A discussion of energy policy could just as well have been held at our events on jobs and the economy. After all, a strong, pro-growth energy policy can help create jobs, particularly in manufacturing, which is energy intensive, using one-third of the U.S. energy supply.
While members of both parties talk about an “all-of-the-above” energy strategy, the United States has yet to adopt anything of the sort. We have abundant resources at our disposal, but many remain off limits, whether through the inaction of Congress or the overzealousness of regulators, to name just two reasons.
An all-of-the-above energy strategy means just what it says. It means using traditional sources of energy like coal and oil. But, the Environmental Protection Agency through its Utility MACT and Cross-State Air Pollution rules is looking to drive coal-fired power plants out of business. As for oil, permitting delays and other regulatory obstacles continue to thwart new exploration and development offshore.
An all-of-the-above strategy also embraces new opportunities such as those presented by the shale gas boom.
And alternative sources have a role to play too. Nuclear needs to be part of our energy mix—it’s a form of clean energy we have yet to utilize fully. Long-term development of this vital energy source has unfortunately fallen victim to political battles. And, there have been many new and exciting innovations with renewable sources of energy like wind and solar that have helped expand the use of these important resources.
Our nation’s energy policy can’t single out one of these sources. We must embrace them all, especially if we want to grow manufacturing and remain competitive. Reliable and abundant energy will bring investment to our shores—and with it, jobs. And it will encourage manufacturers in the United States to expand their operations and hire more workers.
As we develop additional sources of energy, manufacturers will be able to grow their capabilities. Manufacturers are doing more with less because they are harnessing new technologies and becoming more energy efficient. Earlier this week, I had the chance to speak with manufacturers about their efforts to develop new and innovative systems that lower energy costs by making manufacturing facilities more efficient. NAM member Ingersoll Rand and its CEO Mike Lamach hosted an event with Senator Amy Klobuchar and Gen. Wesley Clark to discuss the issue and its role in a comprehensive energy policy.
A strong energy policy is a strong jobs policy. That’s something for the men and women we put into office this November to think about.