Over the last several years, our nation has left behind decades of energy scarcity and has become a worldwide leader in energy production. We should take full advantage of this unique American moment of global energy leadership. What we need from our elected leaders are smart energy policies that promote our nation’s position as a leader in energy production.
Today, we stand at the threshold of a sustained era of American global energy leadership. We have the unique opportunity to diminish our nation’s economic and geopolitical vulnerabilities and permanently reduce our dependence on foreign sources of energy.
We should ensure that America remains a positive force on the world energy market. It should not be about Republicans, Democrats or Independents. It’s about all Americans benefitting from our nation’s emergence as an energy leader.
Unfortunately, there are some who remain mired in our nation’s energy scarcity past. The American people want, expect and deserve elected leaders who will place what’s best for our nation’s economy and energy future above partisan ideology and political posturing.
Last November, voters sent a loud and clear message to elected leaders. Stop the politics of polarization and endless partisanship and work together on behalf of the American people and American economy.
American voters have a clear preference for increased domestic energy production, specifically, more U.S. oil and natural gas. An API commissioned election night poll found that 66% of voters said they would support candidates who back increased oil and natural gas production.
The new Congress and President Obama have the opportunity to heed the will of the American people to, among other things, set our nation on a positive energy future.
The fundamental question is whether we as a generation and as a nation will rise to the challenge of meeting our energy needs in a way that generates jobs, revenue and opportunity or will we squander this unique opportunity at the altar of political expediency and ideology.
The fact is fossil fuels will continue to take the lead in providing most of the world’s energy needs well into this century. The U.S. Energy Information Administration estimates that 25 years from now, fossil fuels will account for 80 percent of the nation’s energy consumption.
Misguided energy policy harms American consumers and businesses. Continual expansions of environmental regulations that do little or nothing to advance public health significantly harm our nation’s energy production potential and global energy leadership.
For example, the current ozone regulations are protecting public health and will continue to make gains under existing rules. However, the EPA’s recently proposed tighter limits on ozone that would, according to a recent report, be the most costly regulations ever imposed on the American people.
And perhaps no issue better captures the potential and ongoing tension between America’s 20th century energy reality (scarcity and dependence) and our 21st century reality (abundance and energy leadership) than the ban on crude oil exports. The crude oil export ban, which once was an integral part of our nation’s energy strategy, is now a burdensome relic of America’s era of energy scarcity. The decades-old ban on crude oil exports does nothing more than impose an unnecessary cost on consumers and American business’s global competitiveness. Lifting it would send a clear signal to friend and foe alike that our nation takes seriously its role as an energy leader.
These facts should be central to our nation’s energy policy discussion, formulation, and implementation. The alternative invites regression to a time of American energy dependence and uncertainty.
We have a unique opportunity to show the world how energy abundance can be used as a positive force rather than as a tool to harm or to control other nations. We should no more support policies that pull us back toward energy dependence and uncertainty than we should adopt policies that reverse gains we’ve made in other areas of our society.
Our nation’s energy future should be inclusive, realistic, and above all rooted in the belief that energy’s fundamental role in our society is a positive that should be encouraged rather than hampered.
We need to foster a better understanding of energy and be willing to set aside partisan ideology to advance smart energy policies. Energy policies that expand American oil and natural gas development to create economic growth, expanded economic opportunity for millions, and long-term American global energy leadership contrast against the contrarian view, which would result in a lower standard of living, shrinking economy, and ultimately, American energy dependence. The choice is that stark and simple.
Energy is central to our way of life and we will need more of it for many years to come. We need President Obama, the new Congress, and elected leaders in our state legislature to work to ensure that 21st century America and future generations only know their nation as a global energy leader.
Edward Cross is the president of the Kansas Independent Oil and Gas Association. He can be reached at email@example.com.