Liquid Fuels

NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that The Council of State Governments supports the establishment of state and federal public policies that improve the nation’s energy security and promote energy independence and economic security.


America runs on oil and like it or not, the nation will continue to do so well into the future. While technological and cultural shifts impacting U.S. dependence on oil are steadily gaining ground, the country consumes more than 19 million barrels of oil each day with half coming from imports; Canada and Mexico are two of the U.S.'s largest energy partners. To boost energy security, create jobs and lower the price at the pump for consumers, the U.S. must work with its continental neighbors to maximize North American oil production. This session explored current and future partnerships across the Northern and Southern borders and new ways the three countries are cooperating to ensure a more secure and reliable resource future.

Like many states, Colorado has made smart use of technology to deliver services more efficiently and affordably.  The Colorado Oil and Gas Commission’s eForm program is just one example. The program, one of eight national winners of The Council of State Governments’ Innovations Awards, has helped reduce the average time it takes to get a permit for drilling a well from 45 days to 30 days.

The US State Dept. has green-lighted the controversial Keystone XL pipeline which will connect oil sands regions in Canada to refineries in the United States. Controversy swirled around the pipelines routing which will take it across the Great Plains to oil facilities in Oklahoma and the Gulf Coast. The pipeline project is expected to create 20,000 construction jobs as well as 100,000 indirect jobs and is seen as a boost to North American energy production and security. At its peak, the project is expected to raise Canada’s oil exports by 700,000 barrels a day - equal to the production of Malaysia. The new pipeline is expected to be operational by 2013.

More oil and gas come to the United States from Canada than from any other country in the world. The U.S. is a net energy importer in terms of oil and gas trade with Canada. Canada’s energy exports to the United States were valued at $76 billion in 2009, while U.S. exports to Canada were valued at $11.5 billion.

With gas prices rapidly approaching $4 a gallon across much of the country and unrest gripping large portions of the Middle East, states and the federal government are facing a series of pressing energy challenges. While much attention is frequently given to U.S. dependence on foreign oil, questions about rural energy production and access to markets are no less pressing in large portions of the country. 

The U.S. government manages nearly 30 percent of the country's total territory. Despite the fact that the energy industry leased more than 45 million acres of onshore federal lands in 2009, a new report shows that the industry is not using 21.6 million acres of land under lease for oil production or exploration. The Obama administration is now considering whether millions of acres of federal land in the West should be protected as wild lands. But some state officials believe cuts in royalties from mineral development and delays in the permitting process for public lands that could result from the new protections could have a significant negative economic impact for their states.

Enhanced oil recovery is a decades-old, proven commercial activity already widely practiced in the Permian Basin of Texas, the U.S. Gulf Coast and elsewhere. But could EOR be more widely employed in the Midwest, and ultimately become a central part of this region’s energy policy?

Minnesota state agencies are on pace to purchase close to 1 million gallons of E85 in 2010, meaning nearly one-fifth of the retail fuel bought by the agencies is now a blend of 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline.

The federal government’s moratorium on deepwater offshore drilling—which was expected to continue through November 30th in order for the government to devise new safety regulations and environmental response measures—has faced a stumbling block in court today as the federal judge overseeing the case permitted the challenge to proceed.