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SPOTLIGHT
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Energy policy for 2014

Published on -2/11/2014, 10:14 AM

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In 2014, we will decide if America continues to march toward global energy leadership or remains content to play a supporting role in the global energy market. We can erase what for decades has been America's greatest economic vulnerability -- our dependence on energy sources from other continents, particularly from less stable and friendly nations -- and fundamentally alter the geopolitical landscape for decades to come, all while providing a much needed boost to our economy. But only if we get our energy policy right.

Today, thanks to the innovation and entrepreneurial spirit of America's independent oil and natural gas industry, our nation has the potential to free ourselves of foreign energy dependence. Implementing smart, pro-growth energy policies will help to ensure future Americans only know their country as an energy leader.

Later this year, we will choose who will lead us in Washington. Those choices will have a lasting and profound effect on the direction of our nation's energy policy. The collective decisions of the 2014 voters will shape whether and the extent to which our nation fulfills its potential as an energy superpower.

Energy is fundamental to our society, and thanks to American innovation and entrepreneurial spirit, our nation stands among the world's leader in energy production and is poised to be the leader if we get American energy policy right. The question we have before us now is whether we have the vision and wisdom to take full advantage of our vast energy resources.

The energy policy choices we make today are among the most important and far-reaching policy decisions we will make in the 21st century. We have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to reshape, realign and reorder the world's energy market and improve domestic prosperity to an unprecedented degree. But only if we get our nation's energy policy right today.

If we are to continue our nation's positive energy trends, we must implement energy policies based on reality and our potential as an energy leader, not political ideologies or the wishes of professional environmental groups.

American energy policy should reflect the reality someone will benefit from helping meet the world's ever-growing need for energy. Because energy, specifically oil and natural gas, will remain foundational to our way of life.

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, 25 years from now, oil and natural gas still will be responsible for providing nearly 60 percent of the country's energy and more than 90 percent of our transportation fuels. And worldwide, EIA projects demand for liquid fuels will increase by 20 percent in the next 20 years, driven by the development of emerging markets and nations as many of them lift themselves out of poverty, improve the standard of living, and increase the economic opportunity for their citizens.

It should be a simple choice. Do we as a nation decide to use our vast energy resources to help meet the world's growing energy needs and in the process boost our global competitiveness, realign our foreign policy goals and national security priorities, encourage America's 21st century manufacturing renaissance, provide millions more Americans with good-paying jobs and provide billions of dollars in revenue to local, state and federal governments in the coming decades, or not?

Today, thanks to the American entrepreneurial spirit of the independent oil and natural gas producer along with innovations in oil and natural gas development, the U.S. is the No. 1 producer of oil and natural gas in the world.

And here's one more fact. The American people get it and stand with us on today's most important energy policy questions. They understand pro-growth energy policies will translate into millions of stable, good-paying jobs, which could go a long way to lowering unemployment.

It is little wonder that, according to recent polls, most Americans (77 percent) want to see this nation increase production of domestic oil and natural gas? Ninety-two percent of American voters agree increased production of domestic oil and natural gas resources could lead to more jobs in the U.S.

The public's strong support and the oil and natural gas industry's ability to cut through the partisan noise and stale ideology of our critics is due to the industry's years-long effort to ensure American energy policy is not a Republican issue or a Democrat issue. It is an American prosperity and leadership issue.

As we look ahead to November's elections and beyond, we need to continue forward-looking energy policy discussions to spur more pro-energy policies and to ensure our nation's discussion on energy policy is based on fact and reality, not political ideology and hyperbole.

We need to harness the collective will and wisdom of the American voters to generate discussion on our nation's bright energy future and to better align our nation's political science with our geologic science, because right now the former all too often drives energy policy. We need to ensure as our elected representatives and appointed officials make energy policy, the will of the American people is uppermost in their minds and the dominant voice in the energy policy discussion.

What we want, and what the American people deserve, is energy policy that continues the trend of our nation becoming energy self-sufficient and a global energy leader. We need to send a message to lawmakers at all levels of government that the time to end the intrusion of extreme political ideology or personal agendas in the energy policy debate is now; and the only limits on our nation's energy potential will be self-imposed by short-sighted, politically motivated energy policy decisions. The American public and future generations deserve better.

Edward Cross is president of Kansas

Independent Oil & Gas Association

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