By Rick Santorum
America's energy policy is critical to our national security and economic growth. Dependence upon foreign sources of oil limits our national security options, undermines our interests, and raises the cost of doing business in America.
Unfortunately, President's Obama's approach has facilitated foreign dependence by restricting oil and gas drilling, making it more difficult to get nuclear permits, hobbling our coal industry, and picking winners and losers through failed pet energy projects.
Thirty-two years ago, America had a president with similar policies--Jimmy Carter. America was mired in economic malaise and rising energy prices. When President Reagan came into office, one of his first acts was to deregulate energy markets. The results were dramatic. Gas lines vanished, energy prices declined, and the economy started a 10-year boom. That is exactly what will happen when I take office.
To be competitive and to create jobs, American businesses need cheap energy. Countries such as France and Canada are creating their own energy independence through nuclear power and domestic oil development respectively. Unfortunately, President Obama continues to burden and restrain our energy potential rather than unleash it.
The growth of our economy has also been unnecessarily constricted by the high cost of energy, in the form of expensive imported oil from the Middle East. I will unleash America's domestic energy potential and exploration. I will not pick winners or losers, such as Solyndra, but encourage the private sector to promote all economically competitive energy sources.
I am committed to eliminating all energy subsidies and unleashing American innovation and ingenuity. I will also expedite the approval of leasing and permitting for domestic oil and gas companies in crucial onshore and offshore locales on day one of my Administration. I continue to support exploration in the Arctic North Wilderness Area (ANWR). It's long past time to make oil and gas from that huge reservoir available for domestic consumption. Thanks to improved technology, this can be done so in an environmentally responsible manner.
The role of government should be to unleash our resources, not keep them in the ground. Unlike President Obama, I will allow states, rather than the Environmental Protection Agency, to set their own regulations regarding the use of hydraulic fracturing technology, giving America access to vast proven oil and gas reserves.
In my home state of Pennsylvania, market forces are driving natural gas exploration. Hydrofracturing in the Marcellus Shale, for example, has produced an economic boom. Experts predict that this kind of exploration will create up to 200,000 jobs by 2020. This has contributed to dramatically lower natural gas prices for consumers. It has transformed struggling rural communities, created additional revenue for state and local governments, and helped the environment through expanded use of natural gas. It can reinvigorate manufacturing in America through lower energy prices.
Fracking, as it is known, has turned shale in many parts of the United States into a huge economically-viable font of oil and natural gas. Fracking has reduced the unemployment rate in North Dakota to 3.3 percent, the lowest in the country.
The Bakken oil shale in North Dakota and adjoining states, coupled with the Canadian Tar sands across the border in Alberta, can change the geopolitics of energy by reducing U.S. dependence on imported oil from hostile Middle Eastern powers. Thus, the Obama administration's job-killing decision to prevent the construction of the Keystone Pipeline is simply unconscionable.
Barack Obama blocked the Keystone XL pipeline project in order to appease radical, environmental activists. One of my first acts as president will be to approve it
President Obama is taking credit for bailing out Michigan's auto industry, but he is hobbling the industry with mandates to make electric cars which sit unsold on the car lots, raising the price of more popular cars.
By picking winners and losers within the auto industry, President Obama is artificially shifting resources towards electric cars, rather than allowing companies to devote resources to cars that Americans want to drive.
He also wants to raise Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards to an unrealistic level of 54 miles per gallon by 2025--two years after announcing a 35 miles per gallon standard for 2016. When I am president, I will set the auto industry free to innovate.
America needs a policy that makes energy more affordable and our nation more secure by lessening dependence on unreliable or adversarial foreign sources. An effective energy policy will expand economic development and create high-quality jobs, resulting in a strong economy for America's families and workers. It is time to get serious about unleashing America's domestic energy sources. America's prosperity depends on it.
Rick Santorum, a former representative and senator from Pennsylvania, is a candidate for the Republican nomination for president.