Posted October 11, 2016
Our ears perked up near the end of Sunday night’s presidential debate when coal utility employee and instant celebrity Ken Bone asked Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump how their respective energy policies would meet the country’s energy needs while also protecting the environment and minimizing negative impacts on key job sectors. While political conversations generate their fair share of fact-checking, let’s do a little fact-setting.
First, American crude oil production reached a 43-year high in 2015:
While imports from OPEC were at decades lows:
Natural gas production is at the highest levels ever recorded:
And increased natural gas use here at home is the main driver in U.S. CO2 emissions from electrical production falling to 22-year lows:
This great news was given an exclamation point by last week’s report by the president’s National Economic Council, connecting abundant, affordable energy from shale to the revitalization of the country’s manufacturing sector. The report:
[F]or the roughly one-fifth of U.S. manufacturing that is energy-intensive, low-cost reliable energy is important to continued competitiveness. U.S.-based manufacturers currently enjoy a competitive advantage from affordable natural gas. Once poised to be a major natural gas importer, the United States is now the number one natural gas producer in the world. The surge in American natural gas production has lowered energy costs for manufacturers and driven job growth, with U.S. natural gas costs one-half that of Europe and one-third that of Asia. Recent analysis estimates that industrial sector consumers of natural gas were better off by about $22 billion between 2007 and 2013 due to abundant, inexpensive shale gas. That is an important part of why companies have announced tens of billions in new capital commitments in energy intensive manufacturing facilities that will come on line in the years ahead.
Moving forward we need to heed analyses that underscore the link between renewables and natural gas when it comes to baseline power generation – the partnership between natural gas and renewables isn’t temporary, it’s essential. Again, we’re using more cleaner-burning natural gas, and our emissions are falling, a trend President Obama acknowledged last week. The United States’ market-based approach is reducing emissions, making our air cleaner and benefiting consumers, without sacrificing energy and economic growth. Thanks, fracking!
Natural gas and oil anchor America’s energy portfolio today and will do so tomorrow – the U.S. Energy Information Administration projects that natural gas and oil will supply about 67 percent of the energy Americans use in 2040. Increased domestic oil production has lowered imports and, as mentioned above, made the United States more energy self-sufficient than it has been in two decades. Certainly, the country would benefit from pro-development policies that help increase access to oil and natural gas while bringing a commonsense approach to regulation and certainty and efficiency to leasing and permitting processes. Growing the energy renaissance will make the United States less vulnerable to potential supply disruptions around the world.
American energy is the foundation for economic growth and environmental progress. Let’s keep it great.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Mark Green joins API after spending 16 years as national editorial writer in the Washington Bureau of The Oklahoman newspaper. In all, he has been a reporter and editor for more than 30 years, including six years as sports editor at The Washington Times. He lives in Occoquan, Virginia, with his wife Pamela. Mark graduated from the University of Oklahoma with a degree in journalism and earned a masters in journalism and public affairs at American University. He's currently working on a masters in history at George Mason University, where he also teaches as an adjunct professor in the Communication Department.