Republicans took to the House floor this week to discuss “the American energy renaissance” that’s helped power economic growth, create jobs, boost innovation, lower emissions, and strengthen national security.
The members who spoke are from the House Energy Action Team (HEAT) – a caucus of House Republicans led by Republican Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.), Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-S.C.), and Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-Okla.) who focus on policies to boost American energy production.
A strong energy sector is vital for a thriving economy, both for creating jobs and keeping costs low for consumers. As Rep. Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.) said:
“Some are in favor of doing away with all fossil fuels in transportation. So, what would that do to our environment? If we did away with all gasoline, all diesel fuel, got rid of all combustion engines, did away with jet fuel, ships, if we took fossil fuels out of every form of transportation across the United States, it would wreak havoc on our economy, it would wreak havoc on our way of life.”
Rep. Kevin Hern echoed those thoughts:
“Oil and gas are the foundation to build on. Renewable energy like wind and solar are great – and I agree that we need to continue investing in them and researching how to improve them – but they’re not a replacement for oil and gas. The future of energy in our country is dependent on an all-of-the-above approach. All of these energy sources can and should work together to make America successful and energy-dominant on the world stage.” (emphasis added)
These comments echo recent reports that show not only is the U.S. oil and natural gas industry already providing tremendous opportunities, but it will continue to do so over the next few decades. For instance, in May, the Interstate Natural Gas Association of America released a report saying that natural gas will play a long-term role in the U.S. economy and that demand across all sectors will continue to grow through 2040.
Similarly, McKinsey & Co. recently released its outlook to 2030 showing that both production and demand will increase, while INS Markit reports that independent oil and gas producers supported nearly 4.5 million jobs and contributed $573 billion to the U.S. economy (2.8 percent of U.S. GDP).
Additionally, CNBC reported that petroleum engineering tops the list of highest-paid college majors in 2019 and that mining and mineral engineering was No. 7.
And in Texas, the United States’ top oil and natural gas producing state, among a myriad of other economic benefits, recent reports have found that one in six jobs are supported by the oil and natural gas industry and the revenue generated from record production is enabling the University of Austin to provide free tuition to low- and middle-income applicants.
Increased innovation and better technology not only have led to stronger economic growth, but also to lower emissions. As Rep. Garret Graves (R-La.) said:
“We can choose – as some are suggesting – to ignore our nation’s resource abundance and the world-leading progress we’ve made in producing cleaner, lower-cost energy and blindly pursue lofty goals that have no technological basis. … Or, we can double down on a U.S. energy dominance agenda – and build on the policies and innovation that have resulted in U.S. emissions reductions greater than the next 12 countries combined, explosive job growth, historically low unemployment, and energy and economic security.”
*Rep. Graves’ full comments have not yet been published.
Rep. Buddy Carter (R-Ga.) said:
“We’ve done a great job in America of decreasing our emissions and still keeping our economy growing. There’s a lot to be said for that. Carbon management has really caught on for a number of employers and the technology that can make it more effective is very promising. … We’re seeing incredibly efficient turbines being built that produce much [lower] emission numbers than similar products or plants.”
Natural gas has played a key role in reducing emissions over the past decade even while production has increased.
A recent International Energy Agency report found that using natural gas to replace traditional fuel sources for electricity generation could prevent 1.2 billion tons of carbon emissions from entering the atmosphere. And because of natural gas the United States leads the world in emissions reductions, representing 50 percent more U.S. emissions reductions than wind or solar combined since 2005.
Natural gas also compliments solar and wind production because of its ability to ramp up quickly to provide baseload power for homes and businesses when wind and solar aren’t able to meet demand.
Because economic power and national security are so closely linked, a thriving energy sector is key for the United States to maintain a strong presence on the world stage. As Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-S.C.) said:
“Energy Secretary Rick Perry recently said that the United States is not just exporting energy, we’re exporting freedom. I couldn’t agree more. There is no national security without energy security.” (emphasis added)
And failing to keep the United States an energy superpower would lead to, “paying Russia, Iran, Venezuela and other countries that don’t share our values to import their dirtier energy,” according to Rep. Garret Graves (R-La.)
Last year, a panel of experts testified in a U.S. House congressional hearing that the natural gas boom has helped strengthen American influence in the global market place. That’s not only good for the United States economy, but also for our country’s diplomacy.
As this week’s comments from members of HEAT highlight, the production of domestic oil and natural gas is having significant economic and environmental benefits for the United States, and it’s doing so while also bolstering national security.
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