Energy: A Priority in the President's Second Term?
At the end of 2012, President Obama declared that domestic energy production would be a top priority in his second term. He said, “We’ve got a huge opportunity around energy. We are producing more energy, and America can become an energy exporter.”
We heard similar rhetoric during the president’s first term, when promises of pursing an “all of the above” energy strategy didn’t match policymaking. Though domestic energy production has increased significantly in the past few years due to technological advances and American innovation, the federal government has done virtually nothing to encourage it—and much to discourage it. While oil production on state and private lands has soared, it has declined on federal lands due to stringent restrictions. Further, proposed EPA rules threaten to shut down existing coal plants and effectively end construction of any new plants.
We need to open up more land and offshore areas for development and improve a flawed permitting process weighed down by red tape and lawsuits. We must continue using abundant American coal and exporting it to the world. We need to invest in infrastructure to transport energy in the United States and to our overseas trading partners. The critical Keystone XL pipeline project has withered on the vine for far too long, and permits for the construction and operation of coal and liquefied natural gas export terminals are too slow in coming.
The economic ripple effect of expanded energy production, particularly shale energy, is tremendous. Dormant communities have been revived, with manufacturers, shippers, restaurants, hotels, and many more economic sectors benefiting from the boom. A study co-sponsored by the U.S. Chamber found that shale energy has created 1.7 million jobs and is expected to account for 3 million jobs by 2020. What’s more, energy is part of the solution to our nation’s fiscal woes. Taxes and royalties generated by energy development could be a source of billions of dollars in new revenues for cash-strapped governments.
The Chamber stands ready to work with the new Congress and the administration to achieve a more secure energy future that includes more jobs, economic growth, and prosperity.