The People of America's Oil and Natural Gas Indusry

Taking Action on Energy

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted June 26, 2014

It’s good to see the U.S. House of Representatives advancing a true all-of-the-above energy strategy with legislation that would help increase access to domestic reserves, promote common-sense regulation and reasonable permitting policies, foster development of key energy infrastructure and capitalize on America’s energy superpower status.

The House’s “Energy Week” tally includes bills that would:

  • Require the administration to move forward with new energy development on federal lands, offshore and onshore, by holding new lease sales, eliminating unnecessary permitting delays and by setting clear rules for shale development
  • Modernize and reform the approval process for cross-border pipeline projects
  • Fast-track liquefied natural gas (LNG) export projects

All are elements in a working, all-of-the-above approach to energy. Combined with energy from coal, nuclear and renewables, increased development of American oil and natural gas and associated infrastructure will keep our economy and country running – today and tomorrow.

Legislation addressing declining production on federal lands is integral to this approach. Erik Milito, API upstream group director, points to a Congressional Research Service analysis that found crude oil and natural gas production on non-federal lands rose from 2009-2013, by 61 percent and 33 percent, respectively. But production on federal lands of crude oil and natural gas was down 6 percent and 28 percent, respectively, over the same period. Of the offshore acreage under federal control, 87 percent remains off limits to development. In other words, the growth in U.S. oil and natural gas production, which is driving our current energy revolution, is occurring with Uncle Sam as a virtual spectator. Milito:

“An energy renaissance on state and private lands has created hundreds of thousands of jobs and helped consumers save on energy. But due to obstacles imposed by the federal government, production from federal lands has significantly lagged behind the rest of the country. … Reducing obstacles to oil and natural gas production on federal lands and waters could kick our economy into high gear, create jobs across the country and generate billions of dollars in revenue for the government.”

This also is seen in a recent U.S. Energy Information Administration report on oil and natural gas sales from federal lands, which are in decline.

A big reason is federal policies that have slowed leasing while making the permitting process longer and more uncertain. The House legislation would require lease sales, establish fair sharing of offshore revenue, encourage timely permitting once a lease is in hand and more.

Earlier in the week the House passed a bipartisan bill that would revamp the permitting process for energy infrastructure that crosses the U.S. borders with Canada and Mexico, including pipelines. The current system is broken, illustrated by Washington’s seemingly endless review of the Keystone XL pipeline, even though project support among Americans is almost universal.

The other key piece of energy legislation clearing the House this week would expedite approval of more than 20 LNG export permits now pending with the Energy Department. This process, too, is unnecessarily rife with delay and uncertainty and threatens to hinder U.S. efforts to harness our position as the world’s No. 1 natural gas producer in the growing global LNG export market. Studies show exporting LNG would create jobs and generate broad economic growth in this country.    

Developing our energy wealth, building needed infrastructure and exporting energy will make the United States stronger here at home and in the world. Choosing energy means increased investment and opportunity here at home. For example, a new report this week found that construction of the $2.3 billion southern portion of the Keystone XL project known as the Gulf Coast Extension, linking the oil hub in Cushing, Okla., and refineries in Texas, boosted economic activity in those states by $2.1 billion and $3.6 billion, respectively.

Sound energy strategies help frame wise policy decisions that lead to action. The House this week advanced legislation supporting actions that would increase domestic oil and natural gas development, which is the foundation of U.S. energy security now and into the future.

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.