BY SCOTT A. ANGELLE:
As demand for oil continues to grow, gasoline prices are climbing across the country. Yet, the Biden Administration has asked OPEC – not domestic producers and USA energy workers – for help to supply the U.S. with more oil. Enticing countries with lower environmental standards is actually detrimental to the Administration’s stated policy goal of combating global climate change by reducing fossil fuel usage.
It is clear that we need to be concerned with rising gas prices. America has experienced six recessions from 1973 to 2019, all of which were preceded by a spike in energy prices. According to the American Automobile Association, the average price of gasoline has increased 40% just this year, from $2.25 a gallon on Jan. 1 to $3.70 as of July 19. At more than a 50-cent increase per gallon of gasoline, the American people are now paying over $71 billion more per year, or $195 million more per day. Coupled with a 5% increase in electricity prices across the U.S. in the past year, the American people are now paying more for their energy.
Keep in mind the most negatively impacted among us from rising energy costs are those in poverty and senior citizens living on fixed incomes. While we search to expand alternative energy sources to help energize our future, we do not need to count on foreign sources to fuel our energy transition. A balanced approach to fix rising energy prices should be directed inward rather than relying on countries which do not share values with the U.S.
Competitive USA offshore leasing needs to continue without delay to allow for a balanced energy transition for the U.S., one which provides for the environment, energy, and the economy. This leasing program has been in place since 1953. Previously implemented consecutively by 12 USA presidents: 5 democrats and 7 republicans, they all recognized the bipartisan value of affordable energy and American jobs.
The facts clearly show U.S. offshore oil and gas is a viable source of energy at lower emissions. Recent research regarding carbon emissions reveals that U.S. Gulf of Mexico production has approximately half the carbon intensity per barrel of other producing regions worldwide. When it comes to flared or vented methane, the U.S. offshore industry has consistently been one of the best performing provinces in the world with a ratio of less than 1.25% of flared or vented to produced gas.
Furthermore, according to a 2020 Wood Mackenzie report at least 73.4% of the oil imported to the U.S. had a higher carbon intensity than Gulf of Mexico production. This data bolsters conclusions in a 2016 Bureau of Ocean Energy Management report, produced under the Obama-Biden Administration, that found emissions would increase without new Gulf lease sales because foreign-produced oil would take its place, and “the production and transport of that foreign oil would emit more” greenhouse gases.
Put simply, oil and gas produced from the U.S. Gulf of Mexico is better for the environment than oil and gas produced almost anywhere in the world. USA energy workers are asking, “how can it be smart public policy to ask foreign countries to increase production of a commodity while the current USA policy seeks to curtail that same USA production, USA production that is often recognized as “climate advantaged?”
USA energy workers nor most Americans fail to see any logic in increasing foreign production rather than focusing on American jobs and American energy security. USA energy workers, with a long and distinguished history of energizing America, are asking why our country’s policy is to punish innocent American workers in favor of foreign workers. While we embrace an energy transition, getting energy from the “climate advantaged” province of the Gulf of Mexico will help improve the health of the planet, create American jobs, many of them union jobs in the offshore energy supply chain, and simultaneously lower gasoline prices for American families. This policy of killing American jobs while asking foreign countries to energize our economy is incoherent, inconsistent, incompetent and most of all insulting to the USA energy worker. This current policy of asking foreign producers to increase production while cancelling long standing competitive lease sales for offshore American energy doesn’t solve global warming but rather creates USA harming. Furthermore, foreign production does nothing to generate revenue to fund the Great American Outdoors Act to improve our national parks or to fund the Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act to restore coastal Louisiana or to fund the widely successful Land and Water Conservation Fund.
The men and women of our country who wear steel-toed boots and hard hats have helped each generation of Americans overcome many challenges. They are ready to help us achieve a balanced energy transition without crashing our economy. Let’s bet on the American worker. They remain undefeated. All they need is common-sense public policy. Let’s unleash the American spirit to replace these imported barrels, improve the health of our planet, create American jobs, fund infrastructure with the increased government revenue, and lower energy cost for Americans.
Let us once again host competitive offshore lease sales, build better, improve the health of the planet, lower gasoline prices for our American families and recognize that USA Energy Workers Matter by focusing on the workers of Abbeville rather than Algeria; Lafayette, Larose, Lake Arthur, and Lubbock rather than Libya; Carencro, Cameron, Crowley, Cutoff, and Corpus Christi rather than the Congo; Vinton rather than Venezuela, and Kaplan rather than Kuwait. Additionally, the USA Energy Workers of Houston, Beaumont, Port Arthur, Lake Charles, Delcambre, New Iberia, Morgan City, Houma, the coastal parishes and coastal ports of Louisiana, and Pascagoula and Mobile are ready, willing, and able to help America increase climate-advantaged production and lower fuel cost for American families. Let’s give them a chance to put all hands on DECK rather than favoring OPEC.
Scott A. Angelle, the longest serving Director of the U.S. Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, also held positions in Louisiana as Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of LA Department of Natural Resources, Chairman of Louisiana Public Service Commission and Chairman of Louisiana Water Resources Commission.
This article originally appeared at Real Clear Energy