By Regina M. Egea
When the president made the monumental announcement that he’d be releasing 1 million barrels of oil a day from our strategic petroleum reserves until October, the American public was hopeful this would be one of the actions needed to drive down high energy costs at home.
In New Jersey, we have seen our gas prices break record-highs this summer, as residents have been forced to struggle with sky-high energy prices and inflation. The Garden State desperately needs commonsense solutions that help lower the cost of living before our economic situation runs out of control.
However, as we sit here today it’s difficult to learn that nearly 5 million barrels of American oil somehow made their way over to Europe and Asia last month. Yet again another prime example in a series of short-sighted decisions our federal government has made to further put the energy security of our nation at risk.
The story of American energy security is about much more than keeping energy prices low. It’s about fueling the economic growth of our nation, providing us with access to the goods and materials we need to keep our modern life moving, and securing our national security.
Actions by the federal government to cancel leases for oil and gas production on federal lands and revoking permits for critical infrastructure projects like the Keystone XL pipeline only to set our country behind the eight ball.
It’s oftentimes overlooked, but American energy is some of the most responsibly and sustainably produced energy found anywhere in the world. Dating back to 2011, we’ve seen advancements in the energy industry reduce emissions related to oil and gas production by nearly 60%.
Yet somehow our nation’s leaders continue to wage a war on American energy.
Now the federal government and the Environmental Protection Agency could continue to add to our energy security challenges by further making it difficult for American energy and manufacturing industries to operate as they are undergoing a review to tighten the National Ambient Air Quality Standards.
Over the last 50 years, the United States has reduced its (NAAQS) pollutants by 78%. Our air is getting cleaner, and our nation is serving as a global example of what it means to live sustainably.
If we allow the EPA to further tighten these standards, we could see pockets of our country be designated as non-attainment areas, placing a strain on local communities who are required to invest money to meet these standards and shuttering critical industries such as energy and manufacturing while watching these operations get offshored to countries like China with less stringent environmental standards.
All the while demand for energy will only continue to grow.
While the population of our world grows, so will the demand for affordable and reliable energy. By 2050, the total global energy demand is projected to grow by 47%, with oil and natural gas being relied upon to meet 50% of this total demand.
If American energy resources aren’t used to help meet this growing demand, the world will be forced to look toward other oil-producing countries including the likes of Venezuela, Saudi Arabia, and additional OPEC member countries.
The lessons learned from the fallout of the Russian invasion of Ukraine should serve as an example of how dangerous it is for America and its allies to rely on unfriendly, foreign regimes for its energy.
Each decision our government makes regarding American energy comes with a trade-off. If we continue to make foolish decisions not only we will continue to put at risk the energy security of our nation, but we will also put at risk 7.9% of our country’s GDP, reliable access to electricity and gas to heat and cool our homes and the price we pay as consumers to access these resources.
Regina M. Egea is president of the Garden State Initiative, an independent research and educational organization dedicated to promoting new investment, innovation and economic growth in New Jersey.
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