A national energy boom is within our grasp, an economic surge that holds the potential to power our nation’s economy with affordable energy while creating high-quality jobs and making our nation less dependent upon energy from less-stable parts of the world.
We just need the will to make this surge happen and overcome an emboldened activist culture that thrives on hyperbole and disinformation.
The state of California has what it takes to accomplish these worthy energy goals. A recent study examining Monterey Shale found that the massive oil reserves locked within would be harder to get to than previously thought. Activists pounced, as if this were a validation of their extremist views.
For Texans, meanwhile, this all sounds vaguely familiar. In fact, we heard much the same thing a few decades ago when experts were talking about the natural gas locked in the Barnett Shale Fields located in the northern reaches of our state.
Instead of getting discouraged, though, Texans took it as a challenge. We gave energy suppliers the opportunity to let their best and brightest innovate new energy solutions, and the safe and effective drilling techniques they devised have revolutionized the industry. Their advancements have been described by industry watchers as one of the biggest accomplishments of the century.
Thanks in large part to those efforts, those fields — and other fields located across our state — now provide employment to thousands and have led to a reduction in natural gas prices, meaning more affordable energy for all.
Today, Texas produces nearly a third of all natural gas and a third of all oil produced in the United States. Our energy sector is part of a powerful economic engine that has created 37 percent of all net new private-sector jobs in the United States since 2001.
There’s no reason that can’t happen in California, too.
All that’s needed is confidence in innovators to solve challenges, and a sound rejection of the misguided notion that a robust economy and environmental quality can’t go hand in hand.
For example, even though our population has grown by more than 5 million people since 2000, the air we breathe in Texas is cleaner than it was 14 years ago. Nitrogen oxide levels from industrial sources have plummeted more than 62 percent, and ozone levels are down by 23 percent — 12 percent better than the national average.
We’ve done it by trusting innovators to produce cleaner energy with existing resources, and by investing in renewable sources, like solar, hydroelectric and wind. In fact, Texas generates more wind energy than any other state, and all but five countries.
That’s a true “all of the above” energy strategy, compared to the lip service President Obama gives to the term while he simultaneously makes the EPA a wholly owned subsidiary of the environmental fringe.
Recent salvos fired in the ongoing war on traditional sources of energy promise to drive electricity rates through the roof and put tens of thousands out of work — all with no meaningful impact on environmental quality, according to testimony from Gina McCarthy, President Obama’s own EPA administrator.
This is all on top of the president’s ill-advised decision to continue delaying development of the Keystone Pipeline, a move that puts more than 42,000 good American jobs on hold indefinitely, despite lengthy studies indicating the project poses minimal impact to the environment.
This approach is not a way to improve the environment; it’s really just a way to placate a political base. In the process, though, these moves will hobble an economy that’s already showing signs of shrinking, will stifle innovation, and will keep far too many Americans idle and waiting for work.
Energy independence is not the enemy of clean air and water. It’s how we can build a stronger America for all of us. California has a shining opportunity to lead the way.