Posted July 8, 2011
The administration has a big jobs problem, as June's unemployment numbers show. It also has a big energy problem - as in the energy gap between what powers America now and in the foreseeable future (oil and natural gas) and the more distant future when other technologies will be workable, affordable and national in scale. The good news: Solving the energy problem would help big-time with jobs. Need a bonus? The right energy policies also would help with the other big pain in the president's neck: the deficit.
First, get the right energy policies. During Wednesday's Twitter town hall the president made clear - despite his repeated calls for increased domestic oil production - his goal is reducing U.S. dependency on oil. Not just foreign oil. All oil. Yet, in the same breath he acknowledged the reality in Energy Information Administration figures showing oil and natural gas will supply more than half of the energy we use on into 2035:
"I'd like to see robust legislation in Congress that actually took some steps to reduce oil dependency. We're not going to be able to replace oil overnight. Even if we are going full-throttle on clean energy solutions like solar and wind and biodiesel, we're going to need oil for some time."
Indeed, Dr. Arun Majumdar, the administration's renewables chief, acknowledged last week the new technologies his boss is talking about are years, maybe decades, away: "The technologies that are required to make us secure ... all of them do not quite exist today."
So ... why not keep working on these new technologies while also developing more of the energy that's proven and at hand:
- Access oil reserves in Alaska, the Eastern Gulf of Mexico and off the Atlantic and Pacific coasts, which hold more than 116 billion barrels, according to government estimates.
- End the snail's pace of deepwater well permitting in the Gulf (following last year's drilling moratorium), which EIA projects will cause overall production there to be down 20 percent from 2010 in 2012.
- Approve the Keystone XL pipeline that will bring up to 830,000 barrels of oil a day from Canada's oil sands region to U.S. refiners.
These policies are part of a strategic plan in which 92 percent of America's liquid fuel needs could be supplied from domestic sources and from Canada by 2030. Jobs and deficit reduction? These policy choices, increasing access to oil and natural gas, will add 530,000 jobs and $194 billion in government revenue from 2011 to 2025.
Access = energy security, job creation and deficit reduction. Less than 140 characters. Is the White House still taking Tweets?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Mark Green joined API after a career in newspaper journalism, including 16 years as national editorial writer for The Oklahoman in the paper’s Washington bureau. Mark also was a reporter, copy editor and sports editor. He earned his journalism degree from the University of Oklahoma and master’s in journalism and public affairs from American University. He and his wife Pamela live in Occoquan, Va., where they enjoy their four grandchildren.