During the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, the president experiments with mandatory health insurance penalties, a failed $831 billion stimulus and other issues. At the same time, he largely ignores a major policy area with tremendous, job-boosting potential – growth of the energy sector.
Increasing American energy production could create millions of well-paying jobs, provide new revenues to pay down the federal debt, restore confidence to every business and provide more affordable energy to households across America – all while advancing environmental progress.
Unfortunately, after nearly four years in office, the president has failed to develop a sensible, comprehensive energy policy.
In fact, by impeding projects like the Keystone XL pipeline and enacting policies that restrict energy production, this administration has made clear that it is unwilling to fully harness our domestic energy or provide the benefits of energy development to the American people. We need a leader with a bold plan to get our country on the right track.
To fill the void in leadership from the president, Republican governors have developed “An Energy Blueprint for America” that gives a true assessment of the energy challenges and opportunities facing our nation and, more importantly, offers solutions for reaching our energy potential. The plan recognizes the need for a state-centric approach that utilizes every means of energy production.
Key provisions include:
- A cumulative cost-benefit analysis of the barrage of new regulations promulgated and enacted by the Environmental Protection Agency under this administration must be undertaken.
- Our nation’s core environmental statutes have not been modernized in over 20 years. The time has come to re-examine these statutes to make certain environmental policy is performance-based and responsive to changing costs, technologies and needs.
- The Department of Interior has restricted millions of square miles of federal lands and waters from energy development. The department should open federal lands and waters for energy production – and not just for renewables.
- Litigation has increasingly been the norm for determining air quality standards. The states and private sector need certainty – legislation is necessary to provide this certainty.
- The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process must be reformed to create consistency among federal agencies.
- Federal agencies such as the EPA must respect the states’ role in federal and state partnerships.
- Approve the remaining portion of the Keystone XL Pipeline and ease regulatory burdens which prevent the construction and operation of adequate petroleum infrastructure.
- Allow for responsible development in the National Petroleum Reserve and the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
- Lift restrictions on drilling on the Outer Continental Shelf. Waters off states like Virginia, which was removed from the most recent Five Year Plan by the Obama administration, should be reopened to job-creating exploration and development.
- Work with Canada and Mexico to further develop the idea of a “North American Energy Partnership.”
- End attempts by the federal government to restrict natural gas production and allow states to develop sound environmental regulation.
- Establish state best practices for regulation of hydraulic fracturing. Federal regulatory regimes layered over state regulations increase costs and delays with no added benefit.
- Reconsider federal environmental regulations proposed and promulgated under the current administration.
- Allow the NEPA process to fill its intended purpose. Do not use it to block commerce and exports.
- Support state leadership to provide safe and effective regulatory management of uranium development.
- Insist the federal government fulfill its obligation to implement a program to manage used nuclear fuel.
- Any renewable or clean energy standard for electricity production would be counter-productive and should be left to the states.
- Expedite permitting for transmission, pipeline and refinery infrastructure. Establish sensible regulatory policies for refiners and reconsider burdensome rules.
Research & Development
- The government plays an important role in research and development but long-term subsidies are counterproductive. The private sector must be profitable in order to develop new technologies.
Despite the impact of energy on every facet of the economy, America’s energy future is not a focus of the current administration. These ideas offered by Republican governors will help put America back to work and provide American economic and energy security.
(Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell is Chairman of the Republican Governors Association. Wyoming Governor Matt Mead is Chairman of the Republican Governors Public Policy Committee’s Energy and Environment Committee.)