Don't kill the American energy advantage

From the pages of In Business magazine.

The nation’s energy renaissance arrived just in time, but for some strange reason, some elected officials are trying to undermine it.

Thanks to recent breakthroughs in drilling technology, we have emerged as the world’s top producer of natural gas, and our ability to locate and extract shale oil makes OPEC very nervous. One would think such developments would be greeted with cheers in every corner, but President Obama’s threatened veto of legislation to advance the Keystone XL pipeline and the administration’s moves to slow the flow of oil from the Trans-Alaska pipeline make you wonder.

We should be taking full advantage of our enhanced energy production, for the sake of our economy, for the sake of a more sustainable future, and for the sake of reducing global dependence on oil from tyrants like Russia’s Vladimir Putin and the Iranian mullahs.

Why should this even be the subject of debate? Even as we develop alternative and renewable forms of energy, we’re going to need oil for the foreseeable future. Why not get more of it here instead of sending our petro dollars to some sponsors of terrorism?

If we’re going to make both private and public investments in alternative energy, we’ll need a strong economy that produces ample tax revenue. A strong energy sector is an essential part of the mix. It’s not a matter of either/or, it’s a matter of “all of the above” as we continue to make the transition to cleaner alternatives.



We should also be exporting more energy. In late January, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill to reduce unnecessary roadblocks for approving liquefied natural gas export stations. Passed on a bipartisan vote, it offers more permitting certainty for builders of the LNG export stations that will be necessary to serve new consumers of American natural gas.

Expediting such projects creates jobs in the U.S. and reduces global dependence on unstable energy supplies in hostile territory. As long as Russia’s paranoid Putin behaves like there’s still a Napoleon or Hitler lurking in every corner of Europe, Russia will use its crude oil to intimidate neighbors. We can arrest Putinesque hegemony over that continent by giving the European Union competitive energy options.

We are, at long last, in a position to tell the world’s worst regimes what they can do with their oil. Why don’t we?

Click here to sign up for the free IB ezine — your twice-weekly resource for local business news, analysis, voices, and the names you need to know. If you are not already a subscriber to In Business magazine, be sure to sign up for our monthly print edition here.