In an increasingly digitalized world, energy is more important – and complicated – than ever, both in terms of finances and security.
It directly impacts our wallets, from an individual level on up to a national level. That’s because we use energy in some form or another every minute of every day, from electricity to charge our phones, gas to drive our cars, and oil to heat our homes.
Energy is also built into every good and service we use daily, like the clothes we wear, the shampoo we use, the carpet we walk on, the medication we take, and the food we eat. When energy costs surge, so do expenses for families and governments.
It also impacts our national security, since just over 50 percent of the petroleum we consume is imported, often from unstable areas of the world such as the Middle East, Russia and Venezuela. When those regions experience instability, our energy supplies — and how much we pay for them — do as well.
The simplest way to ensure stability is to tap and use our own American resources – particularly offshore, where expanding opportunities to safely explore and develop our abundant supplies would help grow the economy and fortify our security.
That is why President Trump’s executive decision to reconsider and reverse previously imposed federal restrictions and roadblocks on access to America’s offshore energy resources is good news for families and businesses in dire need of cutting costs.
This decision also underscores that America’s offshore energy resources, from always-reliable conventional resources like oil and natural gas to up-and-coming renewables like wind, are vital components of our nation’s energy future.
In recent years, the federal government made it impossible to access these abundant, but yet-to-be tapped resources in most federal waters. Hundreds of millions of acres in the Alaskan Arctic, the Gulf of Mexico, the Atlantic Ocean, and elsewhere were taken off the table from potential development.
These premature actions not only defied the best interests of the American people, who strongly support domestic energy development, but they also removed the opportunity of accessing over half of the nation’s estimated undiscovered – but technically recoverable – offshore oil and natural gas.
What’s more, they also threatened U.S. jobs along with economic, national, and environmental security while threatening our long-term access to affordable and reliable energy, unnecessarily placing the livelihoods of millions at risk, particularly those who live on or near the poverty line or on a fixed income.
The previous administration failed to embrace the reality that energy development and environmental protection can go hand-in-hand, as underscored by President Obama’s decision shortly before leaving office to withdraw nearly the entire U.S. Arctic and portions of the Atlantic from future leasing, not only under his own offshore leasing program, but from the leasing program of all of his successors.
Thankfully, his successor did not idly sit by.
Fully reversing course will not be an overnight process. This is just the first step, and it could take months, even years, to complete.
Yet this important announcement signals that America is heading in a new, more promising direction under this current administration that recognizes how important U.S. offshore resources are to a robust energy future. Increases in offshore production will spur high-wage job growth, increase tax revenue and supply the dollars needed to fund badly needed infrastructure improvements – all important to American families and businesses.
With industry advancements in technology, practices, oversight, and a stronger than ever regulatory framework, it is clearer than ever that energy development and environmental stewardship can and do coexist.
It is a refreshing and welcome development that we now have an administration that understands this as well.