In recent years, America has seen an energy boom. Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, and other new technologies have allowed American energy developers to tap into the vast resources at our disposal.
Regulations are important. They help protect our health, safety, and well-being, and provide firm rules for us to live by. But taken beyond their initial purpose—and to an extreme—regulations can do more harm than good. We can harness our domestic energy potential safely and responsibly. And we have an obligation to enact policies that will allow us to do so.
Ninety percent of Wisconsinites’ electric power comes from “low-cost sources: coal, natural gas, and nuclear.” Manufacturers benefit from low-energy costs. Small businesses benefit, too. But most importantly, when America reaches its energy potential, you pay less at the pump and you pay less for your power bill.
Earlier this spring, Paul was in Lake Geneva speaking with local Wisconsin business owners about opening up our energy markets:
“[The government is] not taking advantage of it. We’ve got an opportunity. One law we did pass in December [of 2015] was we lifted the ban on exporting crude oil, so that America can become the number-one producer and exporter of oil and gas. So that Europe, instead of having Putin dictate terms to them, can buy it from us . . . so that our friends can buy our oil and natural gas instead of having China mess with them.
"Not only is it really good for our foreign policy, but it’s good for our jobs. Because then, when we go to the pump or we pay our electric bill, we’re not sending the money to Saudi Arabia. We’re not sending the money to OPEC. We’re not sending it to the Middle East. It’s going to North Dakota, Texas, it’s going into our own country. Thirty thousand jobs in this state alone are tied to this industry. They’re mining sand. They’re building pipelines. They’re making engines. So this is an enormous opportunity for us.”
The nonpartisan Congressional Research Service agrees. The federal government is not taking advantage of the resources available to American consumers in America:
“Since fiscal year 2010 oil production on federal lands is down by 10 percent and natural gas production on federal lands is down 31 percent. This contrasts to oil production on non-federal lands, which is up by 89 percent, and natural gas production on non-federal lands, which is up by 37 percent since fiscal year 2010.”
Without the energy revolution, Wisconsin would have lost over 45,000 jobs and $3.8 billion in economic activity. The repeal of the crude oil ban was a start, but there is more the federal government could and should be doing—and the current administration isn’t getting the job done.
Fortunately, there is a better way. We can and should strike a balance between economic growth and environmental stewardship. Efforts to reduce pollution should achieve real benefits for the environment and be compatible with real benefits for our economy.
And House Republicans have a plan to do just that. Click here to learn more.