Jonah Goldberg, editor-at-large for National Review Online, wrote an interesting column recently in which he noted that regardless of what question one poses with respect to improving our economy, the proper answer to that question is to increase our use of domestic energy. For example:
How do we improve the deficit? President Obama is excoriated by his critics for adding trillions of dollars to the deficit. But Goldberg writes that, according to estimates, if America “unlocked its oil and natural gas reserves, the government could take in somewhere between $1 trillion and $2 trillion in additional revenue over the coming years.” And as he points out, the resulting lower fuel and energy costs also would stimulate the economy, further reducing the deficit.
How do we improve our trade imbalances? Increasing domestic use of oil and natural gas means we import less from overseas, which, by definition, improves our trade imbalance. This is especially true of natural gas. According to a number of energy experts, including the Potential Gas Committee, at current production levels the United States enjoys a 100-year supply of natural gas, and rapidly improving technologies mean we should be able to produce even more domestic gas, potentially extending that supply outlook far beyond 100 years. As Goldberg notes, “it’s quite possible that the United States could be the Saudi Arabia of natural gas.” He also points out that using more domestic energy not only reduces the trade deficit it increases our GDP.
How do we create good-paying jobs? Goldberg puts it succinctly” “You can’t drill for American oil and natural gas in China, Saudi Arabia or anyplace else other than America.” The more domestic energy we produce, the more domestic jobs we produce, and jobs in the exploration and production of oil and natural gas pay more than twice the national average.
Goldberg agrees that renewable energy is our energy future, although—like many of us in the natural gas industry—he believes the day when renewable energy dominates our energy landscape is farther off than most people think. What he proposes is a “do-it-all strategy” in which we focus not just on developing renewable energy, but also on the development of our domestically abundant fossil fuels.
The result, he writes, would be “creating good jobs here at home, lowering energy costs, reducing our reliance on foreign oil, and cutting the deficit.”
Funny, that’s what we at the American Gas Association have been saying for years.