Our nation's energy policy must address two economic imperatives:
Economic growth; and
Independence from foreign oil.
Current U.S. energy policy is doing nothing to spur economic growth or protect consumers from excessive gas prices. The U.S. economy is subject to manipulation by OPEC and its member nations, many of which have open hostilities toward the U.S. The stated policy of the Energy Department is not to contain fuel prices, but rather to incentivize alternative sources of fuel.
Our energy policy must drive toward energy independence at the same time as providing protection for consumers. The pain inflicted by the Obama Administration's failure to spur job growth is even more acute because of escalating gas prices, which many Americans simply cannot afford.
While alternative energy sources have long-term potential, those sources must be developed and commercialized in the context of the free-market system -- not through government market manipulation. And we cannot expect our taxpayers and consumers to bear the costs those long-term prospects in this current economy.
Our focus must be to overturn the regulatory excess that is now preventing the U.S. from pursuing energy independence.
Tommy Thompson's RESTORE AMERICA plan will:
Build the Keystone Pipeline
Tommy Thompson will use all the power of his office as a U.S. Senator to advocate for the permitting and construction of the Keystone Pipeline.
Keystone has a two-fold benefit for the U.S. and Wisconsin: expanding access to North American oil and creating jobs.
According to the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), the $3 billion project would create an estimated 20,000 construction jobs and could create as many as 600,000 jobs by 2035. In addition, the project would result in the purchase of equipment, machinery and expertise from many Wisconsin companies.
Once in operation, 70,000 barrels of oil per day would flow through the pipeline, according to the AEI -- oil that will otherwise go to other nations if we fail to act.
Open new sources of U.S. territory to oil and natural gas drilling
The U.S. is one of the only countries in the world that puts most of its shoreline and vast areas of wilderness out of reach for energy developers. The Obama Administration has given mere election-year lip service to expanded exploration while erecting every possible barrier to action.
We will never have an opportunity for energy independence without safely using known U.S. deposits of oil and natural gas.
Tommy Thompson will support legislative action to open areas of shoreline in the Atlantic, Pacific, Gulf of Mexico and Alaska to oil and natural gas exploration and production.
We must also address the regulatory excess that gives opponents of exploration too much leverage to delay projects and create uncertainty. The regulatory approval process must be streamlined, with definite timelines for review, and we must pursue litigation reform that prevents endless legal action and does nothing but line the pockets of lawyers.
Expand natural gas production by protecting "Fracking" process
The U.S. has vast sources of natural gas that have been tapped through effective hydraulic fracturing ("fracking") processes that safely extract natural gas from shale rock.
Special interests have mounted an effort to increase EPA oversight of fracking, and the agency is considering new regulations over the process -- though EPA officials acknowledge states have effectively ensured public and environmental safety of the operations.
Tommy Thompson will fight any attempt by the EPA to create new federal regulations of fracking and protect states' authority over these operations.
Wisconsin's homes and businesses rely on consistent and affordable natural gas for heating and operations, and our utilities use safe, clean natural gas to power many of our electric generating plants.
In addition to helping keep natural supplies strong and prices in check, Wisconsin has a unique interest in the fracking process. There are at least 20 fine sand mines and processing plants in Wisconsin, according to the Journal Sentinel, quoting the DNR. Additional mines are also being proposed. These businesses employ hundreds of workers and should not be exposed to the whims of federal regulators.
U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) estimates the U.S. has more than 2,500 trillion cubic feet of recoverable natural gas resources, about one-third of which is found in shale. Natural gas from shale has grown to 25 percent of U.S. gas production and could be 50 percent by 2035, according to the EIA.
It is critical that we enable these resources to contribute to the restoration of the American economy.