The United States must develop a national energy policy that diversifies and improves our country's energy supply in economically and environmentally friendly ways. As detailed in the 2011 year-end report of the President's Jobs Council:
"We need to take advantage of all our natural resources to spur economic growth, create jobs and reduce the country's dependence on foreign oil. First, we should allow more access to oil, natural gas and coal opportunities on federal lands. Where sources of shale natural gas have been uncovered, federal, state and local authorities should encourage its safe and responsible extraction. More than 9.2 million American jobs are supported by the oil and gas industry; and on average, nearly $90 million a day is provided to the U.S. Treasury from this industry. Increased energy supply means lower costs for businesses, lower prices for consumers, and more jobs for workers. A recent report released by the Institute for Energy Research reveals the extent of America's natural riches. North America has 1.79 trillion barrels of recoverable oil -- almost twice as much as the combined reserves of OPEC nations. We also have 4.244 quadrillion cubic feet of natural gas -- enough to provide the U.S. with electricity for 575 years at current rates. We need to increase drilling and production. Federal lands and waters hold enough oil to fuel 65 million cars for 60 years, and enough natural gas to heat 60 million homes for 160 years."
*DEVELOP WHAT WE ALREADY HAVE
We should utilize the vast resources in our country and encourage shovel-ready energy projects, such as the Keystone Pipeline, to drive economic growth. Areas including Pennsylvania, the Gulf of Mexico, the Western States, and Alaska contain oil and natural gas deposits that will promote our economic recovery, create jobs, and lessen our dependence on overseas foreign oil. Current regulatory barriers only permit production on less than 6% of federal lands onshore and 2.2% offshore. Permitting must be adjusted to allow faster access to these areas without compromising environmental safeguards. A Wood Mackenzie study analyzing the energy supply and government revenue implications of enacting policies in the U.S. that encourage development of
North American resources found the following:
Total potential jobs impact: Approximately 1 million jobs by 2018 and more than 1.4 million jobs by 2030.
Total cumulative potential government revenue: Additional $36 billion by 2015 and nearly $803 billion by 2030.
Total Potential Production impact: By 2015, an additional 1.27 million barrels of oil equivalent per day (BOE/D) could be produced, rising to 10.4 million BOE/D by 2030. Over the period 2012 to 2030, it is estimated an additional cumulative 35.4 billion BOE/D of reserves could be produced through development policies. As a reference, we currently import 4,885,000 barrels per day of crude oil from OPEC countries.
*EXPLORE ALTERNATIVE OPTIONS
Examine promising renewable energy technologies. This is especially important for Connecticut, which has private sector initiatives underway in wind, solar, and geothermal energy, as well as the development of synthetic fuels. Connecticut is already recognized as the fuel-cell capital of the world. We should focus on policies that will allow businesses to grow.
Nuclear power currently makes up 20% of U.S. energy production. We should build more modern nuclear power plants. The federal government should clear the way for the construction of more nuclear plants with predictable, effective regulation that ensures safety and security. The current structure is both extremely unwieldy and obstructive. For example, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is outfitted to review only one kind of reactor design, a restraint that increases prices, reduces competition, and suppresses innovation. Modification in this area will allow for smoother permitting and expanded use of nuclear power.
I am encouraged by the recent NRC decision to approve construction of the first nuclear power plant in the United States in 35 years. Manufacturers use one-third of the energy consumed in the United States, so building new, reliable sources of energy is essential to our competitiveness. Building new nuclear power plants also means the creation of quality jobs for Americans at a time we need them the most. The new plant alone will create 5,000 new jobs; have a tremendous, positive impact for the many jobs in the nuclear energy supply chain; and be a long-term, emission-free energy source.