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New energy reality
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We are an energy rich nation! New discoveries, enhanced production technologies, and efficiency improvements mean we have more oil and natural gas resources than anyone thought possible just 20 years ago.
 That is good news for our nation! At a time when millions of Americans are unemployed, the oil and natural gas industry supports 9.2 million jobs and 7.7 percent of U.S. gross domestic product. And if we have the political will to access more domestic oil and natural gas, there will be more jobs – over 1 million of them in just eight years – and more revenue for state and federal treasuries.
There are a number of steps policymakers can take to make this our new energy reality. Such steps include pursuing common sense policies that support the development of domestic energy resources and avoiding unnecessarily burdensome or duplicative regulations. While we have abundant oil and natural gas resources and the ability to access those resources safely, responsibly, and with care for the environment, the U.S. seems to lack one thing – the political will to act.
 When it comes to domestic oil and natural gas resources, what we hear and what we see from the Obama Administration are often two different things. For example, the President recently went out of his way to voice support for natural gas saying ... “Recent innovations have given us the opportunity to tap large reserves – perhaps a century’s worth of reserves, a hundred years worth of reserves – in the shale under our feet.” But the administration’s regulatory actions suggest they want to keep those reserves in the ground. There are now eight federal departments and agencies contemplating new regulations or seeking to delay hydraulic fracturing, the technology that has made the oil and natural gas revolution possible. Also, in his State of the Union address on Jan. 24, President Obama claimed that oil imports are down and that American oil production is the highest that it has been in eight years – which is true – but that is largely because of private investments. What the president failed to explain was that his policies have nothing to do with the rising American production. In addition, the president called for an “all of the above” energy strategy. Yet despite his pledge, on February 13th the President called for the elimination of critical tax provisions for small domestic independent oil and natural gas producers - totally ignoring the fact that oil imports dropped from 60 percent five years ago to less than 50 percent today as a result of increased domestic drilling activity of which 94 percent is conducted by small independent producers who rely on these critical tax provisions. You cannot be for oil and natural gas and against hydraulic fracturing and critical small business tax provisions.
The opportunity for more oil and natural gas development means more jobs, more economic growth, and more money to federal and state treasuries. It also means greater energy security. Studies indicate the recent discovery of nearly 20 new oil and liquids-rich plays all over the U.S. could add 2.8 million to 3 million barrels of new U.S. production by 2020. This could mean $1 trillion to the U.S. economy this decade and 1.3 million new jobs.
The Obama administration’s energy policies over the last 3 years are making it harder for our economy to recover and damaging our nation’s future energy security. Through unnecessary and burdensome regulations and tax proposals that discourage domestic oil and natural gas development, the Obama administration is on a course for less energy, not more. The disparity is compelling – the private sector is enabling economic growth and energy security while the federal sector is preventing it. We are moving in the wrong direction and most Americans understand this.
In a recent national poll of registered voters, almost 90 percent knew that more oil and natural gas development will lead to more American jobs. Seventy percent of voters polled said they supported increased domestic oil and natural gas production. Poll after poll shows American voters think we’re moving in the wrong direction on energy policy. It is never a bad idea to listen to the American people. Clearly, the voters are saying: Give us leadership.
We cannot stay trapped by policies driven by a zero-sum game philosophy for energy that says we must have less oil and natural gas so that we can have more of something else. The Energy Information Administration predicts the world will need 45 percent more energy in 2035, and the U.S. will need 16 percent more. To get there, we need more energy of all types and we must abandon policies that pit one resource against another, and discard political rhetoric that is not supported by action. We must make choices that move us in the right direction.
This is not just what the oil and gas industry wants. It is clearly what most Americans want. We can only hope the President’s commitment to domestic energy development expressed in his State of the Union address will be followed by changes in policy that support energy security and job growth that we know is possible. We can continue to import crude oil, or change policy and produce it and many more thousands of jobs at home.
Our nation faces enormous challenges of providing adequate and reliable energy supplies in the years ahead. With the right leadership and vision, we can turn these challenges into great opportunities for economic growth and energy security.