US ACC launches campaign for national energy policy

07 February 2012 19:47  [Source: ICIS news]

WASHINGTON (ICIS)--The American Chemistry Council (ACC) on Tuesday launched a new advocacy campaign to build public and policymaker support for a national energy policy that the council said could drive a new renaissance in US manufacturing.

ACC president Cal Dooley told a press conference that “In order for our economy to grow and for US industries to innovate and compete globally, and for businesses to create new jobs, a national energy strategy is critical”.

The council’s campaign, called “From Chemistry to Energy”, urges an “all of the above” US federal energy policy that includes development of conventional, fossil-based energy resources such as coal, oil and natural gas but renewable and alternative sources as well, such as biofuels, solar and wind power.

The campaign also advocates for improvements in commercial and residential energy efficiencies and encourages increased use of “energy recovery” practices that, for example, use recycled plastic wastes as a fuel to generate electric power.

Dooley said that plastic waste has an energy component that is 25% higher than coal, and that putting plastic in landfills is a waste of valuable fuel.

“It’s ironic that we dig coal out of the ground, but we’re burying plastic,” he said.

Dooley urged US policymakers to allow industry to take full advantage of newly abundant natural gas resources in shale plays across the country, noting that the development of shale gas has reversed the fortunes of the US chemicals industry.

“Shale gas has given us the opportunity for a new golden age for the US chemicals industry,” he said, noting that US petrochemical producers collectively are planning as much as $16bn (€12bn) in new capital investments over the next three years to take advantage of the new feedstock advantage in shale gas.

He argued that with the right energy policies out of Congress and the federal government, “we can replicate the chemical industry’s experience and create a renaissance in US manufacturing as a whole”.

Dooley said that an “all of the above” energy policy could sustain US economic security going forward.

Asked if he thought the administration of President Barack Obama was hostile to fossil-based fuels and energy, Dooley said he was encouraged by Obama’s recent state of the union speech in which he voiced support for natural gas and an all-in energy future.

But Dooley said he was concerned about the administration’s recent decision to reject the long-pending Keystone XL pipeline project that would have brought more Canadian oil to US refiners, and moves by the administration to regulate hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”), which is essential to shale gas production.

“We’re not hostile to the president,” Dooley said, “but we will be watching closely to see if the administration’s actions are consistent with the policy he stated in his speech.”

($1 = €0.76)

Paul Hodges studies key influences shaping the chemical industry in Chemicals and the Economy

By: Joe Kamalick
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