Opinion

Energy Week Is About America’s Energy Future

The Trump Administration has proclaimed this week as “Energy Week” – a time to focus on pro-energy initiatives that can actually boost our economy, promote a message of U.S. “energy dominance” and highlight many disastrous Obama-era energy policies that helped stall the nation’s economic recovery.

Obama’s EPA in particular foisted thousands of complex regulations on business and industry. The Clean Power Plan, regional haze mandates, various emissions standards and other burdens offered few if any tangible benefits or realistic way to gauge improvement to our lands, air, or water quality.

These onerous regulations did delay job growth and came with enormous costs to businesses and consumers. The Clean Power Plan (CPP) for example would allegedly reduce global carbon emissions by a whopping 1.8% by 2030 but would cost American businesses and consumers $39 billion.

The CPP’s projected 0.019 degree change in temperature – over the next 83 years – is not only highly speculative, given it requires accepting all ‘alarmist’ assumptions. This lack of impact also carried a ridiculous cost. 

Thankfully, President Trump and members of his Administration are actively working to reverse or dismantle much of Obama’s needless and excessive environmental regulations.

Biggest among these initiatives is the announced withdrawal from Obama’s pet “legacy” project, the Paris climate agreement and the international climate fund with no measure of success but with a beginning price tag of $22 billion per year to American taxpayers.

Trump’s pro-energy agenda offers an alternative approach, via our growing energy export boom. This promises to bail out Europe on the key strategic threat it cites to justify the strategically dangerous obsession with “green energy.” As the Wall Street Journal recently noted in an editorial, newly initiated American exports of liquefied natural gas (LNG) to Europe will “decrease Russia’s leverage as the region’s dominant producer,” meaning, Europe’s dependence gas from an unpredictable neighborhood power.

The strong geopolitical upside of pursuing LNG exports to Europe in lieu of joining the EU’s economic suicide pact, the Paris Agreement, is reaffirmed by a late 2014 State Department cable. Obtained in Freedom of Information Act litigation by the Energy & Environment Legal Institute, it summarizes input from four U.S. embassies in Central and Eastern Europe, warning of “the bloc’s need to show a united front” — on the matter of an “energy and climate framework” — “in the face of an ever more aggressive Russia.” It continues that “the emissions, renewable, and efficiency targets called for” in the Paris climate agreement are “essential for reducing energy reliance on Russia.”

The cable also notes the economic harm this obsession is causing, with fears that “too much leadership” in these policies, “if the rest of the world does not join Europe,” would lead to “‘billions’ in losses.”

Aggressively expanding U.S. LNG exports offers the proper U.S. response to the EU’s demand that others harm themselves in solidarity with the mess Europe has created. This is already yielding a single, lower price for gas and greater security for our allies. It goes hand-in-hand with Trump’s domestic, and anti-Paris, energy agenda, and is another reminder that President Trump did the right thing in withdrawing from the Paris Agreement.

After decades of relying on foreign sources of energy from volatile areas of the world, we now have a President who is offering a domestic-production agenda that will keep the oil cartel OPEC on its heels and with no ability to hold oil supply over our heads as was so blatantly done for decades.  

Energy naysayers, who included Trump’s predecessor in the White House, no longer try to claim, “We can’t drill our way out of this problem” because we surely can. President Trump offers a realistic path to true energy independence that can last for generations rather than an energy rationing agenda.

“Energy Week” reminds us of the new opportunities and the benefits of domestic energy production in America today. We have a bright energy future if Washington can reverse course and encourage unleashing the resources needed for sustainable, affordable energy independence.

Chris Horner is Senior Legal Fellow with the Energy & Environment Legal Institute and a Senior Fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute.