Over the past decade, the United States has undergone an energy renaissance that has propelled the U.S. into the position of world’s largest energy producer. The U.S. has surpassed Russia as the largest natural gas producer and is expected to produce more oil than Saudi Arabia by 2020. This newly attained energy security has directly benefitted consumers with annual savings of about $550 per year in gasoline purchases and over $1300 per household due to lower natural gas prices. Lower natural gas prices continue to offer growth in Florida’s manufacturing sector. America’s new found energy security has had environmental benefits, as well. The United States leads the world in the reduction of carbon emissions, which greater use of clean-burning natural gas has driven to 25-year lows in the power sector. Florida has been a leader in conversion to natural gas utility production and introduction of renewable sources of energy. In addition to conventional energy production, renewable energy has surpassed conventional energy in new construction (by 11,870.5 Megawatts in 2015) across the U.S.
AIF led Florida’s business community to engage in the energy debate. We have long supported the development of supply options leading to diverse, reliable and reasonably priced energy resources, with minimum government intervention, and promoted an economically balanced and varied mix of energy sources consistent with prudent environmental policies. Recent access to large supplies of domestic natural gas supplies has mitigated many of the previously perceived vulnerabilities in Florida’s electricity generation mix. While the demand for electricity will continue to grow over the next few years, a sustainable and common sense energy mix will be critical for the success of Florida’s business community. All sources of energy—nuclear, clean coal, natural gas, oil and renewable varieties—should be supported and encouraged within a competitive marketplace. Affordability, sustainability, and reliability must continue to guide the evaluation of all potential energy sources. The game changing capability of our domestic energy resources are important to America’s workers, to the environment and to our future security.
AIF SUPPORTS efforts by the Legislature to promote energy efficiency and conservation through cost-effective incentives. AIF OPPOSES any legislation that expands incentives for individuals that result in long term, higher energy prices for all other customers.
Onshore exploration and production in Florida is a valuable contributor to state’s economy and tax base. AIF SUPPORTS maintaining appropriate permitting laws to protect the environment, to enhance efficiency between industry and the state and to ensure appropriate standards are clearly communicated. Further, AIF SUPPORTS that the regulatory permitting and zoning authority associated with oil and natural gas exploration and production be maintained solely by the state. Onshore oil and gas production in Florida can be performed safely while fully protecting water resources and the environment. AIF OPPOSES bills or regulations that prohibit well stimulation techniques or hydraulic fracturing and that limit technological advances.
AIF SUPPORTS the building of the Keystone XL, Dakota Access, Sabal Trail and future pipelines that provide safe, cost-effective energy infrastructure across the country. Further, AIF SUPPORTS any legislation that facilitates environmentally responsible construction of natural gas and liquid fuel pipelines to enhance energy reliability and affordability for Floridians. Completion of the Keystone XL pipeline will bring five million additional barrels per day to Gulf Coast ASK refineries—the same facilities that refine the gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel powering Florida’s economy today. In addition, construction of clean-burning natural gas and electricity generating facilities necessitates construction of pipelines to facilitate the safest and most environmentally responsible transport of increased supplies of natural gas to meet the future demand.
AIF SUPPORTS the repeal of 1970’s policies banning the export of domestically produced crude oil. More than a dozen studies—conducted by experts ranging from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and Government Accountability Office (GAO) to Columbia University and Harvard Business School—project that lifting the ‘70s-era ban will generate significant economic and security benefits for American families. As the world’s leading oil and natural gas producer, energy should be a key tool in America’s diplomatic arsenal. Adding more American energy to world markets will further stabilize global supply, counterbalance disruptions and reduce the power that foreign suppliers have over our allies.
Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) data indicates Florida’s ambient air quality has improved dramatically over the past two decades. Ozone and fine particulate matter, two of the major air quality indexes monitored by the FDEP and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), have been comfortably within limits of the already tight standards. The downward trends of these two indices are expected to continue as companies adopt new technologies that enhance efficiency while reducing emissions. AIF OPPOSES proposals by the U.S. EPA for additional reductions in the National Ambient Air Quality Standards ozone levels and further reductions in methane emissions. These proposals will add unnecessary costs to industry while offering nominal health benefits.
Floridians should have timely information when pollution
threatens drinking water. To avoid confusion and
misinterpretation of the message, any necessary communications
to Floridians about these threats requires a single
source in a consistently structured message. AIF SUPPORTS any legislation or rule that encompasses timely
notification by emitters of pollution with the FDEP and the subsequent evaluation and dissemination of the threat level by the FDEP through appropriate communication channels to affected Floridians. AIF OPPOSES legislation which requires businesses to report incidents directly to the media.
Hydraulic fracturing has provided new domestic supplies
of natural gas and an alternative to diesel and gasoline
for fleet transportation fuel. AIF SUPPORTS the
continued funding of the Natural Gas Fuel Fleet Vehicle Rebate Program that has been successful in converting
fleets to natural gas while ensuring the State Transportation
Trust Fund remains funded at adequate levels for road
construction and maintenance. Emphasis should be placed
on continued support for policies leading to the further
success of natural gas as an alternative fuel—an alternative that does not require mandates for success. AIF also SUPPORTS the continued expansion of natural gas fleets including ships and barges, as well as the continued expansion of infrastructure and funding of electric vehicles, both for public and private use.
AIF SUPPORTS efforts to revisit clean coal technology as a source for reliable, diverse and reasonably priced energy. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, “Clean Coal Technologies—the products of research and development conducted over the past 20 years—have resulted in more than 20 new, lower-cost, more efficient and environmentally compatible technologies for electric utilities, steel mills, cement plants and other industries.” The state and nation should not pass up opportunities to contribute to advancing the knowledge and science of using America’s more abundant energy source in an environmentally acceptable way.
AIF SUPPORTS seismic testing in the Atlantic Ocean and Eastern Gulf of Mexico to ascertain the volume and location of future sources of oil and natural gas. AIF SUPPORTS the passage of legislation that establishes a process by which the State of Florida can begin considering proposals for safe, offshore drilling in federal and state waters. Florida’s economic recovery is heavily dependent on reasonably priced and reliable sources of petroleum. Florida typically consumes more than 27 million gallons of gasoline and diesel each day for transportation and generates more than half its electricity from clean burning natural gas. According to federal statistics, the U.S. federal offshore areas hold the equivalent of three times the oil resources of Canada and Mexico combined and almost six times their natural gas resources. Allowing safe and environmentally sensitive access to these resources in state and federal waters, while at the same time ensuring our oceanic military ranges and areas remain intact, is in our national interest as a means of improving energy security, diversifying supply and enhancing economic development. Additionally, it can also serve as an important and much-needed method for generating new revenues and jobs for Florida.
AIF SUPPORTS energy policy allowing for the research, development, and distribution of alternative energy fuels without mandates by government that lead to market distortion, uncertainty, and upward price pressures. Domestically produced alternative fuels are key elements to America’s future energy security; however, state and federal mandates, such as the federal 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA), have distorted transportation fuel markets and annually introduce fuel uncertainty. AIF SUPPORTS investment in university research and development into promising renewable and clean energy technologies. AIF also SUPPORTS memorials repealing alternative fuel mandates (EISA).
AIF SUPPORTS legislation that will enable interested electric utilities to develop renewable energy resources using the technology (solar, wind, biomass, battery, etc.) and scale (large, medium, small) that makes the most sense for those electric utilities and their customers. This would allow both the electric utilities and other suppliers in the renewable sector to make market-based decisions to deploy renewable and distributed energy resources to meet customer needs in a cost-effective manner.