Heritage Work Leads to Two Wins on Energy Policy


In Heritage Impact

Nicolas Loris

Nicolas Loris

The House of Representatives rejected a big-government energy bill this week and approved an important reform to the Department of Energy’s national laboratories. Both conservative victories were inspired by Heritage Foundation research.

Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) had proposed legislation to “create a number of taxpayer-supported government programs to extract and recycle domestic rare earth minerals,” Heritage expert Nicolas Loris explains. A better solution than subsidies, Loris argues, would be to limit government restrictions on production and trade.

Thanks in part to Loris’ work to draw public attention to this proposal, and a key-vote against the bill by Heritage Action for America, Swalwell’s bill failed in the House.

Meanwhile, House lawmakers approved a bill from Rep. Randy Hultgren (R-IL) that would pilot important reforms to the DOE’s national laboratories. Heritage experts have long been urging Congress to make these sorts of reforms (link in PDF) to enable the private sector to take advantage of basic research at these labs.

This is another example of how Heritage uses policy research and communications, as well as our partnership with the grassroots activists at Heritage Action, to win conservative victories.

Heritage Led the Charge that Stopped EPA Overreach


In Heritage Impact

This is a big win for conservatives.

Earlier this month, the Environmental Protection Agency tried to quietly put in place a regulation allowing the agency to garnish workers’ wages without first obtaining a court order. This was bad enough. But the EPA also tried to enact this rule without first going through the usual comment and review procedures.

Yesterday, the EPA withdrew the rule. And The Heritage Foundation played a big role in this victory.

Here’s how it happened, as Heritage President Jim DeMint explained in an e-mail to supporters: Continue Reading »

A Firsthand Account of What’s Going on at the Border with Mexico


In Heritage Work

The federal government protects the Southern Yellow Bat at the border with Mexico. (Photo: Wikimedia)

Keeping the border secure is essential to protecting America and its citizens. So why is it so difficult?

The Heritage Foundation’s Genevieve Wood recent visited to McAllen, Texas, on the border with Mexico, to witness the problems first hand.

One problem is that the federal government is not doing enough to halt the recent influx of illegal immigrants, according to border control officers. Texas has decided to take matters into its own hands by allotting more resources to catch the illegal crossers.

But the problems don’t stop there.

Many border areas in South Texas are part of national wildlife refuge areas, and many illegal immigrants cross the border there. These areas — meant to protect small mammals like bats and even beetles “essential for plant pollination” – severely limit border agents’ ability to even patrol the area for human traffickers and drug smugglers.

In fact, because the land spanning the Rio Grande is protected, border patrol cars are not allowed to leave designated dirt roads. Instead, agents are told to go after the drug smugglers on foot or to follow the road to try and catch up.

Do you think the federal government should protect animals like the Yellow Southern Bat instead of protecting the border?

Heritage’s Nick Loris Helps Kick Off New NBC Series


In Heritage Impact

Earlier this month, NBC’s “Meet the Press” launched #MakeTheCase, a new web series featuring debates on key policy issues. So where do they turn to get the series off to a strong start? The Heritage Foundation.

The first video in the series features Heritage’s Nick Loris going head-to-head against the Sierra Club’s Michael Brune on the Keystone XL pipeline.

Watch the video above and then tell us in the comments, do you think we should build the Keystone XL pipeline?

Why America Should Lift the Ban on Crude Oil Exports

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In Heritage Work

American oil production has increased dramatically in recent years, yet the federal government maintains a ban on the export of crude oil. Arguing that this policy is economically harmful, Heritage’s Nicolas Loris urges Congress to lift the export ban.

Expanding market opportunities will not just benefit oil companies. By opening the door to establish more efficient global oil markets, all Americans will reap the benefits of lower prices and a stronger economy. Free trade is one of the principal drivers of improving standards of living both in the United States and abroad, and removing unnecessary restrictions on oil exports will help power that growth.

Do you think we should expand the market for American oil?

How Uncle Sam Is Limiting Domestic Energy Production


In Heritage Work

American oil production has skyrocketed over the past seven years, but production could be even higher, according to a new report by Heritage Foundation expert Nicolas Loris. Production has actually fallen on federal lands, where red tape limits exploration and drilling.

Loris recommends streamlining environmental reviews and allowing states to make more decisions about energy development.

Do you think more land should be opened to oil exploration?

The Facts About the EPA’s Questionable Climate Regulations


In Heritage Work

After the cap-and-trade energy scheme failed in Congress, President Obama said he’d push for other ways to control Americans’ energy use. “Cap and trade was just one way of skinning the cat,” he said at a press conference. “It was not the only way.”

So the EPA designated carbon dioxide, a naturally occurring compound and necessary component to life on Earth, as a pollutant.

Predictably, it has proven more difficult for the EPA to determine how to regulate CO2 than for it to determine whether it should be regulated. A new report by Heritage’s Center for Data Analysis, for example, finds that the models the EPA used as the basis for its regulation “are fundamentally unsound as a basis for justifying significant regulations of the American economy.”

Do you think the EPA should go back to the drawing board?

How Freeing the Energy Market Can Help Free Ukraine


In Heritage Work

To help free Ukraine, the United States should free its energy markets, Heritage Foundation experts Nicolas Loris and Jack Spencer argue in a new report.

This policy, which wouldn’t cost taxpayers anything, would free Western Europe from dependence on Russian energy. Not only that, it would boost the economy here at home.

Russia has held the West hostage through its control of natural gas flowing into Europe. This effectively limits these countries’ ability to act in Ukraine.

Loris and Spencer identify three specific reforms that would end Russia’s monopoly of Europe’s energy market and limit Russia’s ability to use energy as a weapon: Continue Reading »

How to Get a Real All-of-the-Above Energy Policy


In Heritage Work

A few years ago, President Obama announced what he called an “all-of-the-above” energy strategy. In this year’s State of the Union address, he proclaimed it was working.

But the energy sector’s success comes in spite of the administration’s policies, not because of them, Heritage Foundation expert Nicolas Loris argues: Continue Reading »

Why Is the Obama Administration Cracking Down on Coal?

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In Heritage Work

Monty Rakusen/ZUMAPRESS/Newscom

By 2017, coal may replace oil as the world’s top energy source. But while coal production is going up around the globe, the Obama administration seems focused on limiting the domestic coal industry by imposing burdensome and costly regulations.

Heritage Foundation expert Nicolas Loris explains:

Although coal-fired power plants generate over 40 percent of America’s electricity, the coal industry—and therefore American energy consumers—is increasingly under attack from both proposed and implemented federal regulations on new power plants, existing power plants, and mining operations.

When coal’s decline is driven by market forces, such as from the extraction and supply of cheap natural gas from shale formations, consumers and the economy at large are made better off. But when politicians unnecessarily choke coal supplies through excessive regulations devoid of environmental benefit, the result is less competition, higher prices, and job destruction.

The free market should determine the country’s energy source of choice, Loris argues, not bureaucrats in the federal government. While governments all over the world have figured that out, Washington continues to make American coal production more expensive and less competitive on the global market.

Do you think Lawmakers should be increasing regulations on the coal industry?

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