This past week, President Trump renewed his promise of an era of American global energy dominance. It’s an achievable goal and a quintessential “America first” theme that Trump should keep playing.
Trump recognizes what almost all his critics choose to ignore: we are entering an age of American energy renaissance that will last not just years, but many decades.
While the left keeps placing bad bets on expensive and unreliable green energy, Trump has a more robust and realistic strategy to make the United States the 21st century Saudi Arabia.
We are well on our way getting to that goal given the continuing story of the shale oil and gas explosion.
Here are some facts to think about. Since 2007 America has increased its oil and gas output by 75 percent with most of it coming from North Dakota, Texas, Oklahoma, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania. Since 2015, when Republicans and Congress passed a law ending the oil and gas export ban, the U.S. has exported more than 150 million barrels of crude.
At the moment, natural gas is the disruptive energy source that is blowing away the competition. This is good news for America because we have far more natural gas than anyone, with perhaps the exception of Saudi Arabia. This has the looks of something big. The U.S. has by far the cheapest natural gas and are very capable of replacing the Middle East and Russia as primary suppliers to Europe and Asia.
Thanks in part to Trump’s energy vision, we are now building liquefied gas terminals that will lead to sharp increases in exports of our abundant natural gas. Bloomberg reports that ”since starting up last year, Cheniere Energy’s Sabine Pass terminal in Louisiana — the first major facility sending shale gas overseas — has shipped more than 100 cargoes of [liquefied natural gas] overseas.”
Pipelines are necessary to make this energy future possible, and Trump is already greenlighting these projects that were delayed or killed by President Obama, who hated fossil fuels.
If we are to sprint ahead of the rest of the world when it comes to energy production, we will need to allow drilling on federal lands. We are talking about unlocking some $50 trillion of energy assets lying underneath us. Just the royalties, leases and income taxes generated from all of this energy treasure would raise about $2 trillion in federal revenue.
The liberals left coal for dead, but the remarkable comeback in coal production has proven Trump’s critics wrong. Coal production in the U.S. has risen 19 percent this year, and mining jobs are back as well. That’s a testament to Trump’s reversal of Obama-era regulations meant to bankrupt coal.
We need cheap coal to produce steel and other manufactured good in America, so coal production is basic to keeping blue collar and hard hat jobs here at home in Pennsylvania, Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, and West Virginia.
American production of oil, gas, and coal could easily rise by $100 billion a year and by two to three times that level over time. That’s about 0.5 percent points added to U.S. growth right there. With tax reform, that brings us above 3 percent, and even close to 4 percent fairly easily.
Instead of importing $200 billion of energy every year, the US and Canada could soon easily be exporting that amount. Of course, the current low global price of oil — below $50 a barrel — has all producers struggling mightily as the world absorbs a wonderful glut of cheap energy. But the amazing American frackers are discovering new ways of producing more and more energy at lower and lower costs.
The industry that has gotten most financially flattened by low natural gas prices is green energy. As long as natural gas prices stay below $3 per million cubic feet, wind and solar are as viable as cold fusion for years to come.
It is very simple: without billions upon billions of government mandates, tax credits, production subsidies, and other tax giveaways, there would be virtually no wind and solar industry today in the United States.
As my Heritage Foundation colleague Jack Spencer, an expert on energy policy, puts it, “the only way solar and wind creates jobs is by spending taxpayer dollars. Those aren’t real net new jobs because the government has to take a dollar from someone else to hand out a dollar.”
What industry couldn’t create jobs if the government kept showering it with billions of dollars of free money? We’ve been stupidly doing this since the 1970s. Perhaps there will be breakthroughs that make green energy viable, but we’ve heard those unfulfilled promises now for 40 years.
No one knows where the future will take us with energy technology. Can nuclear power, for example, make a comeback? For now, at least, no nation is better poised to exploit the new global age of shale energy.
Better still, this is a fortuitous outcome that won’t cost the government money — as opposed to the green energy racket — but will raise trillions of new tax dollars to fund public programs.
It’s a tribute to Trump’s vision and gut instincts that a real estate developer from the northeast gets that when so many so-called energy experts, including Obama, don’t.
Stephen Moore is the distinguished visiting fellow for the Project for Economic Growth at The Heritage Foundation and an economic consultant with FreedomWorks. He served as an economic advisor to Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign.
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