The Top 10 Energy Stories Of 2017

As 2017 comes to a close, it’s time to review the top energy stories of the year. There are several stories that could compete for the year’s top spot, but this year I have decided to list the stories roughly in the order they occurred during the year. Thus, the recent tax reform bill, which would be the top energy story on some lists, is near the end.

Here are the stories that shaped the year in energy.

Executive Orders on Pipelines

Just after he was sworn in last January, President Trump signed executive orders on two stalled pipeline projects. One was the Keystone XL Pipeline rejected by his predecessor. Trump asked TransCanada, the pipeline’s backer, to reapply for the permit. Shortly after, the company did just that, and the permit was approved.

The other project backed by Trump was the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL). The $3.8 billion project had been halted by President Barack Obama following months of protests. Trump instructed the Secretary of the Army to cut through the red tape that had stalled the project. That directive was followed, the project was restarted, and oil began to flow through the pipeline in May.

Repeal of the Clean Power Plan

In March, Donald Trump signed an executive order that instructed EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt to begin the process of dismantling the Clean Power Plan (CPP). The CPP was first proposed by the Obama administration in 2014 and would have required states to cut carbon dioxide emissions from existing coal- and gas-fired power plants, targeting an emissions reduction of 30% below 2005 levels by 2030.

An Exodus from the Oil Sands

Citing high costs and better opportunities in U.S. shale oil, oil majors like Statoil, Shell, and ConocoPhillips sold off $24 billion in assets in Canada’s oil sands sector. Other majors, like Total, have indicated they will follow suit.

U.S. Exit from Paris Climate Agreement

In June, President Trump continued to undo Obama’s environmental legacy with the announcement that the U.S. will pull out of the Paris Accord on climate change. Opponents of the agreement cited the costs to the U.S. economy. Trump stated that the agreement is unfair to the U.S. and that he hoped to negotiate a better agreement. The agreement was deemed as harmful to the coal industry in particular, which President Trump had promised to revive.

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