The Washington Times | February 3, 2016 | Randall Luthi
Last month in his final State of the Union Address, President Obama abandoned his belief in an "all-of-the-above" approach to energy policy — one that blends the use of emerging and established energy resources for the American people and the American economy.
It was a big disappointment to the millions of Americans who work directly or indirectly for the oil and natural gas industry in good-paying jobs. Federal and state budget officials must be disappointed too, because the oil and natural gas industry contributes more than $31 billion each year in rents, royalties, bids and taxes.
Rather than backing away, policymakers should accelerate the energy resurgence taking place in the United States today. The revolution is unmistakable along the entire energy spectrum: Plentiful and affordable natural gas is helping to bring back manufacturing jobs that went overseas years ago. New oil deposits have made us less dependent on foreign sources. Last year, U.S. energy producers provided 88 percent of our energy, something we haven't done in two decades. Hundreds of thousands of Americans are installing the best solar panels available on their homes and selling electricity back to the grid. Energy-efficient products are transforming the way homes are built and maintained. That efficiency has actually reduced U.S. greenhouse gas emissions.
Now more than ever, we need to support all of these initiatives. Late last year, the president and Congress took one important step in the right direction by lifting the ban on crude oil exports. Allowing American-produced oil to be sold on international markets will benefit consumers, lower gas prices, create new jobs for Americans, and increase revenues for federal, state and local governments to invest in key public projects and priorities.
Today's energy resurgence and our environmental aspirations are not mutually exclusive. We can continue to invest in solar, wind (both onshore and offshore), geothermal and other emerging resources even as we implement policies, deploy new technologies and adopt enhanced safety procedures that make established resources much cleaner, safer and more secure. When it comes to offshore development, the oil and natural gas industry has formed a new organization, the Center For Offshore Safety, to make sure that the latest advances in safe technologies and policies are shared broadly. While the goal of the oil and natural gas industry is not to have any spill, private industry and public agencies are collaborating to plan for and coordinate responses to accidental spills. Containment systems and other materials are now pre-positioned so we can contain any escaping oil or natural gas quicker and clean it up faster.
Read the full op-ed here.