Thursday, December 8 , 2016, 12:22 am | Mostly Cloudy 46º


Tom Donohue: U.S. Energy Can Be a Positive Force at Home and Abroad

The link between energy and security is increasingly evident as geopolitical hot spots flare up around the world.

Global oil prices have gone up 4 percent since the beginning of June as Iraq — the second-leading producer in the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries — is under siege by insurgents, threatening exports and sending reverberations through oil markets. Russia is using its vast natural gas supplies — on which much of Europe and Ukraine depend — to wield geopolitical control in the ongoing conflict with Ukraine.

For good or for ill, those who have energy have power and influence in a global economy. Today, the United States and its abundant resources can be a force for good in our own economy and for stability around the world.

We’re sitting on a 200-year supply of oil and have enough natural gas to last 115 years — and we’re discovering more resources every year. Thanks to entrepreneurship and ingenuity driven by the private sector, we’ve been able to access and develop more oil and gas than ever. As a result, U.S. petroleum imports have fallen from 60 percent to 35 percent in less than a decade. And with the combined resources of our friends and partners in Canada and Mexico, North America is on track to be energy independent by 2020 and could be a net energy exporter by 2030.

The positive effects of the U.S. energy boom are benefiting the rest of the world, too. The drop in U.S. oil imports and the increase in U.S. exports of refined products have helped keep international prices relatively stable — even amid market shocks and supply disruptions. Businesses and consumers would be much more vulnerable to geopolitical strife or the whims of foreign dictators or forces without a steady flow of U.S. supply.

Yet we can do more. As America tears down impediments to the development and export of U.S. energy resources, including oil, gas and coal, our allies can reduce their dependence on imports from uncertain or even hostile suppliers. That would promote greater global stability. How much more leverage might Europe, a key U.S. partner, have over Moscow if it didn’t need to turn around and buy Russian oil and gas?

Besides security benefits, energy bolsters our domestic economy, creates jobs, drives manufacturing and generates revenue. But if we’re going to fully realize any of these benefits, we must see a change in U.S. policies that promote endless permitting delays, wrongheaded regulations, attempts to pick winners and losers among industries, and political agendas.

U.S. energy can be a powerful force for good at home and abroad — but only if we let it.

— Tom Donohue is president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The opinions expressed are his own.

Reader Comments

Noozhawk's intent is not to limit the discussion of our stories but to elevate it. Comments should be relevant and must be free of profanity and abusive language and attacks.

By posting on Noozhawk, you:

» Agree to be respectful. Noozhawk encourages intelligent and impassioned discussion and debate, but now has a zero-tolerance policy for those who cannot express their opinions in a civil manner.

» Agree not to use Noozhawk’s forums for personal attacks. This includes any sort of personal attack — including, but not limited to, the people in our stories, the journalists who create these stories, fellow readers who comment on our stories, or anyone else in our community.

» Agree not to post on Noozhawk any comments that can be construed as libelous, defamatory, obscene, profane, vulgar, harmful, threatening, tortious, harassing, abusive, hateful, sexist, racially or ethnically objectionable, or that are invasive of another’s privacy.

» Agree not to post in a manner than emulates, purports or pretends to be someone else. Under no circumstances are readers posting to Noozhawk to knowingly use the name or identity of another person, whether that is another reader on this site, a public figure, celebrity, elected official or fictitious character. This also means readers will not knowingly give out any personal information of other members of these forums.

» Agree not to solicit others. You agree you will not use Noozhawk’s forums to solicit and/or advertise for personal blogs and websites, without Noozhawk’s express written approval.

Noozhawk’s management and editors, in our sole discretion, retain the right to remove individual posts or to revoke the access privileges of anyone who we believe has violated any of these terms or any other term of this agreement; however, we are under no obligation to do so.

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through PayPal below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments.

Thank you for your vital support.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >