2013 in Review

According to data gathered by¬†The Fuel Fix, the increase in oil and natural gas production during 2013 was the largest annual increase in our nation’s history:

oimgWhile the oil and natural gas boom has been very beneficial to the U.S. economy, it hasn’t been quite as groundbreaking as big oil booms of the past. This is primarily because the world as a whole is producing and consuming a lot more oil and gas, so while the the domestic increase is the largest ever, its being compared to a much larger global oil supply. This is why it hasn’t had a dramatic impact on the price of oil, which is still trading at close to $100 per barrel.

While 2013 has been a big year for U.S. energy and environmental policy issues, 2014 is shaping up to be even more important. The Keystone Pipeline will likely be decided upon in 2014, as well as numerous costly EPA regulations, including the greenhouse-gas emissions rules:

EPA rules controlling greenhouse-gas emissions

The big day for Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy should come sometime in June, when her agency is scheduled to unveil historic standards controlling carbon emissions from the nation’s fleet of power plants, which includes nearly 600 coal-fired plants poised to be hit the hardest, because coal emits more carbon than oil or natural gas. Apart from the actual rulemaking process, you should expect three other notable (albeit unsurprising) developments next year on this front: 1) An unprecedented coalition of industry groups opposed to the rules; 2) Republican lawmakers continuing to hammer away, with limited success, to undermine the rules; and 3) the Supreme Court’s review of one part of EPA’s suite of climate rules that deals rather narrowly with permitting, which will be argued in February and likely decided in June.

While this rule is on its way, it will still still have its day in court. This ruling will have a dramatic impact on the extent to which the EPA can control our countries energy supply.


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