The People of America's Oil and Natural Gas Indusry

On Energy, the American People’s Bidding

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted August 24, 2012

We believe Americans are ready for grown-up discussion of our country’s future course on energy – thus the Vote 4 Energy campaign to make energy a vote-deciding issue in this fall’s elections. So it’s disappointing when opponents of reasonable proposals to bring more of our country’s ample oil and natural gas resources online – creating jobs, generating more revenue for governments and strengthening America’s energy future – roll out threadbare talking points that are detached from energy reality and dismissive of the opinions of a strong majority of U.S. voters.

This week President Obama’s deputy campaign manager rejected a set of energy proposals – including increasing domestic oil and gas production, clearing the federal permitting process of unnecessary impediments and giving states the regulatory/oversight lead – as “simply doing the bidding of Big Oil.” A goal to see the United States get all of its oil from North American sources within the next decade was called “empty rhetoric.”

The bidding of “Big Oil?” Actually, a number of these energy proposals are supported by the vast majority of Americans. In a recent poll of registered voters, 71 percent said they support increased access to domestic oil and natural gas resources. Nine in 10 of those surveyed said they believe that access could lead to more U.S. jobs. Americans favor pro-energy development proposals, not by a little, but by a wide margin. Energy proposals like these, in fact, are responsive to the views of regular Americans. 

As for reaching a point where 100 percent of the United States’ liquid fuel needs are met domestically and from Canada, it’s astonishing to hear such scorn for a goal sought by administrations of both political parties for nearly 40 years.

It’s becoming clearer the idea is neither empty nor far-fetched, as The Washington Post’s Brad Plumer noted this week. The fact is we’re seeing the foundation for such a reality, with the shale revolution and dramatic increases in domestic natural gas and oil production. The Energy Information Administration reports that U.S. oil imports this year will shrink to 42 percent – their lowest level in two decades – because of surging production in North Dakota and Texas. Imagine where that number might be if we:

  • Opened the 87 percent of our outer continental shelf acreage that’s closed to energy development by federal policy;
  • Opened all of the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska for energy development (its intended purpose);
  • Opened a sliver of the mammoth Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for development;
  • Built the full Keystone XL pipeline to bring more oil from Canada.

No question, all would work toward greater U.S. energy self-sufficiency.

We know the heat of a political campaign tends to incubate tough-sounding rhetoric. Yet, the president often says he’s for more domestic oil and natural gas production. Proposals like those offered this week merely seek to make good on that goal – while bringing policy in line with the views of a vast majority of Americans.

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.