Posted July 25, 2016
U.S. House Democrats have developed a policy agenda for a stronger, more secure America. The product of months of polling and input from focus groups, the plan includes items pertaining to Homeland security and combatting terrorism but also pledges to move the economy forward with infrastructure investments, as well as measures designed to benefit individual Americans. U.S. Rep. Steve Israel of New York, who serves as the caucus’ policy and communications chairman, told Politico:
“The dominant theme in this environment is security. Military security, first and foremost, but also people are concerned about the security of their jobs, paychecks and security of their own voice in this democracy. We’re tying those three things together in one disciplined message.”
These certainly are valid issues that help form the basis for a worthwhile policy discussion. When we think of U.S. security and jobs and enabling individuals in society, we’re drawn to energy’s significant role. Without energy security it’s difficult to imagine an America that’s stronger and safer in today’s world. It’s hard to craft a scenario for a stronger economy that’s producing good jobs without secure energy sources. Energy also is a key factor in increasing individual prosperity and opportunity.
Thus, you see an overwhelming majority, strongly bipartisan, that supports a national energy policy that ensures a secure supply of abundant, affordable energy, produced in an environmentally responsible way:
API President and CEO Jack Gerard earlier this year:
“There are few other public policy areas where strong bipartisan majorities agree on a path forward. What this makes clear is that the American people want and expect a national energy policy that protects the gains we’ve made in energy security, abundance and global leadership. That’s why during this election season and beyond we are promoting our candidate, energy, which a majority of Americans clearly support.”
Fundamentally, U.S. energy security hinges on domestic production of oil and natural gas – which provided 67 percent of the energy Americans used in 2015 and are projected by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) to supply 68 percent of the energy we use in 2040. The more energy the United States produces, the greater our security in the world and the greater the energy benefits that can be realized here at home.
Those benefits include energy cost savings, with affordable natural gas the key reason the average U.S. household saved almost $750 on an annual basis since 2008, according to EIA. Part of that is savings at the gasoline pump, with AAA reporting that lower prices allowed each licensed U.S. driver to save an average of more than $550 in 2015 compared to 2014.
This security, these benefits, stem from the fact the U.S. leads the world in oil and natural gas production. This world energy leadership is the result of an American energy renaissance, built on safe, modern hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling. No fracking, no upswing in U.S. oil and gas production. Without fracking, we would not see surging natural gas production that’s primarily responsible for the U.S. leading the world in reducing carbon emissions.
We can make America’s future more secure and more prosperous, collectively and individually, by sustaining and growing the energy renaissance – with greater access to domestic oil and natural gas reserves, which 84 percent of Americans see as linked to strengthening America’s energy security, and with reasonable regulation and oversight frameworks that facilitate safe and responsible energy development.
America is stronger – and its citizens are safer – because of increases in domestic energy production. We’re advancing climate goals thanks to wider use of abundant natural gas. It’s a proven model, one that the American people support. With the right leadership and policy choices going forward, this is an energy-secure future that to a great degree can be under our control. Gerard:
“I continue to believe and hope that all of us ultimately have the same goal: to leave our community, our nation and our world better than we found it for the next generation. … They deserve nothing less than our collective best efforts to that end, and they are counting on us to put into place realistic energy policies that enhance our nation’s energy security and national security, promote job creation and responsible environmental stewardship, economic growth, and status as a global energy leader.”
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.