SHALE Magazine Jan/Feb 2019

Page 50


Why Shale Companies Shouldn’t Sit Out the War on Coal By: Bette Grande

First, they came for the coal industry, and I did not speak out — Because I was not in the coal industry.



by the support some members of the natural gas industry are giving to the carbon tax proposals. These actions, quietly and not-so-quietly, echo the words of Niemöller, and while the natural gas industry can see some short-term benefit by supporting carbon tax efforts, in the long term they are simply fashioning their own noose. Large multi-national energy companies have touted themselves as “green” for years, investing in renewables and causes unrelated to their core business. Their reward? Lawsuits and bad publicity. Independent energy companies should avoid this game; the rules are not in their favor and the deck is stacked against them. Even the success of the shale revolution sends mixed messages. While it is true that the shale

A carbon tax will directly impact the Bakken and other tightoil plays



he battle over carbon will play a significant role in the long-term development of the tight oil plays in the United States. There is yet another push for a carbon tax underway in Washington, D.C. and in some states. Congressman Ted Deutch (D-Fla.) is leading the way in the House of Representatives with Reps. Francis Rooney (RFla.), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.), John Delaney (DMd.), and Charlie Crist (D-Fla.) as co-sponsors. The Deutch proposal, officially “The Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act,” would establish a carbon tax of $15 per ton of carbon dioxide equivalent in 2019, set to increase by $10 every year thereafter. The tax would be imposed mostly at the midstream level on the use, sale or transfer for use of “Covered Fuels,” such as crude oil, natural gas, coal and derived products. Shale operators are focused on continuing advancements in drilling, recovery and the infrastructure constraints that directly affect the bottom line. But they would be wise to keep an eye on the anti-carbon movement. The current administration has cut regulations that hampered energy development and, early in December, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that it will revise an Obama-era rule on carbon capture and sequestration. While this rule is aimed at the coal industry, oil and gas producers should support the move. The reduction of regulations is welcomed by the energy industry, but the continuing push for a carbon tax should remind the industry to be engaged, vigilant and united. Pro-energy policymakers in Washington, and around the country, are increasingly frustrated

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