Romney’s “Real Energy”
by Paul Driessen
Issue 211– September 12, 2012
America needs more economic growth, domestic manufacturing, jobs – and secure, affordable energy to make those things happen.
Presidential candidate Mitt Romney understands that achieving this goal requires unleashing American ingenuity, reducing excessive regulatory strangleholds on businesses and working capital, and allowing safe, proven technologies to tap and utilize our vast onshore and offshore deposits of oil, natural gas and other energy riches. He knows we can do all this without sacrificing important environmental values.
President Obama fervently believes the solution is to unleash more taxes, regulations and regulators, keep our subsurface resources off limits, and impose a painful transition from hydrocarbons to wind, solar and biofuel energy. He aligns with and listens to environmentalist agitators who detest hydrocarbons, frighten people into thinking fossil fuel production and use will destroy the planet, and conceal the adverse health, economic and environmental effects of “green” energy “alternatives.”
The Obama vision has been an unmitigated disaster. Countless failures, bankruptcies and layoffs are matched by a need for perpetual subsidies – taken from hard-working, productive people and businesses, and given by unaccountable bureaucrats to failed technologies and companies, run by crony-corporatists who return the favor by contributing substantial portions of our compulsory taxpayer largesse to the reelection campaigns of cooperative politicians.
The Romney vision, by contrast, actually works. Bain Capital investments brought us Staples, The Sports Authority, Steel Dynamics and many other success stories. More recently, on the energy front, America’s private sector ingenuity, sweat and perseverance launched new technologies and discoveries that abruptly ended the myths of “peak oil” and “imminent depletion” of US and global petroleum.
Horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, for example, was developed by private industry, funded by private investors and tested on private lands. It did not have to depend on taxpayer subsidies, approval by federal bureaucrats, or access to shale deposits on federal lands.
Had it been otherwise, “fracking” would never have gotten off the ground. The incredible North Dakota, Texas and Pennsylvania oil, gas, jobs and revenue boom would never have occurred. Vast deposits of oil, natural gas and natural gas liquids would have remained trapped in shale rock formations, thousands of feet below Earth’s surface.
Natural gas prices would still be above $8 per thousand cubic feet (million Btu), instead of in the $2.50-$3.00 range. America would still be looking overseas for fuels to replace the coal that the Obama EPA is effectively eliminating from our energy, electricity, employment and economic picture.
But thanks to drilling and fracking on private lands, under commonsense state regulations, US oil and gas production is increasing, for the first time in 15 years, despite continued leasing and drilling moratoria on federal onshore and offshore lands. America is on the threshold of a manufacturing renaissance – fueled largely by access to abundant, reliable, affordable fuels and petrochemical feed stocks, to power and supply raw materials for factories, refineries and chemical plants.
During his first inaugural address, in the depths of the Great Depression, President Franklin Roosevelt told the American people, “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself – nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.”
Environmental extremists take the opposite tack – arguing that the only thing we have to fear is … just about everything.
We need jobs and renewed economic vitality. We all want a clean environment. Since the first Earth Day in 1970, industries of all kinds have made tremendous progress in reducing emissions and improving safety, efficiency and sustainability. They will doubtless continue to make further progress.
But giving in to fear and hysteria, and throwing more roadblocks in front of responsible energy and economic development, creates far more harm than benefit for our nation and its people.
Paul Driessen is senior policy advisor for the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow (www.CFACT.org) and author of Eco-Imperialism: Green power – Black death.