Consumer Energy Alliance’s President David Holt writes in Fuelfix about the benefits consumers have seen from the U.S. shale energy revolution and how anti-development activists are confronting this progress by waging a war on energy.
Consumer Energy Alliance’s mission is to promote U.S. energy production. With our membership, CEA supports public policies that ensure consumers can access affordable energy and that the energy is developed safely and responsibly.
We advocate for opening areas off U.S. shores in the Atlantic, the Arctic and in the Gulf of Mexico to energy development. We work with both federal and state governments to promote the pursuit of shale energy. We support diversifying our energy portfolio by developing and utilizing renewable sources of energy. CEA is a strong voice for fortifying America’s energy infrastructure, such as the electric grid or gas and oil pipelines.
Far too often energy consumers are confronted by organizations which promote one narrow view. The answer is always the same: No.
No to ANWR; No to Keystone XL; No to the Gulf. No to wind. No to transmission lines. Anti-development activists see only a binary world. Do nothing or face disaster.
These narrow views are contrary to the attitudes that have driven America to succeed. As a country, Americans have long prided themselves on being good stewards of the environment. Natural resources, whether they are oil, coal, shale gas, timber, hydro-power or windmills, can all be utilized in an environmentally sound way that benefits the economy. As a country, America can have both. We can protect our environment AND develop our resources.
Theodore Roosevelt staked out a balanced approach to natural resource management, which later became one of the founding principles of America’s national park system, when he argued:
“I recognize the right and duty of this generation to develop and use the natural resources of our land; but I do not recognize the right to waste them, or to rob, by wasteful use, the generations that come after us.”
Today, this generation is using its resources to bring manufacturing jobs back from China. It is using these resources to reignite industries once lost to the high cost of energy. People are going back to work.
The unemployment rate in rural Carroll County, OH dropped from 16.7% to 6.7% because they welcomed responsible shale development.
In the State of Texas employment in the natural gas industry has grown so large that if it were a city, it would have more residents than San Antonio, Austin and El Paso combined.
The next generation is benefiting as well. In Pennsylvania, the Elk Lake School District has seen an infusion of $3 million paid to them because of shale gas development happening on their land.
Revenue is being raised without taking it from a paycheck. New schools are being built. More law enforcement officers are being hired. Economically depressed cities, once boarded up and abandoned, are becoming energy capitals.
Anti-development activists are confronting this progress by waging a war on energy. Despite the improvement in quality of life. Despite regulatory systems which protect the environment. Despite energy’s role bolstering the safety of Americans in a chaotic world.
Organizations, such as Food & Water Watch, are advancing town to town misleading consumers into false choices. Voters in communities in New Mexico, Texas, Colorado, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Michigan have already been asked to outright ban shale energy development.
Offshore wind development is increasingly facing opposition. Electricity transmission lines are in high demand but receive protests.
Consumer Energy Alliance will challenge these false questions in every community they arise. Far too much is at stake to cede the energy future to anti-development activists.
Just as the oil embargoes of the 1970s changed how Americans viewed fueling their automobiles and powering their homes, natural gas development will change Americans’ view of energy use.
Consumer Energy Alliance has long supported expanded use of natural gas, as part of a comprehensive energy policy. It is clear that the use of natural gas has helped lower consumer prices and significantly reduced greenhouse gas emissions – to the point that the U.S. is meeting the global GHG reduction standards set by the Kyoto Protocol (a benefit that does not receive the accolades it deserves). To ensure continuation of this success story, CEA and our members will increasingly focus our efforts on protecting the right to access and produce energy.
Americans should be able to access the natural resources found on and below our land. There is no doubt there should be responsible rules and regulations in place to protect from abuse. But, never should the answer be no, not at all, do nothing.