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Domestic Fossil Fuels Going Overseas

Energy
Domestic Fossil Fuels Going Overseas

The Wilderness Society

An increasing amount of domestically produced fossil fuels are being exported for use overseas rather than staying in the U.S., according to a new report from The Wilderness Society. The report, released during a week when oil companies announced huge profits, calls on the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, or “supercommittee," to end the billions in subsidies the oil and gas industry gets from U.S. taxpayers every year.

“Despite calls for energy independence from Congress and the campaign trail, it is clear that the oil and gas industry is more concerned with profits,” said Dave Alberswerth, senior policy advisor for The Wilderness Society. “While American families are struggling to make ends meet, these companies are enjoying multi-billion dollar profits every quarter by shipping American energy resources overseas.”

The report shows that more than 150 million barrels of gasoline are actually exported from the U.S. every year, despite high gas prices domestically. Coal companies also exported more than 26 million short tons of coal to overseas markets in just the first quarter of 2011.

As calls continue for increased domestic drilling, more opportunities for exporting American energy resources are becoming available. The Department of Energy has already approved two new liquefied natural gas terminals to further increase exports overseas.

The report calls for more emphasis on energy sources that cannot be exported, such as renewable energy sources like wind and solar. In addition, the report also calls for increased energy efficiency measures that both cut down on consumer utility bills but also promote job growth.

Read the report here.

For more information, click here.

A plume of smoke from wildfires burning in the Angeles National Forest is seen from downtown Los Angeles on Aug. 29, 2009 in Los Angeles, California. Kevork Djansezian / Getty Images

California is bracing for rare January wildfires this week amid damaging Santa Ana winds coupled with unusually hot and dry winter weather.

High winds, gusting up to 80- to 90 miles per hour in some parts of the state, are expected to last through Wednesday evening. Nearly the entire state has been in a drought for months, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor, which, alongside summerlike temperatures, has left vegetation dry and flammable.

Utilities Southern California Edison and PG&E, which serves the central and northern portions of the state, warned it may preemptively shut off power to hundreds of thousands of customers to reduce the risk of electrical fires sparked by trees and branches falling on live power lines. The rare January fire conditions come on the heels of the worst wildfire season ever recorded in California, as climate change exacerbates the factors causing fires to be more frequent and severe.

California is also experiencing the most severe surge of COVID-19 cases since the beginning of the pandemic, with hospitals and ICUs over capacity and a stay-at-home order in place. Wildfire smoke can increase the risk of adverse health effects due to COVID, and evacuations forcing people to crowd into shelters could further spread the virus.

As reported by AccuWeather:

In the atmosphere, air flows from high to low pressure. The setup into Wednesday is like having two giant atmospheric fans working as a team with one pulling and the other pushing the air in the same direction.
Normally, mountains to the north and east of Los Angeles would protect the downtown which sits in a basin. However, with the assistance of the offshore storm, there will be areas of gusty winds even in the L.A. Basin. The winds may get strong enough in parts of the basin to break tree limbs and lead to sporadic power outages and sparks that could ignite fires.
"Typically, Santa Ana winds stay out of downtown Los Angeles and the L.A. Basin, but this time, conditions may set up just right to bring 30- to 40-mph wind gusts even in those typically calm condition areas," said AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Mike Doll.

For a deeper dive:

AP, LA Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Washington Post, Weather Channel, AccuWeather, New York Times, Slideshow: New York Times; Climate Signals Background: Wildfires, 2020 Western wildfire season

For more climate change and clean energy news, you can follow Climate Nexus on Twitter and Facebook, sign up for daily Hot News, and visit their news site, Nexus Media News.

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