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All-of-the Above Energy Approach

Posted Friday, March 16, 2012, at 4:44 PM

Dear Friend,

High gas prices are impacting everyone. With all our domestic energy resources and ingenuity we can make a difference in impacting our energy needs. I maintain a broad, all-of-the-above approach that takes all of our resources into consideration. I could not disagree more with those that believe in a very narrow and limiting energy policy. I will continue to support legislation that encourages domestic energy production, energy efficiency, and renewable energy opportunities.

I support the following:

The Keystone XL Pipeline

The Keystone XL Pipeline would carry oil from Canada to the Gulf Coast, providing more oil for America's energy needs and employing tens of thousands of people immediately. By rejecting the Keystone pipeline President Obama has chosen a narrow energy policy and turned his back on jobs for unemployed Americans and ignored a way to take advantage of some of North America's own energy supplies.

In February 2012, TransCanada announced that it had plans to break up the $7.6 billion project into several stand-alone parts, beginning immediately with a section connecting Cushing, Oklahoma with the Gulf Coast. TransCanada would build a pipeline from Cushing to the Gulf of Mexico to help push oil out of Cushing where there is a delay in keeping up with demand due in large part from increased domestic oil production, currently at an eight-year high.

ANWR (Arctic National Wildlife Refuge)

We need to drill here at home. I requested that the President begin oil drilling in a small portion of ANWR in 2011. By taking advantage of oil discoveries in the U.S., we can eliminate our dependence on foreign oil and keep energy prices low. ANWR consists of 19 million acres in northeast Alaska. Its 1.5-million-acre coastal plain is viewed by development proponents as a promising onshore oil prospect. According to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), the mean estimate of technically recoverable oil from multiple prospects on the federally owned land in the Refuge is between 7.7 billion barrels and more than 11.8 billion barrels could be recovered on the federal lands over the life of the prospective fields. If the oil is drilled at 660,000 barrels per day, there would be enough oil to provide to the U.S. for 30 years.

H.R. 3548: North American Energy Access Act

Under H.R. 3548, approval for the Keystone Pipeline would bypass President Obama and the fate of the Keystone Pipeline would be left to expert individuals. As a co-sponsor and strong supporter of this bill, I am working with Congressman Lee Terry (R-Neb.) to see that we can bring the Keystone pipeline back to the table so that we can get more Americans back to work.

H.R. 3408: Protecting Investment in Oil Shale the Next Generation of Environmental, Energy, and Resource Security Act (PIONEERS ACT)

The purpose of this legislation was to set clear rules for the development of United States oil shale resources, to promote shale technology research and development. This bill would help to ensure that states that have historically allowed offshore drilling would continue to be provided with a fair amount of the revenue derived from this exploration. I was proud to support this bill on the House floor.

H.R. 2021: Jobs and Energy Permitting Act of 2011

This legislation would end Washington bureaucratic red tape causing unnecessary permitting delays on offshore energy production opportunities. This bill would amend the Clean Air Act -- which has created confusion and delayed oil exploration in the Alaskan Outer Continental Shelf -- by shortening the EPA's approval process for issuing air pollution permits for offshore oil and gas development. I was proud to support this bill on the House floor.

H.R. 1231: Reversing President Obama's Offshore Moratorium Act

As a co-sponsor this bill lifts the President's ban on new offshore drilling by requiring the Administration to move forward on American energy production in areas containing the most oil and natural gas resources. Specifically, this legislation would require that each five-year offshore leasing plan includes lease sales in the areas containing the greatest known oil and natural gas reserves. According to the Congressional Budget Office, H.R. 1231 will generate $800 million in revenue over 10 years.

H.R. 1230: Restarting American Offshore Leasing Now Act

As a co-sponsor this bill would expand American energy production and create jobs by requiring the Secretary of the Interior to conduct oil and natural gas lease sales in the Gulf of Mexico and offshore Virginia that have been delayed or cancelled by the Obama Administration. By developing five-year plans to determine where and when offshore leasing and energy production will occur, this legislation would reverse the Obama Administration's actions and proceed with scheduled lease sales in a prompt, timely, and safe manner.

H.R. 1229: Putting the Gulf of Mexico Back to Work Act

I am a co-sponsor of this bill because it ends the Obama Administration's de facto moratorium in the Gulf of Mexico, in a safe, responsible, and transparent manner. This bill would put thousands of Americans back to work. It would increase American energy production to help address rising gasoline prices.


Stephen L. Fincher

Showing comments in chronological order
[Show most recent comments first]


-- Posted by jlcslccoker@att.net on Sat, Mar 17, 2012, at 6:55 PM

As an independent American, my thinking is not spoon fed to me by millionaire lobbyists, whose sponsors advertise on national television. So the folowing might not be what you're seeing and hearing from others.

Like so many, I also support the Keystone XL pipeline. But I do not support it believing that it will lower gas prices, because I now know that's not true. The purpose of the pipeline is to move oil to the higher prices of international markets. Pipelines carrying strategic assets like oil have intrensic strategic value that allows flexibility in our markets. But I do not support the blank checks signed by our Congress to EXPORT vital resources. Make no mistake; increased exports of oil products will increase the price of gas at American pumps. So I support an American policy which increases American production for American industries and American consumers, not the world.

Yes, that includes more drilling in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Envirnonmentalists' concerns are exagerrated into silliness; the caribou are doing fine. We drill in many states, e.g. Pennsylvania, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Texas, California...where people live. We can drill in Alaska where people don't live. If we don't open new wells in ANWR soon, the decreasing production of existing wells will not put enough oil in the pipeline to keep it operable. So we really do need to drill some more wells in ANWR.

Like T. Boone Pickens and the President, I think that natural gas is America's best immediate alternative to oil. With new fracking technology, American companies are producing so much natural gas that prices are on a bottom. Calculated by energy equivalence, natural gas historically sells at roughly par to one half the energy price of a barrel of oil. Right now, it is selling at about one eighth the energy equivalent price of oil. If you convert natural gas BTUs to its equivalent in barrels of oil, that's about $13.50 a barrel. West Texas Intermediate light sweet crude is selling at over a hundred bucks a barrel, and the Brent international price of oil is even higher. Taking advantage of the lower prices of natural gas, American companies are making diesel to NG converter kits for the trucking industry, manufacturing new NG engines and tanks for trucks and trains, and they are building stations to supply compressed natural gas to trucks on all the major highways in the United States. Americans are beyond the thinking and talking phase; we're making it happen.

America is also blessed with an abundance of coal and thorium. "Coal is dirty," you say. I say that twenty years ago, American scientists at Oak Ridge Tennessee announced a working prototype generator that liquifies and ionizes coal to efficiently and cleanly produce electricity. It's called magneto-hydrodynamics. It's way past time for an American President and Congress to take advantage of our Tennessee plasma technology, for the good of our country. Our government should also encourage development of thorium liquid salt nuclear reactors. A working prototype was built and successfully tested at Oak Ridge, decades ago. I'm talking about a nuclear reactor fueld by thorium, instead of uranium or plutonium. We have a lot of thorium that is easy and cheap to obtain. Thorium reactors do not produce much hazardously radioactive waste, and they cannot melt down. India is already making crude thorium rectors, and China is in the process of making advanced liquid salt thorium reactors to produce electricity for their next generation. The Chinese government actually announced its intention to make liquid thorium reactors the basis of China's nuclear power industry and to claim world patents on the technology developed in Tennessee. Engineers and scientists at Oak Ridge built and tested a thorium reactor at Oak Ridge, so we're not talking about theory. We're talking about a safer and cheaper nuclear technology developed with our American taxes and then surrendered to the Peoples Republic of China. The only lobbyists for thorium reactors in America are scientists, engineers, and our military. But scientists don't have much influence in Washington, where lobbyists for the old nuclear reactor technology hold sway. America needs nuclear power, but the so-called new technology approved by the President is really the old uranium technology, with water tanks for a few days of emergency cooling. But nuclear meltdowns last more than a few days, and the old technology produces highly radioactive waste that remains hazardous for centuries. Our Congress needs to write and pass some legislation for thorium reactors.

What's happening with solar energy? The problem is that photo-voltaic cells(PV) cost too much. With new manufacturing technoloy and increased production, costs are going down...so far down that even China's major manufacturer is losing money at current prices. But Europe and China continue to build out solar cell production of electricity. PV has an important place in the world's energy future, so let's not poo-hoo it with political cheap shots. Lower costs make solar cells more competitive, but it's a tough market right now.

We've heard the President mention algae technology. First reactions to that might be sceptical guffaws and hardy har hars, but looking into this surprised me. The numbers are very good, and the industry can locate in unpopulated desert areas. American entrepreneurs are building the industry now, so don't be surprised when you hear more about it.

-- Posted by i-think on Mon, Mar 19, 2012, at 1:08 PM

The Keystone XL Pipeline, well, looks to me like it will cost the U.S. $14 Billion to create 5,000-6,000 jobs over a 3 year period.

This according to a report by Cornell University (a report that states the claims of benefits, environmental safety, and jobs creation are a 'fabrication' (my word choice here) of the TransCanada Corporation and could not be substantiated by our own U.S. Department of State).

Mr. Congressman Fincher, I can't support you on this issue either. I don't understand why you are in favor of it. Of course then, I don't sleep in Washington, D.C. and I don't wake-up with the strange bedfellows that you do.


-- Posted by Wayward on Mon, Mar 19, 2012, at 3:44 PM

An editing feature would serve me well on this blog site. Written with haste, the PV paragraph requires correction. Production costs of solar cells are lower. But the expected higher demand just isn't there after the recession. With increased supply above demand, prices are down. That's why PV companies are losing money.

-- Posted by i-think on Mon, Mar 19, 2012, at 4:27 PM

Some of you folks might be laughing about the algae as one of the all of the aboves. While confessing my own doubts, I'm also seeing news of companies building out production facilities. My doubts spring from conflicted, checkered, and incomplete information. But I cannot turn a blind eye to reports like Australia's Algae Tech signing a joint venture with a Chinese firm to build China's first faciltiy, an 8.7 million gallon transportation fuel plant in Shandong Province, with plans to expand facilities throughout the country. The same company is expanding its plant near Atlanta Georgia, with a memorandum of understanding signed to produce fuel for Lufthansa.

Why algae? The body mass of algae is near 50% oil, and it doubles its mass about once a day, creating fuel with much higher efficiency than ethanol from corn. Also, algae is a CO2 eater, so manufacturing fuel with algae consumes the same amount of greenhouse gas that the fuel produces when it's burned. Bubba don't care about that greenhouse gas stuff, but companies like Lufthansa do.

Can algae replace our need for fossil fuels? No, we need to continue exploration and production. But if there came a time when algae oil supplied just 5% of our nation's needs(not exported out of the country) that would definitely lower prices at the pump.

-- Posted by i-think on Wed, Mar 21, 2012, at 11:32 AM

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Congressman Stephen Fincher
Stephen Fincher
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Stephen Fincher is the U.S. Representative for Tennessee's 8th congressional district.
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