As the days get shorter and the months grow colder, we are fortunate to have energy that warms our homes and gives us light to read a favorite book.
What we may forget is that domestic energy is also fueling a manufacturing renaissance. New resource production made possible by technological innovation is supporting millions of jobs, increasing household incomes, boosting trade and contributing to a new increase in U.S. competitiveness around the world. Domestic energy allows us to be productive at home and work. Relying on one-third of the energy used in the U.S., manufacturing contributed $2.18 trillion to the U.S. economy in 2016. Renewable sources are growing quickly and diversifying the nation’s energy portfolio; our fleet of nuclear power plants cleanly and efficiently produce a substantial portion of the nation’s electricity; we have abundant supplies of coal, natural gas and oil; and advances in energy efficiency continue to save money.
Unfortunately, some people try to use energy as an issue to divide Americans. But that’s shortsighted.
Rather than picking one energy source over another, we should harness American creativity and competitiveness to drive efficiency from all energy sources. By making use of all of the United States’ domestic energy sources, we can ensure the best environmental outcomes at the lowest costs. Nuclear and fossil energy complement renewables like hydro, solar and wind and help ensure we have a diverse mix of energy resources. While solar and wind can produce varying amounts of energy, other energy is available on demand, immediately and provides critical support to our renewable resources. For example, natural gas complements renewables and diversifies our energy portfolio. We are stronger together; together we can forge long-term energy solutions.
That’s why manufacturers are watching the House Natural Resources Committee. The committee is busy marking up broad bipartisan legislation to strengthen energy policy on federal lands. H.R. 4239, the “Strengthening the Economy with Critical Untapped Resources to Expand American Energy Act” or the “SECURE American Energy Act,” reforms existing regulatory frameworks for energy development on America’s Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) and the vast onshore acreage that is under federal ownership.
Although energy production has surged in recent years, the vast majority of this new activity has occurred on private lands, while exploration on federal lands has shrunk. As a result, energy production continues to be artificially limited, reducing manufacturers’ potential competitive advantage. The federal government owns approximately 640 million acres onshore, or roughly 28 percent of the land, in the United States. And with 86 percent of our offshore resources unavailable for development or analysis, America could be producing much more. To remain competitive in a global economy we need access to all kinds of energy—and that includes sharing the riches under our seas and on federal lands.
The onshore provisions of H.R. 4239 would allow for more local control over energy plans on federal land. States who demonstrate that they can effectively regulate, would also receive the full 50 percent of mineral revenues, helping to fund schools and public services like local police and fire. H.R. 4239 would also stop instances of duplicative federal regulations when a state already has effective requirements. The SECURE America’s Energy Act also strengthens our access to offshore energy—opening new areas to offshore wind energy and giving more states and local communities a chance to reap the benefits of exploration.
Continuing to expand fair access to energy resources allows us to be less dependent on foreign oil and ensure America’s energy independence. Manufacturers will continue supporting measures that promote expanded access to U.S. energy resources that make manufacturers more energy secure, while driving job creation and growth. Energy is an issue that can bring us together.