Beltway Politics Is Road to Energy Poverty; Locking Up Resources Will Be Downfall of American Economy

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), March 7, 2011 | Go to article overview

Beltway Politics Is Road to Energy Poverty; Locking Up Resources Will Be Downfall of American Economy


Byline: David Holt, SPECIAL TO THE WASHINGTON TIMES

At a time when the federal government should be doing everything possible to create jobs, lower the federal deficit and spur economic development across

the nation, Washington policymakers instead seem intent on playing politics as usual. The latest example of this Washington pastime can be seen in a series of decisions recently made by the Obama administration to restrict access to the abundant oil and gas resources off our nation's shores while at the same time fast-tracking environmental reviews of potential offshore wind development along the Atlantic coast.

The administration should be given kudos for promoting offshore wind, as it is an important piece of America's all-of-the-above energy plan. However, this announcement will do nothing to offset the surge in oil, gasoline and diesel prices that American drivers are coping with and will be viewed by many as just another inside-the-Beltway political exercise. With world energy demand expected to rise by 49 percent over the next two decades and U.S. demand slated to increase by 14 percent, it is obvious that we need a clear and responsible path forward to use all forms of energy if we have any chance of ensuring that American consumers will have access to affordable and reliable energy in the future.

Given that wind, oil and gas projects must go through the same evaluation process under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), it is misguided to simplify environmental reviews for wind-energy projects in the Atlantic while further complicating the NEPA process for fossil-fuel production on the outer continental shelf (OCS). It is shortsighted of the administration to pave the way for offshore wind leases in the Atlantic but to add layers to offshore permitting by ensuring that more time-intensive and litigation-friendly environmental reviews will be the rule for domestic offshore energy production.

With estimates suggesting that total U.S. oil production will decline by 13 percent in 2011, in large part owing to the permit freeze in the Gulf of Mexico, this production slowdown and the nation's corresponding fuel price increases could not come at a worse moment for the economy and American consumers. …

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Beltway Politics Is Road to Energy Poverty; Locking Up Resources Will Be Downfall of American Economy
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