Between dozens and dozens of climate change hearings, climate change directed legislation and the new Select Committee on Climate Crisis, the Democratic takeover of the House following the 2018 midterm elections opened the door to a deluge of climate activism, or at least signaling, in Washington, D.C.
The marquee policy goal for many Democrats has been ambitious Green New Deal, a massive policy package that calls for the elimination of all U.S. carbon emissions. The Green New Deal would place an exorbitant financial burden on American families while simultaneously rapidly phasing out safe, reliable and affordable American energy production. Unsurprisingly, the Green New Deal, and similar proposals, would ban offshore oil and natural gas leasing.
Democrats are rushing ahead to sign onto this recipe for radical change to our economic and energy future. In February 2019, Senator Edward Markey (D-MA) and freshman Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) introduced a nonbinding resolution calling for a Green New Deal. When offered a chance to vote for the legislation in the Senate the Democrat Senators voted present.
In July 2019, House Democrats passed a resolution declaring climate change to be a “national emergency” and Energy and Commerce Chairman Frank Pallone (D-NJ) announced a “reasonable” alternative to the Green New Deal and suggested a net-zero emissions by 2050 plan. Meanwhile, numerous other Green New Deal-inspired bills, amendments, resolutions and hearings continue to take root in the Democrat-held House.
Democratic Presidential Hopefuls
The Democratic presidential hopefuls have taken their cues from Representative Ocasio-Cortez and other progressives, and have thoroughly embraced the tenants of the Green New Deal:
Seemingly even more popular than the Green New Deal has been the explicit calls to ban oil and natural gas leasing on federal lands and waters. Almost every Democratic presidential candidate, and all of the front runners, have explicitly stated their support for a ban on future oil and gas lease sales on federal lands or waters.
The Green New Deal and copycat proposals are policies built on a vision that ignores the realities of energy demand and production. Efforts that result in curbing American energy production will mean that American families will have to depend on other countries to meet their energy demands. We know what happens when states recklessly limit energy production and pipeline access, two states – California and Massachusetts – epitomize what happens when progressive energy policies of shutting down development are realized:
Thanks to efforts to block natural gas pipelines linking New England to the abundant Marcellus Shale natural gas field New Englanders are starved for affordable energy. New England electricity prices are 44% higher and natural gas prices are 29% higher than the national average. For the last two winters, high energy prices force Massachusetts to import LNG produced by Russia from fields in the Russian Arctic. This energy is produced free from environmental or safety considerations before being shipped halfway across the world to Massachusetts. Americans should not be forced to depend on Russia to meet their energy needs.
Over the last 20 years, oil demand in California has decreased from 644.4 to 641.9 million barrels annually, yet California's share of foreign oil imports has increased from 16% to 57%. While California frames itself as leading the way to a post-Fossil Fuels world, California is in reality only saying “No” to energy produced with American values, and is instead sending billions foreign coffers - primarily in Saudi Arabia. In 2018, California’s imports of Saudi oil surged by an additional 37 million barrels, reaching 134 million barrels of oil imported from Saudi Arabia. At $69.52 a barrel for average annual OPEC Price, that means more than $9.3 billion was transferred from California consumers to the government-run Saudi oil company.
An All-of-the-Above Answer
There is an American energy solution, and it involves tapping our own offshore resources. American energy production means sustainable and environmentally-conscious energy production. Not only is the U.S. the leader in oil and natural gas production, the U.S. leads the world in the reduction of GHG emissions. The U.S. also leads the world in reduction of C02 emissions, which are at near 30-year low. Americans do not have to choose between environmental responsibility and energy solvency - we can do both.
Furthermore, increased American offshore production means new jobs and new economic opportunities for millions of Americans. Increased access for offshore oil and gas production could spur nearly 745,000 new jobs and $592 billion in new capital investment and spending within twenty years of initial leasing. Offshore wind could support 160,000 new jobs by 2050 and $68 billion in capital expenditures by 2030.
Policymakers should embrace an American energy future.
Related Media Content
Daily on Energy: Oil drillers make the tricky case that they can help the ‘climate emergency’, Washington Examiner
Americans Need a Real Deal, Not a Green New Deal, InsideSources
NOIA Press Statements
Energy Moratoria Bills Outsource American Energy Production, September 11, 2019