By U.S. Rep. John Carter
In response to the Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries placing an oil embargo against the West in 1973, President Nixon graced TV screens and promised the American people that the United States would be energy independent in just 10 years.
However, progress toward energy independence crept forward at a snail’s pace over those 10 years, and over the next few decades, America experienced several oil crises due to tumultuous global politics.
Almost 41 years after Nixon’s original promise, the U.S. is finally at the cusp of energy independence — that is, if politics doesn’t spoil it.
Due to consistently growing demand, the U.S. has been forced to rely on importing oil and gas to meet the needs of Americans. This demand had left us subject to the whims of Russia and members of the OPEC, including Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Iran.
Not only have these key players experienced turbulent political times, we’ve seen before that they’ve used their status to manipulate the oil marketplace by implementing embargoes, creating shortages and sending prices skyrocketing. America’s reliance on foreign oil has been a threat to our economy and national security.
But now something amazing is happening. The U.S. energy sector is experiencing revolutionary growth and is reclaiming its spot as the world’s energy superpower.
According to Global Witness, a “staggering 61% of the world’s new oil and gas production over the next decade is set to come from one country alone, the United States.” Output from America’s new oil and gas fields is estimated to be eight times greater than Canada, 20 times greater than Russia, and more than 1.5 times the output of all other countries combined.
Additionally, of the world’s top 10 oil and gas producers, seven are U.S. states.
A statistic that’s even more impressive: projections indicate that Texas will be responsible for 28 percent of new global production. This unprecedented level of output is tremendous news for the Texas economy, and for the hundreds of thousands of Texans employed in the energy industry.
The U.S. is positioned to benefit greatly from its transition into a net exporter of energy. First and foremost, affordable oil and gas prices result in a healthier economy.
As the largest producer, the U.S. will have access to a reliable supply of energy, which will provide more stable energy prices for consumers, and lastly, a large oil reserve will create a safety net for the U.S. economy, which is susceptible to high energy costs resulting from oil shortages.
While energy independence is a boost for our economy and national security, recent pushes to pass restrictive legislation, such as the Green New Deal, and promises by Democratic presidential candidates could prove disastrous for both the energy sector and economy, especially in Texas. In fact, at a recent CNN climate town hall, various candidates said they’d ban offshore drilling, the export of fossil fuels, and phase out combustion engine cars and commercial air travel.
U.S. senator and presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren recently stated that on her first day in office she “will sign an executive order that puts a total moratorium on all new fossil fuel leases for drilling offshore and on public lands,” fundamentally destroying jobs and energy stability in one flick of a pen.
While I believe in the development of new technologies that are grounded in science, and an “all of the above” energy strategy, the left’s approach to throw the baby out with the bath water would have significant negative effects on our state’s economy and Texans’ quality of life.
Instead, everyone should realize that being a world energy superpower introduces stability in energy pricing and improves our nation’s geopolitical influence — an important effect that cannot be understated in a world that is increasingly unstable.
The U.S. is on stable ground with our energy production, and it’s important that we stay on this path for our own national security, energy security and economy. Right now, America is in a good place with energy production, but in order to stay there, we need smart, pro-growth policies, not the hasty one-size-fits-all suggestions that are currently being discussed in the political arena.