Could President-Elect Donald Trump usher in a sensible energy policy that leads to independence from foreign imports, restores production in the Alaska national petroleum reserve, and even resurrects the possibility of the Keystone XL pipeline?
The answer is yes.
Trump’s America First energy plan calls for American energy dominance based upon our world-leading recoverable oil reserves – that is, the reserves that are technologically and economically possible to extract. U.S. reserves are estimated by Oslo’s Rystad Energy, a neutral third party, to be 264 billion barrels, more than Russia (256 billion barrels) or Saudi Arabia (212 barrels).
Our oil wealth creates the potential for the U.S. to be “independent of any need to import energy from the OPEC cartel or any nations hostile to our interests,” Trump says. Obviously, that represents a strategic economic and foreign policy benefit.
But leveraging our abundant energy is possible only if the government allows it. That’s not something we’ve seen with the current administration: just consider recent regulations around methane emissions that make energy production more difficult and expensive for producers while doing virtually nothing to reduce global warming – reducing global temperatures by what the Institute for Energy Research calls a “miniscule fraction of 1 percent by 2100.”
At a fracking conference in Pittsburgh, Trump said his energy agenda should lift environmental regulations and ease permitting for oil pipelines, letting the free market prevail and allowing wealth to pour into our communities.
Trump has already indicated he would reject the Paris Climate Agreement, which gives foreign bureaucrats control over how much energy Americans use without having any real positive environmental impact. He would rescind the Climate Action Plan, which isn’t doing anything to stop climate change but could drive up energy prices. And he’d remove barriers to domestic exploration, which would disentangle us from the stranglehold of hostile OPEC nations.
Trump has also said he would get bureaucracy out of the way of innovation. American fracking, which has changed the balance of the world energy market, is one of the best examples of innovative thinking there is. Trump would limit regulations on the exploration techniques to bring such unconventional fuels to surface
American ingenuity was at the heart of America’s fracking-based energy renaissance from 2009 to 2015. How significant was the growth and development of oil and natural gas during this period? A report by the Energy Institute suggests that without it, America would have lost 4.3 million jobs and $548 billion in annual GDP. Electricity prices would be 31 percent higher and gasoline and other motor fuels would cost 43 percent more.
The renaissance can continue if our government allows it. President-Elect Donald Trump has the chance to make it happen.