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America Needs Energy Policy that Values Innovation Over Regulation
Edward Cross, President
Kansas Independent Oil & Gas Association
The next generation of Americans will be challenged to expand and maintain our nation’s energy abundance and global energy leadership. Currently, America’s oil and natural gas industry is meeting record consumer demand and leading the world in production, all while driving emissions to their lowest level in nearly seven decades.
Today, oil and natural gas supply nearly 65% of all U.S. energy. Oil supplies 97% of U.S. transport needs and natural gas supplies 34% of U.S. electricity. Oil and natural gas support over 10.3 million jobs in the U.S. including over 118,000 Kansas jobs. In addition, the latest EPA data shows total U.S. CO2 emissions decreased nearly 14%, while methane emissions were reduced by 4% since 2005. Meanwhile, U.S. oil and natural gas production increased more than 80% and 51% respectively. The oil and natural gas industry has proven that over the long-term, it is possible to lead in energy production and environmental stewardship.
We applaud President Trump’s commitment to America’s energy leadership, which has the power to unify Republicans and Democrats in a divided Congress to put up some major wins for the American people.
Debate continues across the country on our nation’s energy future. Few doubt that energy has improved lives and enabled human progress. Yet one of the biggest challenges facing the world is the polarized debate over the future of energy. Facts and economics are too often replaced with assertions and emotions. Discussion about fossil fuels and alternative energy sources often degenerate into a battle to delegitimize the other side. This is a recipe for inaction. And it keeps billions of people trapped in energy poverty. The world expects and deserves better.
A new energy poll released earlier this year indicates what Americans think about U.S. oil and natural gas. Key poll results include:
- 83% see oil and natural gas as important to the future
- 78% of voters support increased production of oil and natural gas resources
- 84% support increased development of the country’s energy infrastructure
- 77% support energy policies that the oil and natural gas industry advocates: a secure supply of abundant, affordable, available energy.
- 75% support the role that natural gas are playing in reducing greenhouse gas emissions
- 90% see personal value in oil and natural gas
Clearly, Americans support developing domestic energy resources and believe that can be done in a way protective of our environment. Policymakers at all levels should pursue energy policies that drives economic growth, lower costs for consumers, protects the environment, increases American competitiveness, and uses our considerable energy resources as a way to lift people up.
The U.S. currently has a better, more sensible approach to energy development than any other country in the world, both short-term and long-term. Where government policy has been absent, free markets have filled the void with great success.
The energy policy choices our nation makes today are among the most important and far-reaching policy decisions we will make in the 21st century. If we are to continue our nation’s positive energy trends, we must implement energy policies based on current reality and our potential as an energy leader. Too often, energy policy discussions are dominated by the ill-informed whose contributions to the discussions do little to educate and much to misinform.
As the oil and gas industry has shown, there is a better way. Just a few years ago, no one would have imagined the U.S. could increase production of oil and natural gas while cutting greenhouse emissions, which are now near 25-year lows. By focusing on more efficient use of energy, it is possible to lower emissions without imposing even more environmental restrictions.
An American energy policy that values innovation over regulation can turn energy policy challenges into great opportunities for economic growth and energy security. This approach is not just good business, it’s good stewardship and a much better strategy for improving the quality of life for all.
The key going forward is to avoid placing unnecessary political or legal obstacles in the way of innovation and expansion. That’s a prescription for economic prosperity and a cleaner environment.
We should set aside the acrimony and division that has marked too much of past national energy policy discussions and work together as one nation on a positive forward-looking energy future. American energy policy should focus on what’s important: American jobs, American energy security, and American global energy leadership. We need a national energy policy based on science, the free market, and entrepreneurial spirit. Those who act on our behalf at all levels of government should use those principles as the foundation for their energy policy decisions.