Posted April 21, 2016
U.S. Senate passage of energy legislation is an important step forward in the effort to sustain and grow a U.S. energy revolution that’s making America more energy secure, benefiting consumers and helping the environment.
For the first time since the energy renaissance materialized, both houses of Congress have passed bipartisan, comprehensive energy-assisting legislation. The initiatives signal a commitment to matching energy policy with the new U.S. energy reality, one in which the United States is the world’s leading producer of oil and natural gas. They also suggest lawmakers recognize that, on a bipartisan basis, voting Americans support more domestic energy development – as well as candidates who do the same.
Louis Finkel, API executive vice president, talked about the advancing legislation and the opportunities that are being provided by American energy during a conference call with reporters:
“It’s time to modernize energy policy to match our new energy reality. The United States is now an energy superpower, leading the world in oil and natural gas production. … With the right energy strategy, we can achieve additional economic benefits, including the creation of more well-paying jobs, environmental progress and national security advantages.”
These benefits include surging oil and natural gas production here at home that has reduced imports, created trade opportunities, helped save Americans about $500 a year at the pump and boosted annual household disposable income by $1,200. The energy revolution also helped the United States lead the world in reducing carbon emissions, which have fallen to near 20-year lows.
Senate legislation streamlines the natural gas export permit application process, ensures more efficient permitting of natural gas pipeline projects and more. These are critically important. Late last year the U.S. resumed crude oil exports. Exporting natural gas will have economic benefits at home while providing more supply choices for U.S. allies overseas. Building more domestic energy Infrastructure is vital to distributing energy and economic benefits across the country. Finkel:
“A concerted effort to improve U.S. energy infrastructure is essential in order to realize our true energy potential and provide consumers and businesses with the energy they need. Self-imposed natural gas supply limitations due to pipeline constraints can be as costly as they are unnecessary.”
As important, this legislation underscores the “U.S. Model” – the increased use of clean-burning, domestic natural gas that’s playing a leading role in energy and economic expansion at the same time carbon emissions are falling. The model is replicable, and Finkel said countries seeking ways to comply with last fall’s Paris climate agreement should consider it.
Legislation moving through Congress represents a bipartisan opportunity to embrace and enhance the U.S. Model. As Finkel said, lawmakers need to put the interests of Americans first by setting aside tendencies to pursue politics at the expense of sound policy. Finkel:
“The past decade demonstrates we can lead the world in oil and natural gas production, cut carbon emissions more than any other nation and create jobs – all through free market innovation. … We’ve transitioned from an era of energy scarcity to an era of energy abundance, and the new challenge is to keep moving forward, not backward. Now is the time to build our energy infrastructure, expand exports and lock in the economic and geopolitical opportunities that our energy revolution has created.”
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.