Policies to Support American Energy Leadership
Posted February 6, 2020
During this week’s State of the Union address, President Trump kept with the decades-long tradition – and agreed with each of his six predecessors – by acknowledging the economic importance of domestic natural gas and oil production and outlining the policy pathways to a stronger energy future. The president noted that the U.S. has become the No. 1 producer of natural gas and oil anywhere in the world, by far, and that energy jobs are a record high.
Today, America is not only the world’s leading energy producer, for the first time in nearly 60 years, the U.S. is also a net exporter of total energy. As recently as 2009, energy imports represented 44% of the national trade deficit, but dropped to 5.2% in 2018 and then 1.2% in the first 10 months of 2019.
Looking forward, the U.S. is projected to continue producing historically high levels of natural gas and crude oil through 2050, as the fuels remain integral to America’s future energy mix. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s latest Annual Energy Outlook, this production – coupled with slower domestic demand growth – will also contribute to additional exports of crude oil, petroleum products and liquefied natural gas.
As the U.S. becomes increasingly energy self-sufficient, American workers and families are realizing the benefits of this resource abundance. The natural gas and oil industry supports more than 10.9 million good-paying jobs nationwide, and U.S. households save $203 billion annually as a result of lower energy prices. Per the White House Council of Economic Advisors, this amounts to $2,500 in average annual savings for a family of four.
America’s energy leadership reinforces the economic state of the union, and several of the existing policy proposals stand to maintain our energy security.
Infrastructure investment – which received bipartisan applause during the president’s speech – is needed to keep pace with rising natural gas and oil output, but expensive and time-intensive review processes have delayed critical infrastructure projects, including pipelines and export terminals. Proposed reforms to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) are poised to improve regulatory permitting and accelerate the expansion of energy infrastructure that enables the transport of affordable fuels.
Additionally, clarity on international trade policy – delivered with the passage of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) – is essential to preserving the jobs tied to North America’s interdependent fuel markets and strengthening the region’s energy security. And with the recent phase one trade deal between the U.S. and China, efforts are underway to restore energy export growth to the world’s second-largest consumer of petroleum products.
Access to natural gas and oil reserves, on public lands and federal waters, is a perennial industry priority as it remains key to meeting global energy demand. Safe and responsible production contributes to cost savings, job creation and public revenue generation for education, public safety and conservation projects in communities across the country. In fact, 2.37 million acres of national forests are protected with funding primarily from offshore energy royalties, according to the Department of the Interior.
Finally, our nation must be clear-eyed about the technology that has brought us to this point of global energy leadership. Modern hydraulic fracturing is largely responsible for facilitating economic growth and renewed opportunities in energy, manufacturing and agriculture. This industry-driven innovation, coupled with sound policymaking, has allowed America’s natural gas and oil operators to deliver benefits to businesses and consumers.
In 2020, the State of American Energy – like the State of the Union – is strong, and the industry’s forward-focused approach guarantees more progress to come.
About The Author
Sam Winstel is a writer for the American Petroleum Institute. He comes to API from Edelman, where he supported communications marketing strategies for clients across the firm’s energy and federal government practices. Originally from Dallas, Texas, Sam graduated from Davidson College in North Carolina, and he currently resides in Washington, D.C.
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