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Did You Know?

The four highest U.S. unemployment rate spikes from 1950-2010 were immediately preceded by the four highest spikes in oil prices? The graph below suggests that long-term energy policy should be supply focused. More steady supply from the U.S. means lower prices and less volatility. To consumers, today’s near historical low oil prices are a stark example of the what happens when the U.S. increases its standing in world oil production. Click the graph to take a closer look.

oil vs unemployment

Supreme Court Grants Regulatory Relief

The U.S. economy got some much needed relief last week when the U.S. Supreme Court paused implementation of an EPA rule until legal arguments are finally settled in the courts. The EPA’s so-called Clean Power Plan is a blatant attempt by the EPA to overreach its Clean Air Act authority. If implemented, the rule will negatively impact both electric power cost and reliability to U.S. ratepayers. The Mississippi Energy Institute has closely followed the path to implementation since its 2014 proposal. The Court’s stay means the rule may remain in legal limbo until 2017. The stay is not a guarantee of a future strike down of the rule, but it may indicate a majority of the Court is siding with challengers of the EPA’s overreaching authority. While uncertainty remains until a final decision is made, a pause in implementation is a temporary victory.

“What the Court said today is that states cannot be forced to comply with a regulation that it may ultimately decide is unconstitutional. This is a temporary but important victory for small businesses, which were facing substantially higher energy costs. It’s also a blow to the EPA, which was gearing up to enforce the regulation regardless of the practical costs to the economy. The Supreme Court gave small businesses and the states some breathing room until it can decide the matter.”
– Karen Harned
Executive Director
National Federation of Independent Business Small Business Legal Center

MEI and MMA Host Legislative Briefing

The Mississippi Energy Institute along with the Mississippi Manufacturers Association briefed Energy, Environment, and Public Utilities committee members from both the House and the Senate on the EPA’s so-called Clean Power Plan. MDEQ’s Gary Rikard broke down the basics of the plan and explained why the rule will present major challenges for MS. While the U.S. Supreme Court granted a stay on the EPA rule just prior to the meeting, a discussion was still necessary to forewarn legislators that the federal government will once again attempt to back door cap and trade with the rule when it is discussed again after current legal matters are settled.

Supreme Court Loses Prominent Voice, Justice Scalia

“You’re lumping them all together,” Scalia said of the five big power companies. “Suppose you lump together all the cows in the country. Would that allow you to sue all those farmers? I mean, don’t you have to do it defendant by defendant? … Cow by cow or at least farm by farm? And if you can lump all the cows together and claim they fuel global warming, you can lump together all the people in the United States who breathe, I suppose?”
“EPA strayed far beyond those bounds when it read to mean that it could ignore cost when deciding whether to regulate power plants.” To explain how the EPA failed its due diligence of estimating cost when it first deemed it “appropriate and necessary” to reduce mercury, Scalia wrote, “By EPA’s logic, someone could decide whether it is ‘appropriate’ to buy a Ferrari without thinking about cost, because he plans to think about cost later when deciding whether to upgrade the sound system.”
– Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia
March 11, 1936 – February 13, 2016

A Recap of Energy Brief 2016

Over 400 attended Energy Brief 2016 in Jackson on January 19th. Alex Epstein, author of New York Times bestseller “Moral Case for Fossil Fuels,” Paula Jackson, President and CEO of the American Association of Blacks in Energy, and Former Governor Haley Barbour comprised the lineup of energy and industry experts alongside appearances by Lieutenant Governor Tate Reeves and Speaker of the House Philip Gunn.

Notable Quotables from Energy Brief 2016

alex eb
   “Fossil fuel use translates to increase in life expectancy and GDP.
   Without fossil fuels, quality of life continuously suffers.”
   – Alex Epstein
paula jackson eb
   “The average job life span of today’s 25 year old is two years.We need to figure out how to impassion these millennials     to stay. Today’s graduates don’t want to work for Google, they want to create the NEXT Google – our industry needs       to tap into that innovative mindset.”
     – Paula Jackson on today’s workforce

Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves Names New Energy and Environmental Committee Chairmen

Sen. Briggs Hopson, III, R-Vicksburg, succeeds new President Pro Tem Terry Burton as Energy Committee Chairman while Sen. Michael Watson, R-Pascagoula takes over as Chairman of Environmental Protection, Conservation and Water Resources. Read more at the Clarion Ledger. 

More Say “Oh, No” to Ozone

MEI has written previously about the negative impacts to Mississippi communities that could come with EPA’s lower ozone standard. Ozone non-attainment is the term for communities who do not comply with EPA’s methodology for measuring ozone compliance, but non-attainment, in simple terms, means economic sanctions with severe restrictions on industrial expansion. The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, as well as several states, have filed suit against the EPA over the agency’s new proposed limits governing surface level ozone. Both organizations cite the crippling effect such “unworkable” standards would have on American business. Read more here. 
“Manufacturers across the United States need regulations that provide balance and allow us to be globally competitive.”
– Linda Kelly, NAM’s senior vice president and general counsel

MSU – NSPARC Study Lays Out Merits of CO2-EOR Process

The National Strategic Planning & Analysis Research Center (NSPARC), a research unit at Mississippi State University, released the results of their CO2 -EOR report stating that the process yields economic growth and could lead to greater U.S. energy security. See the report here.