Voters Say Yes to Energy, No to 'Keep It in the Ground'
By David Holt
Job growth and the overall economy will be at the top of voters’ minds this coming Election Day, a recent NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll says.
Other polls – from CNN/ORC, CBS News/New York Times, ABC News/Washington Post, USA Today, Bloomberg, Quinnipiac University, and so on – echoed similar sentiments. That’s because trepidation about the economy are shared by all Americans – Republicans, Democrats, Independents, blue states, red states, even you and me.
We all have these worries.
That’s why Consumer Energy Alliance (CEA) recently sent a letter to the chairs of both parties – Reince Priebus of the Republican National Committee (RNC) and Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) – asking them to make sure their party maintains its current and reasonable all-of-the-above stance on energy, which mixes renewable resources like solar and wind with safe, reliable – and still very much needed – fossil fuel and nuclear production.
Thanks to America’s once-in-a-generation energy revolution – the byproduct of American resources and innovation, improvements in technologies and techniques, and record-sized increases in oil and natural gas production – national carbon emissions are down to 1993 levels and many of life’s necessities are markedly more affordable.
This was evidenced in a recent study by IHS Global Insight, which said that shale gas production and its accompanying lower natural gas prices contributed $156 billion to real disposable income in 2015 — meaning the average American family had an extra $1,337 in their pocket. Another analysis, from the Energy Information Administration (EIA), said that fracking improved the average cost of living for most Americans by nearly $750 per year since 2008.
With families, especially the most disadvantage among us, spending less to fill their gas tanks and pay their utility bills, they now have more disposable income to pay for life’s must-haves – and even some of its luxuries, like vacations and home-improvement projects, which help further our economic recovery.
The industry has also been an impressive catalyst for sustainable growth, helping power America’s economic recovery by producing jobs, lowering unemployment, and garnering much-needed revenue for all levels of government, which has helped stabilize taxes.
But these consumer benefits can be impacted by actions by our lawmakers. Often, legislation affects how much we pay for many of the items we use daily, like food, electronics, clothing and medication. Regulations also impact whether we keep our jobs and what it costs to heat and cool our homes, fuel our vehicles, charge our smartphones, and power our schools, businesses, and communities.
And there’s no question voters will remember how much their utility and grocery bills are, or how little it costs to fill up their gas tank, when they vote this fall.
To continue these economic benefits, our leaders must not give credence to the call of the vocal minority, spearheading the ill-advised “Keep It in the Ground” campaign, which continues to urge restrictions that serve only as a choke-hold on important U.S. energy resources and infrastructure – even as polls show that the vast majority of Americans oppose this irresponsible movement.
Energy production and the development of its infrastructure is, at its root, a nonpartisan issue. Party affiliation shouldn’t matter when it comes to meeting our nation’s energy needs, growing our economy and ensuring American’s have a diverse and sustainable energy future through a sensible all-of-the-above approach that contains every resource at our disposal – oil, natural gas, nuclear, coal, renewables. This is the most efficient way we as a nation can be more self-reliant, secure, and globally competitive, all while growing less dependent on overseas nations for our energy supply.
For too long, some have claimed that environmental protection and energy production is an either-or proposition. But the aforementioned statistics prove that’s not true; we can safeguard our environment and develop our energy resources responsibly. In fact, we’ve already done it, and together, we can keep doing it.
Now that’s something Republicans and Democrats – and everyone else in-between – can agree on.
David Holt is President of the Consumer Energy Alliance (CEA).