitating economic development in the region, announced today that they will be hosting information sessions to discuss community sized renewable energy projects and the workforce growth that can result from these projects.

These all-day sessions are aimed at giving local officials and business leaders an overview of the various energy projects that have the potential to be developed in the region. The forums will be presented at the Foothills Performing Arts Center in Oneonta.

Wind Energy                                                   April 17, 2012
Solar & Geothermal                                        June 19, 2012
Biofuels                                                            September 18, 2012
Workforce Development Initiative              November 13, 2012

Local governments are faced with making important decisions regarding their economic development goals. This issue could impact job creation, better life quality and maintaining the rural atmosphere. It is important that officials understand the key issues that could have a bearing on their decision making process. This inaugural series sets out to present the basic information required by officials when presented with community sized renewable energy projects.

Anna Marie Lusins-McLachlan, Director of Business Development of the Hometown Energy Group said, “We have to talk about Renewable Energy, we have to talk about workforce development because that is where we are.” She also added that “It is important that people learn about all forms of energy in planning for the future of the region.”  This is especially true with the Governor of New York State encouraging a balanced energy policy for the state. Ms. Lusins-McLachlan has spoken in public before about landowner rights; she sees the series as opening another option for landowners to utilize their properties for energy development under a multi-land use strategy. Under this strategy landowners will have the ability to continue farming by utilizing anaerobic digestors as an energy source while municipalities will learn about the different energy resource options that would be applicable to their locale.

The Director of HEG’s Environmental Affairs Uni Blake was quick to remind that “All energy development projects come with unique challenges,” she added that “Whatever applicable energy project that a locality chooses; there will be those that staunchly support it and those that oppose it.”  She stressed that these forums will give those charged with making decisions the information that they need to make informed decisions.

As communities in the region move forward in defining their energy needs along with economic development strategies, it is important that local official understand the energy development options that have the potential for being presented to them for permitting and siting regulations. Presentations will by speakers who are experts in their fields.

Registration is will be open to public on first come first serve basis after the invited participants have had a chance to register. There will be a $25 charge to cover the cost of the food and refreshments. Please send your registration request to

Hometown Energy Group is a company dedicated to fostering regional economic growth through community sized energy development projects and the industries that can be developed as a result. The company is located in Otsego County. Its mission is to facilitate the economic growth through workforce training and development initiatives. To learn more about Hometown Energy Group, visit the group’s website,

Media enquiries:
Anna Marie Lusins-McLachlan

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Fracking: The Radical Left's Latest Weapon of Fear

    Bob Beauprez is a former Member of Congress and is currently the editor-in-chief of A Line of Sight, an online policy resource. Prior to serving in Congress, Mr. Beauprez was a dairy farmer and community banker. He and his wife Claudia reside in Lafayette, Colorado. You may contact him at:

In 1977, President Jimmy Carter warned Americans of a pending "national catastrophe" in a prime time nationally televised speech. "The Oil and natural gas we rely on for 75 percent of our energy are running out." Resources were being depleted so fast that the world "could use up all the proven reserves of oil in the entire world by the end of the next decade," Carter said.
Rather obviously, Carter's end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it prediction didn't happen.
Had Carter been right, by now much of the agenda of the radical environmentalists would have been a fait accompli. Weaning America off oil, natural gas, and coal to heat our homes, power our cars, and run our factories would have taken care of itself due to a scarcity of the resources. But, Carter was wrong – dramatically wrong

Thursday, January 5, 2012

The Role of Natural Gas in Local Agroecosystems

On a drive to Middlefield, NY one is struck by the picturesque scenery. The tranquil rolling hills and lush valley floor are dotted with upper-end houses. Scattered among the houses are the remnants of the valley’s agricultural farming history. According to historical accounts, agriculture has always been the backbone of this community.  However, the once agricultural land has been subdivided to locate the houses bought by urbanites looking for rural refuge; the fertile valley for the most part now lies fallow. Further along the drive, a marked entrance announces the location of the Brewery Ommegang. Despite the peculiarity of the location of the brewery, local residents have embraced it as a part of the community. As a large truck exits the brewery grounds one is quickly reminded that a brewery is an industrial activity; a strong testament that the region supports multiple land use.
A few miles up from the Brewery is one of the surviving farms in the valley; The Cooperstown Holstein Corporation (CHC) farm. The farm represents the changing aspects of rural agriculture; the need for diversity.  Peter Huntington, one of the farm’s founders had a vision for a self-sustained and energy efficient farm that maximized long term stability; a model of an agroecosystem farm management strategy; a strategy that blurs the distinction between the farm’s ecosystem and the natural ecosystems.
Jennifer Huntington, the farms’ current steward is a well-respected, hardworking and extremely knowledgeable farmer. She walks in the footsteps of her father. Next to the CHC’s milking barn and animal barn is a Methane Digester and a biogas fueled Cogeneration system. The systems which once produced energy for both the farm and the nearby County Office building, now sit silent, enveloped in a film of dust.  Frozen in a time when agriculture intersected the community. Now the silence is eerily similar to the farms and barns down the road which sit empty and unused.
Besides the methane digestor/CoGen system, the farm presses locally grown canola seeds for bio-diesel, and utilizes a seed dryer to save seeds that would otherwise been ruined by high moisture content.  Developing this kind of agroecosystem takes capital which most farmers lack. So, when landmen knocked on the farmer’s doors, farmers saw natural gas development as a viable avenue to maximize their farm’s efficiency.
However, the farmer’s vision differed from their neighbors who saw natural gas development as an infringement on their rural lifestyle by a vilified industry.  When the gas development discussion reached the Middlefield Town Board, the farmers were largely missing from the town hall; they were out busy working on their farms. The Town Board listened to about 30 minutes of information supporting gas development and spent even less time listening to the farmers. What the board did hear was hours of public sentiment against natural gas development and within a short time, the Town enacted a ban against natural gas development activities.
For farmers like Jennifer Huntington who still get up every morning to milk their cows, ensuring that their neighbors have cream for their morning cups of coffee, daily routines have not changed. What has changed is how they are now perceived; they have been demonized by those opposed to local natural gas development and their motives have been questioned. The explanation as to how something that started off as simple desire to improve a farm’s sustainability has turned into something divisive is as elusive as the reason why a community would turn on their local farmers.