The United States is on the verge of an energy revolution that will help transform our economy. Today, thanks to abundant resources, new technologies and American entrepreneurship, our nation is poised to join the world’s energy superpowers and become largely self-reliant. This previously unimaginable opportunity will help invigorate our sluggish economic recovery, speed up job creation, spur new investment, address our trade imbalance, revitalize manufacturing and reduce our deficits.
It’s hard to believe that just five years ago America was in a very different position. We were sending billions of dollars overseas to import foreign oil.
Despite the dramatic reversal of U.S. energy fortunes, our national policies remain stuck in the past with the disproven belief that we are an energy-poor nation. We need policymakers at all levels to stop throwing up roadblocks and start working to ensure that our nation’s best economic opportunity comes to fruition. We will only reap the benefits of America’s new energy abundance if our leaders choose to seize this historic opportunity and put the right policies in place.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Institute for 21st Century Energy has devised a new plan to put America’s energy resources to work for the good of the nation. Earlier this month, the Energy Institute released Energy Works for US, a set of specific, actionable recommendations in nine key areas to put America on a path to energy self-reliance.
The plan calls for lawmakers to take full advantage of American oil and natural gas resources by expanding homegrown energy production both offshore and onshore. Currently, 87 percent of offshore and 80 percent of onshore resources remain off-limits to exploration and development.
Recognizing that America is the Saudi Arabia of coal, the plan highlights the importance of coal resources to our energy mix and calls for investment in technology to make coal cleaner. We recommend expanding emissions-free sources such as nuclear and renewable energy and continuing to pursue energy efficiency.
The plan also urges lawmakers to streamline permitting and reform the regulatory process so that we can move forward on vital projects like the Keystone XL pipeline. It provides a framework for building essential energy infrastructure and protecting the reliability of our electricity supply from cyber attacks and other threats. And it recognizes that the United States needs to invest in developing a 21st century workforce with skills to unleash our energy potential.
Private industry knows what to do; it just needs policy leaders to stop working against it.
Click here to learn more about the Chamber of Commerce’s plan to unleash the energy revolution and reap its enormous economic benefits.
— Tom Donohue is president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The opinions expressed are his own.