The National Journal’s Energy and Environment Experts blog asked a series of thought-provoking questions in a post titled “Drilling for a compromise?” You can read Dave Parker’s response below and follow this link to see what the other experts had to say.
We cannot discuss the issue of domestic oil development in a vacuum because natural gas development is part of that story. That said, the short answer is yes, any legislation should include provisions to encourage domestic oil development. And it is not only the oil and natural gas industry that supports domestic production. Developing a reliable and home-grown energy supply is also a vital part of our national security. Many citizens of the states in which it would occur strongly support increasing domestic oil—and natural gas—production because they recognize both the importance of developing home-grown energy options and, especially now, the financial benefit to their states in the form of leasing royalties and jobs. However, politics and the politics of fear—specifically baseless claims about the environmental and safety threats posed by domestic production—habitually frustrate the efforts of those who wish to take action to reduce America’s dependence on foreign energy.
America’s onshore and offshore oil and natural gas production has an exceptional record of safety and environmental stewardship. There has not been a single significant oil or natural gas spill from a production rig for more than 40 years, including in the Gulf of Mexico during Hurricane Katrina! Domestic production also reduces America’s overall carbon footprint because, in addition to natural gas being the cleanest fossil fuel on the planet, local production of oil would reduce the demand for foreign drilling, storage and transportation via enormous tankers, all of which make significant contributions to carbon output.
Finally, the best way to address climate change, while still providing America with the energy it needs to grow its economy, is with a wide-ranging set of options, which is why AGA has long supported, to the fullest extent possible, the development of a diverse domestic energy supply, including oil, nuclear, wind, hydro, solar and, of course, domestic, abundant and clean natural gas.
Accessing and utilizing natural gas, and all of America’s other energy resources, is a key piece to solving the energy, energy security and climate change puzzle. But it is also important to note that increased fuel diversity would also allow more natural gas to be used directly in the residential and commercial market, where, for more than 40 years, natural gas customers have led the way in increasing energy efficiency and conservation, while reducing greenhouse gas emissions.