After the results are tallied across the nation and new members are sworn in, the Congress and administration will begin to forge their policy agendas for President Obama’s final two years in office. And on the top of that priority list should be energy. For far too many years, Congress has been at an impasse on issues of strong bipartisan support, including recent measures on energy efficiency and Keystone XL.
David Holt | All Articles
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David Holt is president of the non-profit organization, Consumer Energy Alliance. Consumer Energy Alliance was formed to help support the thoughtful utilization of all domestic energy resources to improve domestic energy security and reduce consumer prices. The mission of Consumer Energy Alliance is to improve consumer understanding of our nation's energy security, including the need to reduce reliance on imported oil and natural gas, maintain reasonable energy prices for consumers, and continue efforts to diversify our energy resources.
As part of its efforts to build dialogue between consumers and the energy sector, Consumer Energy Alliance played a key role in the recent Mineral Management Service’s (MMS) Five Year Plan for the Outer Continental Shelf. Working with an expansive coalition of energy and consumer groups, CEA helped deliver tens of thousands of public comments in support of thoughtful offshore oil & gas development – including the areas offshore Alaska and Virginia.
Consumer Energy Alliance now has more than 115 consumer and energy groups as part of its Alliance. Through its various activities, CEA works to continue to expand dialogue and develop joint messaging among the energy and consuming sectors.
Over the past year, energy has moved from newspapers’ business and science sections to their front pages. From the president’s highly controversial decision on the Keystone XL pipeline to new assessments of prolific U.S. oil and natural gas reserves, American energy dominated the headlines this year --- and for good reason. High gasoline and diesel prices threaten to curtail the economic recovery and ongoing turmoil overseas has refocused the country’s attention on the importance of energy security.
With each passing day it becomes clearer that the responsible development of our nation’s energy resources is one of our nation’s greatest economic opportunities. This is easily noticed in a recent study by Merrill Lynch which showed the economic benefits of domestic oil and natural gas development are fast approaching $1 billion a day and may be keeping the U.S. out of another recession.
What a difference a few months can make. In January, gasoline hit $3.37 per gallon on average nationwide --- its highest-ever price in that month. Fast-forward to March and the average is $3.86 per gallon, an increase of 49 cents over two months. A 25-cent increase in the price of gasoline translates to a $35 billion price tag for the broader economy. It’s important to note this figure only accounts for direct costs and doesn’t take into account increased costs facing U.S. businesses and consumers due to higher prices for transportation and other goods. It’s clear that when gas prices rise, consumers cut back in other areas and the whole economy suffers.
At a recent campaign event, President Obama said that the United States “became an economic superpower because we knew how to build things.” He went on to list the Hoover Dam and the Golden Gate Bridge as monuments to America’s capacity for greatness.
In the coming days, President Obama is expected to unveil another plan to create jobs, spur economic growth and revive our stagnant economy. This is critical, as the nation’s unemployment rate continues to hover above 9.0% and nearly 14 million Americans are out of work. Those caught in this economic malaise need help and they need it now.
There’s a poignant irony about the upcoming July 4 holiday: we’re celebrating our country’s political independence at a time when so many Americans are suffering from an acute lack of economic independence. Jobs are scarce and inflated fuel costs are making everything from food to appliances more expensive. And while the same could have been said about the economy last year, or even the year before, we are struck this year by the weak response coming out of Washington: tapping the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.
It’s nearly impossible to read, watch or listen to the news lately without updates on the uprisings in the Middle East. While some may view these events, tragic though they are, as removed from their day-to-day lives, their impact is in fact far too close to home. While nearly everyone agrees that this global tension further demonstrates the need to extricate the U.S. from unstable sources of energy abroad, our own government agencies have put in place policies that do the exact opposite.
Americans are all too familiar with the ways political instability in oil-rich places like Iraq and Saudi Arabia impacts the price they pay for gasoline and heating oil. This week, amid widespread unrest in Egypt, we’ve gotten a sobering reminder that even countries that are not large oil producers can influence global crude oil prices. Indeed, it is a small and tightly interconnected world when it comes to the politics of oil and gas.
In last night’s State of the Union address, President Obama spoke of the need to “out-innovate” and “out-build” the rest of the world. He pledged to never put unnecessary burdens on business. And, he recognized the crucial role that the energy industry plays in the national economy, saying that we would need to tap a wide range of sources to meet our future energy needs.
As we are still sifting through all of the information about the causes of the tragic Deepwater Horizon incident in the Gulf of Mexico, experts are tirelessly working around the clock to contain the spill and clean-up the affected area. Americans rightfully expect all appropriate actions to be taken to move forward and repair the Gulf Coast following this tragic accident – including learning what went wrong to ensure that this never happens again – as we have done in the past and will continue to do in the future.
It is not easy to talk about the importance of a strong domestic oil industry in the wake of the tragic incident in the Gulf of Mexico. We do not yet have all the information about what caused the explosion, but we do know that it could have and should have been prevented.
March 31 was a groundbreaking day of such historic significance that had its developments come one day later, it might well have been mistaken as an April Fool’s Day joke.
This week as Congress debates a $15 billion jobs bill aimed at getting more than 15 million unemployed Americans back to work, there is this story out of Janesville, Wis.: An autoworker was so desperate to hold onto his job that he followed it when it moved to another state 500 miles away.